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Nina Chung started small, covering school fees for a couple of children. Over the past three years, she has raised $75,000 and put all of that money toward several activities.

NINA CHUNG

The Donor: Nina Chung

The Gift: Creating Elimu

The Reason: To finance education programs in Kenya

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A few years ago, Nina Chung took a break from a marketing business she had founded in Ottawa and headed to Kenya to do volunteer work at a school. She expected to be there for a couple of years, but that changed after she met a grandmother who was taking care of five children.

"The parents had abandoned the children and she was doing odd jobs just to put food on the table," Ms. Chung recalled. She decided to get involved by covering school fees for two of the children.

It wasn't long before she made a decision to commit to doing much more and, in 2008, she gave up returning to her company in Ottawa.

Instead she created a Canadian charity called Elimu, which means education in Swahili. In the past three years, she has raised $75,000 in total and put all of that money toward several activities.

The main focus is a family home for children, which offers food, shelter and education for about a dozen kids. Elimu also finances a sewing project in co-ordination with other local organizations and it has helped to build a nursery school, which now has three classrooms.

Over time, the group hopes to expand its family home model and set up additional ones.

"This is my full-time thing," Ms. Chung said from Kenya, where she spends most of her time. She also covers the charity's administration costs so that all donations go to the projects.

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"I love it. … It is really, really rewarding seeing children get an education and hope for the future."

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