Kuhenza Board of Directors
Reverend Robert Mangi
Reverend Robert Mangi has been a pastor for over 30 years leading congregations at eight different Anglican churches in Kilifi County. He currently serves as the Archdeacon for the Anglican Church of Kenya in the Malindi Diocese. His church was the first one Kupenda worked with to include children with disabilities early in the organization’s development. The programs at this church serve as a model to other churches seeking to be more inclusive. Reverend Mangi’s work and experience helps Kupenda connect to other pastors in Kilfi County.
As Kuhenza’s Board Chair, Reverend Mangi is responsible for overseeing Kuhenza’s board and executive committee meetings. He also works in partnership with the executive director to ensure Board resolutions are carried out and calls special meetings, as needed. Once each year, Reverend Mangi completes a performance evaluation for the executive director. Reverend Mangi regularly acts as an advocate and spokesperson for Kuhenza and periodically consults with board members on their roles and helps them assess their performance.
Norbert was drawn to the work of Kuhenza because he has a daughter with a disability who is still under his care, even though she is over 30 years old. Although now retired, Norbert spent his career working as a legal advisor and traveling extensively in his position with Kenya’s immigration department. Norbert is a trusted advisor to the Kenya director. In 2014, Norbert’s flexibility and finances also allowed him to accompany the Kenya director to visit the work of Kupenda in the U.S.
As Kuhenza’s Vice Board Chair, Norbert attends all of Kuhenza’s board meetings and carries out special assignments, as requested by the board chair. Norbert also understands the responsibilities of the board chair and is able to perform these duties in the chair’s absence.
Gabriel has over 20 years of experience working as a teacher for children who are deaf. He was also the head of a special unit at the Gede Special School for children who are deaf or have physical disabilities. His extensive experience and attention to detail make him a great asset to the Kuhenza board.
As Kuhenza’s Board Treasurer, Gabriel manages the review of and action related to the Board’s financial responsibilities. He also works with the executive director to ensure that appropriate financial reports are made available to the board on a timely basis, and each year, presents Kuhenza’s annual budget to the board for approval. Gabriel reviews Kuhenza’s annual audit and answers board members’ questions about the audit.
In Kenyan nonprofit organizations, the executive director typically holds the role of secretary. In his role as board secretary, Leonard is responsible for ensuring that accurate and sufficient documentation exists to meet the Board’s legal requirements. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, Leonard records minutes of meetings, ensures their accuracy and availability, proposes policies and practices, submits various reports to the board, and maintains membership records. He also provides the board with updates on both the U.S. and Kenyan operations in addition to financial reports. Leonard attends all of Kuhenza’s board meetings and important related meetings. Although a nonvoting member, he is an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Read Leonard’s full biography in the “Kenya Staff” section above.
Linnet developed epilepsy at the age of 26 and by 27 was unable to walk to talk due to the paralysis caused by her seizures. She was bedridden until the age of 35, when she finally received medicine to manage her seizures and began working with a physical therapist to improve her mobility. After ten years of medication and PT, Linnet finally began to walk again and now is able to walk independently using a cane. Her journey through disability inspired her to join the Kuhenza Board and found the Matunda Disabled Women’s Group, which has 15 members who have been meeting together for 10 years. She also acts as a role model and counselor for people with disabilities and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities through speeches at rallies, ceremonies and chief meetings throughout her county. Linnet has a certificates in Rights of the Girl Child and Counseling for Stroke Victims. She also has a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from the Kilifi District Education Center
As a Board member, Linnet attends all of Kuhenza’s board meetings and important related meetings. She is also an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Linnet provides counsel to the executive director and his team as requested and according to her areas of expertise.
Cynthia, the Kupenda founder and executive director, is also a board member for Kuhenza. As a Board member, Cynthia is an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Cynthia provides counsel to the executive director and his team as requested and according to her areas of expertise. Read Cynthia’s full biography in the “U.S. Staff” section above.
Francis is a teacher and a pastor in Mombasa Diocese. He has extensive experience working for nonprofit organizations and frequently advocates for the rights of people with disabilities through speeches at ceremonies, public meetings and Kuhenza’s Village Disability Awareness Days.
As a Board member, Francis attends all of Kuhenza’s board meetings and important related meetings. He is also an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Francis provides counsel to the executive director and his team as requested and according to his areas of expertise.
