On the ground in Kenya is a top-notch professional staff.
Day in and day out, Nyumbani‘s expert staff provides high-quality care and loving support to thousands of victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Kenya.
Sister Mary Owens, I.V.B.M., Executive Director, Nyumbani
Sister Mary Owens has been the hands-on manager of the diverse Nyumbani programs for more than 20 years. When Nyumbani Founder Father Angelo D’Agostino died in 2006, Sister Mary stepped into the role leading Nyumbani’s efforts in Kenya. Many consider her an inspiration. Sister Mary is no figurehead leader. She knows the children by name and is deeply aware of the unique needs of children with HIV/AIDS.
Sister Mary is a skilled executive who advocates far and wide for funding and volunteer support. Her depth of experience, her winning way with the children and families, and her expert guidance have led Nyumbani to expand its breadth of services. She is especially proud of Nyumbani Village‘s growth as an environmentally sustainable, economically self-reliant community. Before Nyumbani, Sister Mary was a teacher, psychotherapist and religious leader. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from University College, Dublin and a master’s in education and counseling from Trinity College, Dublin. She arrived in Kenya from Ireland in 1969.
Sister Annie Panikulum, SABS, Program Manager, Nyumbani Diagnostic Laboratory
Sister Annie Panikulum has 30 years of experience as a laboratory technologist, including more than twelve years in the field in HIV reference laboratories. She came to Nyumbani from India in 2001, and along with Sister Mary, successfully spearheaded the Nyumbani Diagnostic Laboratory‘s ISO:15189 international lab certification, earned only by a handful of labs in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. She earned a degree in medical laboratory technology from Jubilee Mission Hospital in Trichur, India. Sister Annie stays on top of the latest in medical technology, completing 15 courses in HIV/AIDS-related areas. In 2011, she earned a graduate medical training certificate in molecular biological techniques on HIV-1 drug resistance analysis from Kanazawa University in Japan.
Raphael Nganga, Program Manager, Nyumbani Village
Raphael Nganga joined Nyumbani Village in 2011 as Homeware Manager. In September 2012-June 2013 he was the program manager in acting capacity and in the subsequent month, he was promoted to deputize the Program Manager. In February 2015 he was promoted to program manager. When Raphael joined Nyumbani, he brought with him organizational expertise and team building skills that has helped in running of the Village. He oversees all aspects of village life as well as income-generating sustainability initiatives. He passionately instills confidence, inspires and motivates the staff towards excellence and quality improvement. Through his leadership style, he hatched and constituted Life-Skills for Sustainable Living Project-which imports life skills as well as dry land farming skills to Nyumbani Village residents (children, grandparents and even staff).
Before Raphael came to Nyumbani Village, he rehabilitated street children in Mully Children’s Family where he served as Social Services Manager. Through innovation, he created a safe haven for healing, resilience, growth and self-reliance not only to street urchins but also abused, abandoned and child mothers at MCF. Outside Nyumbani, Raphael offers inspirational and motivational talks to young people in the local community. He is also involved in humanitarian activities that aid in eradication of abject poverty in the society. Raphael is trained as a Social Scientist at Egerton University, Njoro, Nakuru, Kenya. He has also pursued several management and leadership courses that have been fundamental in running the organization.
Nicholas Makau, Program Manager, Nyumbani Lea Toto
As program manager, Nicholas Makau has greatly expanded the Lea Toto Community Outreach program. He has also established nutrition and food security programs to improve the quality of care for HIV-positive children. Makau started at Nyumbani as a social worker in 1998, and over the years he has served as program manager of three programs. He was instrumental in the building of Nyumbani Village, overseeing the construction and creation of the schools, health clinic, and other village programs. He was liaison to the government and community agencies. Giving back to his community is very important to Makau: He is involved in two youth organizations, teaching economic skills to disadvantaged young people, and working with rural youth to teach them about HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya, and is pursuing a master’s in public health there.
Protus Lumiti, Chief Manager, Nyumbani Children’s Home
Protus Lumiti has worked at Nyumbani from nearly its beginning, arriving in 1993. He became Nyumbani Children’s Home manager in 2000. His work at Nyumbani has earned him kudos from international groups. Lumiti also works to help other vulnerable children in Kenya. He is a member of several Kenyan government task forces on children’s issues and board member of three children’s organizations. As president of the local Rotary Club, he oversees partnerships between Rotary and Australian and American foundations that support Kenya and Uganda in water, education and health. He holds bachelor’s degrees from Pontifical Urban University, Rome, and Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, and earned an MBA from Kenyatta University, Nairobi. Lumiti is involved in management organizations and is working toward a Ph.D. in business management from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi.
Sister Reena Vattukunnel, Finance Manager, Nyumbani
In 2010, Sister Reena Vattukunnel became finance manager for all Nyumbani programs. An experienced accountant, she began her career at Nyumbani as an assistant accountant in 2000, and worked her way up to accounts manager for Nyumbani Children’s Home before moving into the lead finance role. Prior to Nyumbani, she was an accountant in India. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Kerala University, Thiruvananthapuram, India, and an associate’s degree in finance from Penn Foster College, Scottsdale, Arizona in the United States. She continues to take courses in financial management and accounting.
Kenyan phone numbers for the Nyumbani facility:
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