Get Ignited: Karambu Ringera, PH.D.

This Mother’s Day, I’d like to recognize the ultimate mother, Karambu Ringera, Ph.D. Twenty years ago, Ringera founded the Amani Children’s Home in her hometown of Meru, Kenya. The home is informally called Amani, which means “peace” in Swahili, and is home to about 75 children. Amani’s goal is to keep children in the community where they grew up, which preserves their network of support.

In 2002, while pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Denver, Ringera was approached by a group of mothers living with HIV/AIDS during a visit to Meru. They were struggling to support their children, so they asked Ringera for help. Ringera shared this dilemma with her friend, Michele Martin Hovey, and the two women jumped to action. They hosted a Kenyan dinner and raised enough money from that event to send seven of these children to school. Through this effort, the nonprofit International Peace Initiatives (IPI) was born.

Since then, Ringera and the Amani Children’s Home have had a measurable impact in Kenya, including:

  • All children living in the home earn B+ to A+ averages in school.
  • More than 50 children have successfully moved from primary day scholars to secondary boarding schools.
  • 30 Amani children have graduated with bachelor’s degrees.
  • Five Amani children have completed their master’s degrees, and one will complete a Ph.D. next year.

Not only is Ringera a mother to many, but she is also a visionary; an activist; a compassionate, committed, formidable force for change; and an inspiration to all who meet her. After earning multiple degrees from outstanding universities, she has been internationally recognized for her work with innovative and sustainable models of development, peacebuilding, women’s human rights, and global leadership programs. She was a 2016 Cordes Social Entrepreneurs Fellow and a 2015/16 Next Generation Leader Fellow of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. She received the 2015 Life Achievement Award, the 2015 Master Scholar Award and the 2012 African Achievers Award. She also was invited to share her success stories at the United Nations.

On her trips to the U.S., she often comes to St. Louis to meet with Nancy Ross, the former IPI U.S. managing director, and the many people in this community who offer their support to Ringera and her nonprofit. Due to popular demand, she also has taught leadership classes at Washington University.

Ringera herself had to overcome a multitude of obstacles to be where she is today. Now, she spends her life helping others change the way they see themselves—from victims to people withlimitless power and potential. As Ringera says, her children are taught they are not their circumstances. They are not what people say about them. They are whole. They are complete. They are pure. They are enough.

To experience Dr. Karambu Ringera, tune into our Get Ignited iTunes podcast conversation. It is sure to provide you with just the inspiration you need. And, to all women who nurture and care for others, Happy Mother’s Day!

Beth Chesterton is a master certified executive coach and an expert in organizational development.


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