Dignitas is a nonprofit organization focused on developing passionate, ethical, and results-driven school and community leaders in underserved communities around the world. Educating children means that they will stand up, speak up, ask questions and become powerful forces in overcoming poverty and building a nation. Dignitas programs work to:
- Enhance learning and leadership opportunities for children and youth
- Build technical and infrastructural capacity in community-based schools
- Implement sustainable projects to address health, economic and education needs
- Ensure that community voices are integrated into policy decisions
- Pursue our mission in recognition of our common humanity and the protection of dignity we all deserve
Co-founder and Executive Director Tiffany Cheng is a widely recognized education leader in Kenya, where she brings valuable international and local experience. Since 2008, Tiffany has served as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Dignitas. She has overseen organizational strategy and led the development of the prestigious Leadership Institute, a selective program designed to provide high-quality training to principals and teachers in informal settlements. Click here to visit the Dignitas website.
Vickie Winkler started her travels to Kenya over 30 years ago. During one of her visits in 1999, she was asked to speak about HIV/AIDS prevention. As a nurse, Vickie was prepared to speak on the subject, but she did not anticipate the “cry” for knowledge and understanding about the disease that was “literally destroying their nation, spiritually, physically and economically.” In response to these needs, HEART was formed in February 2000. Serving as Executive Director, Vickie leads HEART to continue to focus on original objectives and to date has educated more than 70,000 Kenyan people in HIV/AIDS prevention.
HEART has also added comprehensive programs that address the care, treatment and empowerment of those infected and affected by HIV. These projects focus on “orphan prevention.” For instance, the Women’s Empowerment Equality Project (WEEP) saves the lives of mothers suffering from advanced stages of AIDS. As a result, their children are spared from becoming orphans. Operating in impoverished areas, WEEP identifies mothers to help who have been widowed or abandoned. Click here to visit the Heart website.
Janine Maxwell’s life journey took her to Africa, where she encountered the AIDS pandemic, hunger and disease. Janine was stirred by the faces of children, mothers and grandmothers fighting for their lives on a daily basis. She turned from her boardroom savvy to be the voice sounding an alarm for those too weak to cry for help. Together, Janine and her husband Ian co-founded Heart for Africa.
Working alongside community organizations and children’s homes in Swaziland, they provide care and hope for the future for African children. Through short-term service trips, child sponsorship, and large fund-raising programs, Heart for Africa is working to deliver sustainable, quality care, shelter, food, water, clothing, healthcare and education to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Swaziland. Click here to visit Heart for Africa's website.