Jacob has been a primary school teacher for nearly 40 years and a pastor since 2012. He has also served as the head teacher at Magarine Primary School since 1995. Very early in his career Jacob met Kuhenza’s founder and director, Leonard Mbonani. Leonard and Jacob were teaching together and began to fundraise to pay the school fees of high-performing, impoverished children in their classes. Over the years, Jacob developed a deep passion for vulnerable children, particularly those with disabilities, and agreed to join the Kuhenza Board as an advocate for these young people. Although he will retire soon from teaching, Jacob wants to continue supporting these children through Kuhenza and a farming project he has started to provide nutritional support to special education schools and units in Kilifi. Jacob holds certificates in Primary Education and Theology, as well as a diploma in Education Management.
As a Board member, Jacob attends all of Kuhenza’s board meetings and important related meetings. He is also an active participant in the Board’s strategic planning, decision making, evaluation and fundraising efforts. Jacob provides counsel to the executive director and his team as requested and according to his areas of expertise.
Susanne King has more than 30 years of experience working as a social pedagogue (a teacher and social worker) in Denmark, Tanzania, Zambia, and Kenya. She served both the Danish Council and Danish Refugee Aid as a family counselor and worked as a development professional and nutrition group coordinator in Zambia. Susanne also served as headmistress at the Nordic School in Dar es Salaam and as Deputy Head of a Nature at a kindergarten in Denmark. She has experience working with teenage mothers, families with alcohol issues, and young adults with special needs and has earned diplomas in adult education and business administration.
Kenya Executive Director and Co-founder
Leonard has over 40 years of experience working in disability programs as a special needs assessment officer for the government, a disability researcher for an internationally-funded nonprofit organization, and an educator at special schools and units throughout Kilifi County. His compassion for people with disabilities began within his own family, when interacting with several relatives who were deaf and unable to communicate due to lack of sign language training. The abuse he saw these family members face drove him to pursue a career in disability care and advocacy. Today, Leonard says the children he serves continue to inspire him to keep working on their behalf. As the organization’s Executive Director, Leonard is responsible for Kuhenza’s strategic planning, local fundraising, reporting, partnership collaboration, event planning, child monitoring, family counseling, and program development and implementation.
Leonard holds certificates Secondary Education and Primary School Management and Diplomas in Special Education and Learning Difficulties. He has participated in disability care training programs in the U.S., Denmark and Kenya and has led workshops and participated in health conferences in Tanzania, Nigeria and various regions of Kenya.
Martha has over 30 years of experience as a teacher for students who are deaf. Until 2017, she was also the head teacher at the Gede Special School, the first special needs school supported by Kupenda. Martha’s work and experience helps Kupenda stay connected to the local education system. Her devotion to children with disabilities is demonstrated by the endless hours she works with the Kuhenza team. As Project Director, Martha co-manages the organization’s Advocacy, Education and Medical activities alongside the Executive Director. She also manages the organization’s Child Sponsorship Program.
Loice volunteered with Kuhenza while conducting her master’s research on disabilities and the church. After completing her course work, Loice returned to Kuhenza and was hired as a project officer. In this role, Loice collects information for the child sponsorship program, assesses and monitors children with disabilities, connects children with special needs schools and hospitals, works with pastors, facilities advocacy workshops, and assists the Kenya director, as needed. Loice has always had a heart for people impacted by disabilities and believes the church is key to improving the culture around children with disabilities in Kenya. Loice holds certificates in Primary Education, Secondary Education, Computer Maintenance, and Computer Software. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and a Masters degree in Religious Studies.
Joseph Kibokoni is an experienced secondary school educator and has earned diplomas in information technology and Business English. Joseph also has certificates in peer guidance and counseling and computer repair and maintenance. In his work with Kupenda he assists our Kenyan team with program implementation, reporting, and disability advocacy training. Joseph is passionate about serving persons with disabilities and enjoys the time he spends interacting with Kuhenza’s child beneficiaries and their parents. Joseph is currently completing a bachelor degree in business and information technology at Mount Kenya University in Malindi.
Bookkeeper and Resource Center Manager
James holds a diploma in accounting and a certificate in computer applications from Mombasa Polytechnic University. Before joining Kuhenza, James worked for over three years as a bookkeeper for the Marafa Community Development Prgramme, managing records for both World Vision and the local government. As Kuhenza’s bookkeeper, James is now responsible for recording Kuhenza’s income and expenses, collecting receipts, developing financial reports and preparing for Kenyan government audits. He also oversees the purchase, cataloging and inventory of all materials in Kuhenza’s Resources Center.