Red Rhino Orphanage Project

IMG_02111Red Rhino Orphanage Project
Story and information from
Born through the rugged travel experience of founders Greg and Susan Traverso throughout Africa, the Red Rhino Orphanage Project’s mission is “to enable some of the most desperate and disadvantaged children in Kenya to become contributing members of society and leaders of the next generation.” The non-profit began in 1983 when Greg set out on his own to travel across Africa, with only a daypack. He was joined for part of the adventure by his friend Susan Richardson, who is now his wife. The trip became a source of great inspiration for their life. Out of this adventure, Greg, Dean of Students at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton and Susan, a schoolteacher, created the concept of Red Rhino Tours, a small safari business based in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 1998, they organized the first tour and Greg asked David Saunders, his friend and fellow teacher to join them. Along with the breathtaking sweep of the land and the animals, they also witnessed the devastation and poverty that the children of Nairobi were experiencing. Street kids. Orphans. Extreme poverty. They purposed to try and help, someway. In 2005, after a struggle with cancer, a long convalescence, and a re-envisioned future, Saunders approached Greg and Susan about their old idea. Maybe now was the time. And in January 2006, they sent David to Kenya to do the work they had imagined seven years earlier. To secure the title to the five acres they had purchased, to build the orphanage and to fill it with some of the most vulnerable and needy children in the world. The fact that the Red Rhino Children’s Home exists today, about thirty miles outside of Nairobi, and that it is, in fact, filled with beautiful children, is a testament to the perseverance, generosity and single-mindedness of many, many people, and to the grace, which, despite every reasonable objection, makes such things possible. The Red Rhino Orphanage Project (RROP) offers a unique opportunity built on five overarching principles. These principles are wrapped into every child the RROP seeks to help, every stage of development, every donated dollar:

1. The Red Rhino Orphanage Project provides a safe, nurturing, and healthy space for orphaned children to live. Staff members live on the property, giving these children necessary guidance, encouragement and love.
2. After the core needs of the children are met, the highest priority is placed on education. Emphasis on education is the only real way to have a long-term, lasting impact on their lives. The children will be educated through secondary school, then depending on desires and aptitude, will continue to either university or a trade school.
3. The children’s home is not an isolated refuge, but a partner with, and making a positive difference in, the surrounding community.
4. The founders are determined to create a realistic standard of living for the children in their care and to be conscious of the environmental impact that the project has on the area.
5. The children’s home is designed to become as self-sufficient as possible to minimize the reliance and
dependence on resources coming in from abroad.