Orphans need a future. Their communities need them.

Our vision is to see the lives of African orphans and their communities transformed. We pursue this vision based on the belief that orphans can become STARS: Students Transforming Africa and Renewing Its Society. Since July 2003, our mission has been to educate and mentor orphans to personally flourish and to serve their communities. We are a 100% volunteer-led organization.

Our vision and mission are driven by our values:

  • We believe that each individual is valuable and has a purpose.
  • We believe that we are interdependent; we need and help one another.
  • We believe that a high school education and stable role models empower life to change.
  • We believe that a character of integrity and serving others is as important as education.
  • We seek to serve with love and commitment to bring hope and build trust with orphans and their communities.
  • Our word is our bond: we place the highest value on personal responsibility, accountability and earning and building trust.


STARS Children Africa was founded in 2003 by Ken Prussner and Allen Herbert out of love for orphans and decades of experience working, serving and living in Africa.

Their vision for STARS Children Africa is that orphans can become future leaders who positively impact Africa.

Raised on a farm in Illinois, Ken graduated from a tiny high school and was the first in his family to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His life was further shaped as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia with decades of nonprofit and international development work in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Mid East and the USA. His experience leading volunteer and professional teams, developing grassroots programs and designing national programs prepared him. His work taught him the critical need to partner with local leaders to ensure sustainability.

Ken has led STARS Children Africa since its founding. He administers the organization’s programs, leads fundraising, and mentors the STARS. One of his joys is going to Kenya to visit the STARS and conduct development training for them alongside the STARS’ local partner.

What We Do

In many Sub-Saharan African countries, including Kenya, orphans can attend primary school. However, few can pursue a high school education because they simply cannot afford it.

One year at a good Kenyan high school costs around $1,000. The average Kenyan earns $2,099 / year (source: The World Bank) making it a challenge for many children to go to high school. The situation is much worse for orphans. The result? Most orphans don’t get high school education, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation, gang activity and hopelessness.

We exist to give overlooked and vulnerable orphans in Kenya the life-changing opportunity of a mentored high school education. We provide qualified orphans a full potential high school scholarship and mentorship. A few qualified high school graduates have received full potential scholarships to pursue higher education with continuing mentoring. We see these orphans as STARS, Students Transforming Africa and Renewing its Society.

How We Work

We believe that a high school education and stable role models empower change in life.  We also believe orphans experiencing love and commitment (often absent) learn trust, develop hope and learn to serve others.

We focus on providing full potential high school scholarships to orphans. A full potential scholarship is our commitment to sponsor a student through all four years of high school, provided they meet certain academic standards and demonstrate a commitment to integrity, personal responsibility, and service to others.

"Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Education alone is not enough. Character with integrity is essential. We work with a respected Kenyan partner, who is a guardian and mentors the STARS. The team takes care of school requirements, such as paying school fees and purchasing uniforms, and interacting with the STARS’ schools. They teach the STARS life skills, serve as role models, and help overcome past abuse, fear, and stigmas (e.g., HIV/AIDS).

STARS Children Africa raises and administers funds. With our local partner, we jointly support and monitor each STARS’ academic progress and character development. US-based volunteer staff traveled annually (until the 2020 pandemic) to be with them to provide additional mentorship and life skills. In absence of travel since 2020, we have actively interacted via electronic means.

Where We Work

STARS Children Africa has provided education for orphans in South Africa, Zambia and Kenya since mid 2003. Since late 2005 our work has focused in Kenya. 100% of the funds we raise are used on the ground in Kenya. We can invest all supporters’ funds thanks to volunteers who donate time, and operational and administrative costs, e.g. website, annual non-profit registration fee, office, travel, etc.

Our Impact

In these two photos above, STARS on high school break built this home for a community widow.

Kevin, engineer, encourages students in high school.

STARS learning skills and growing food that they consume when back during school breaks.

Ken with Fredrick on his graduation day as a teacher.

Charles, engineer, at a company on practical training.

Humphrey, education, is a high school teacher.

Faith, PhD in environmental health, from Penn State University.

Mentoring STARS are STARS Children Africa volunteers, Ken (standing) and Verena (sitting).

Image of motivational speaker with high school students

Derrick, administration, giving a motivational talk to high school students.

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