Ubuntu is dedicated to creating empowered employment opportunities, eliminating stigma, fostering inclusion for children with special needs.

We have built a self-sustaining enterprise that has created jobs, generated profits, we believe enterprise and charity support each other.

Photo of Paul Njuguna
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Ubuntu Life Foundation

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Kenya

Headquarters location: City

Maai Mahiu, Kenya

Location(s) of impact

Nakuru County



Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/Ubuntu Foundation

Twitter URL


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Poverty and unemployment levels are very high in Maai Mahiu community leading to high rate of crime and diseases such as HIV among the youth. Also, there is no access to clean water in the area leading to outbreaks of water-borne diseases. Due to the high poverty levels, many kids are living with special needs due to inability to access timely medical care or afford high costs of therapy and drugs. Thus they suffer alot and live a stigmatized life hidden away from the society.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Our water bottling initiative aims at providing jobs to parents of kids with special needs and the local youths. This gives them consistent income to be able to improve their lives and support their families. We also provide insurance medical covers to our employees thus they can be able to access specialized medical services for the kids who have special needs. We run a therapy centre where kids with special needs access therapy and structured learning on daily basis free of charge so that they can be able do life basic chores and prepare them for vocational training. Profits from the enterprise are donated to the Ubuntu Kids Centre to enable it purse its mission of providing the kids with a dignified life.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We currently have 250 children and youth with neurological conditions/epilepsy whom we provide them with medication throughout the year. We have 50 kids receiving therapy, education and other services from center on daily basis and 10 who have joined vocational training institutions across the country. We have provided cheap and affordable clean water to the community which has been faced with water challenges for long. We have currently employed 70 locals including parents of the kids with special needs. Our employees earn a regular monthly income that has enabled them to provide for their dependents. 50% of Ubuntu employees are now homeowners. 100% of Ubuntu employees are able to send their children to school. 100% of Ubuntu employees have health insurance.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Currently we our financial support constitute our earned income of 50%, individual gifts and donation at 30%, and grants constitute 20%. Our plan is to scale the water bottling business which has a huge potential. We expect to generate enough income to cover our full budget in three years time, and to grow into profitability thereafter.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The reason why we stand out as Ubuntu family is how we handle our major mission of poverty eradication, stigmatization, and health, we have a legacy of following up to grassroots level to those individuals with special needs, we don't stop at an individual level but we try to liberate their families too from poor conditions, we provide them with skills, employ them and try as much as possible to create a new self-reliant family for them, we don't discriminate 'everyone is a family to Ubuntu org.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Zane Wilemon and Jeremiah Kuria are the unlikely duo behind the creation of Ubuntu. A “white guy” from Texas who bought a one-way ticket to Kenya post-undergrad and a Kenyan minister from a small town outside of Nairobi. Their friendship began over 15 years ago at a fly-ridden restaurant in the middle of town over a bowl of questionable stew. Here I was, a loud and passionate young guy in Kenya, and Jeremiah, looking at me and thinking, ‘what in the world does this white guy want?' At the start of their relationship, conversations centered around creating opportunities that empower the local community to help themselves. This seed eventually grew into the creation of several thriving programs in Maai Mahiu, under the name “Comfort the Children,” commonly known as CTC.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Ashoka page or contact


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jonathan Litscher

Great to see how you are integrating several activities to help children living with disabilities in a comprehensive way. At the same time, that allows you to generate income from your bottling business, contributing to the financial sustainability of the business. Congratulations and all the best!

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