How it began.....
In 2016 Lesley visited a breeze block building in Watamu; no windows, no door, just gaps in the bricks. All ages of children shared this one room to learn.
There was one blackboard but no trained teacher; there were no resources, no books, no pencils or pens. This is education for children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school.
She saw so much need within such a wonderful community it inspired her to act. From a background in education, Lesley knows the value of Early Years education and of reading for pleasure to raise literacy rates.
She wanted to help the whole community and create a place where all the local children could access books, have a literacy programme to raise educational aspirations and provide opportunities to develop other talents.
Utilising her skills and knowledge while also gathering together others who also share her vision, passion and determination to make a difference, the idea of KWEST was born.
Meet the Team.....
Founder & CEO
Lesley has a BA English Lang & Lit, MA Shakespeare and Theatre, MRes Corpus Lingusitics, Diploma in ELT and PGCE.
She is an English Lecturer with over 30 years teaching experience in Further and Higher education, specialising in English as a Foreign Language and Academic English.
She has always championed academic and pastoral student support and has won awards for her Personal Tuition.
She passionately believes that education offers a route out of poverty and changes lives.
Connie is key to our work in Watamu. A science graduate, Kenyan National, an avid reader and passionate about raising education standards in Kenya by improving Literacy in children.
She has driven the project forward, managing budgets, running events and growing our operations in Watamu as well as forging new partnerships with local environmental organisations.
Connie has built our Literacy Team of Local Women.
Watamu Literacy Support Team
Our Team of 3 local Women are Christabel, Ruth and Sharon.
Each Team member began as a volunteer.
They undertook training in our Literacy approach, demonstrated dedication to the project and showed they have a natural rapport with the children.
Christabel and Ruth are mothers and are educated to college level, Sharon is a young woman who has completed Secondary Education but was financially unable to further her studies.
Our volunteer Charity Ambassadors in the UK work alongside Lesley and the team in Watamu.
Our all female team Liz, Laura and Rebeca help with fundraising, social media and raising awareness of KWEST.
Liz's background in social care and charity work is invaluable and her social media posts have transformed our reach.
Laura's expertise and experience in Primary schools as a Phonic Reading specialist led to her developing teaching materials for the children in Kenya. The portable child friendly wipe off boards have been a game changer.
Rebecca is our newest recruit, a Primary Teacher specialising in Early Years. She is going out to Watamu in October to work with the Team in developing their knowledge and teaching techniques.