Our History

Below is a timeline of our organization’s history. To learn about some of the goals we have reached, please read about our milestones below.

  • 2023 – Another amazing year has now slipped into the past. Here are some of the highlights. Irene and Jacqueline passed their entrance exams and are the first young women to enter university from the orphanage. I wonder where it will take them! On the vocational front, Jean and Sayouba are our first graduates – both in civil engineering. In addition, Bernadette, Tinwende, Wendzanda, Balkissa, Yabre, and Nayaowende successfully completed their two year sewing program. Way to go ladies! Congrats as well to Kourita for entering his third year of university in Ouagadougou as well as Pascal for pursuing his police training. We’re so proud! Continuing with education, the Virginia Rempe Elementary School opened in the fall and our new students are thrilled to be in school! Concerning the Stone by Stone documentary, there were two community screenings in Nova Scotia, Canada in 2023 – one in Advocate Harbour and the other in Parrsboro. Both were well received and awards were won for Stone by Stone at two film festivals (see Milestones below). Furthermore, we welcome Cecile and Adissa, who are now employed as administrative assistants. How exciting is that! We also want to share that two of our young men are considering attending Seminary in hopes of becoming pastors. Praise God!

    Finally, the Paradise Orphanage will now be led by our very competent leadership team under the auspices of A.B.B.A. (Association de Bienfaisance Bethel Afrique). Thanks so much to the Sawadogo family for making this happen. And last but certainly not least, we wish to thank Scott Paskiewicz for joining Kaya’s Kids in 2023 as our Special Advisor. Welcome aboard Scott!

  • 2022 – What a year it’s been! Six of our orphans in university and 17 in vocational/trade school studying civil engineering, auto mechanics/electrical, steel building construction, sewing, etc. In addition, well over 300 Burkinabe children – from outside the orphanage – are enrolled in the KP Manson II Elementary School – the school of choice for many of the parents in the city of Kaya and surrounding community. In a very recent development, Pascal Bamobo (one of our older orphans) has successfully passed the police recruitment test and will enter into a two-year police training program.  This program will prepare Pascal for a position as a police officer in the Government of Burkina Faso. Well done Pascal and Godspeed as you transition from university to public service. We’re so proud of you!

    The Stephen Joseph High School opened in October with 12 students. Our plan is to add two or three more classes this coming October. A dream come true! Moving on to the ‘Gift of Chess’ phenomenon sweeping across Africa, we continue to see great potential for the Kaya’s Kids Chess Team. Perhaps one day soon we’ll be looking at the prospect of enrolling our advanced players in tournaments across the continent. How amazing is that?

    Regarding the documentary, Stone by Stone – The Building of the Paradise Orphanage – there were two screenings in 2022, one at the Lynbrook Baptist Church and the other at Eastport Bible Church – both at the end of November – and both on Long Island. Future screenings are being planned for Advocate Harbour, NS, Canada and Gravenhurst, Ontario. The filmmakers are also investigating the possibility of more film festivals and are confident that Stone by Stone… will be launched into the film marketplace, sooner rather than later!

    The first of the final two items to tell you about in 2022 is the success this past year of the “Paradise Farm.” With the water from a dug well and solar panels, all under the watchful eye of Charles Sawadogo and several hard-working orphans, the vegetables are thriving! The second and final item to report on is the near completion of our very own Chapel. Georges Sawadogo – with the help of several of the older children – are working tirelessly on this project. Just think, our own House of Worship to sing God’s praises. How exciting!
  • 2021 – It was another amazing year at the Paradise Orphanage. We now have 9 students in vocational school (located in Ouagadougou and Fada N’ Gourma) with concentration in the following areas: civil engineering, automechanics/electrical, metallic construction, etc. In addition, four of our girls (Marie, Bernadette, Baklissa, and Tinwende) are enrolled in a comprehensive sewing program. Furthermore, four of our young men – who successfully completed their baccalaureate degrees in 2021 (Pascal, Alaye, Andre, and Kourita) – are in their first year of study at the University of Ouagadougou with campuses in Dori, Ouaga, Gaoua, and Kaya. Many thanks to our generous supporters who are making these opportunities possible for the kids. Other developments in 2021 included: 1. The near completion of the High School (scheduled to open its doors in October, 2022), 2. A third well successfully dug on two acres of farmland in Kaya, and 3. The formation of the Kaya’s Kids Chess School – under the outstanding instruction of Tunde Onakoya from Lagos, Nigeria. Tunde’s “Chess in the Slums” movement has attracted worldwide media coverage and the Paradise Orphanage is thrilled to be associated with such a wonderful organization. We are also pleased to report that the K.P. Manson II Primary School – located on the campus of the Paradise Orphanage – continues to attract students from the surrounding community of Kaya (326 in the 2020 – 21 school year). Last but not least, the Stone by Stone… documentary – began in 2015 – is undergoing final edits and hopefully this will be the year that this amazing story can be shared with the world!
  • 2020 – Our big news in 2020 was that five boys from the Paradise Orphanage have begun Vocational/Technical School (3 in Ouagadougou studying automechanics and electrical work and 2 in Fada ‘N Gourma studying Civil Engineering). Good luck fellows! In addition, two of our girls are taking sewing classes in Kaya and we wish them well! Progress continues on the new High School – which is scheduled to open in October. It’s looking good! We continue to provide Primary School at the Paradise Orphanage for 360 students in grades 1 to 6 (336 of which are children living in surrounding communities). Five of our students are in their final year of High School hoping to receive their baccalaureate degrees in June. This means that – based upon receiving a passing grade on their qualifying examination – these students will be eligible for university in the fall. How exciting! Lastly, we’ve been advised that there is a film distributor in the U.S. who is interested in promoting the documentary, Stone by Stone – The Building of the Paradise Orphanage. Another very exciting development!
  • 2019 – In 2019 we saw thousands of Christian refugees pour into Kaya from the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, West Africa. They were fleeing for their lives and many of their beloved family members were not as fortunate. Thanks to our generous supporters, Kaya’s Kids was able to provide safety, food and shelter to many of our desperate Burkinabe brothers and sisters. This includes a mother of six, who lost her husband one Sunday morning while leading a worship service. How could this be? Thanks to all who helped! On a more positive note, 2019 saw a record number of students in our KP Manson II Primary School: 39 children from the Paradise Orphanage and 320 from the surrounding community. Now that’s amazing! We’ve been blessed with six wonderful teachers at our School, who are providing these precious children with a first rate education – and the community of Kaya is taking notice! In addition, we launched our Kaya’s Kids Chess Club this year – thanks to an excellent chess instructor and our sponsor from the U.S., Impact Coaching Network, in New York City. Thanks to all! Our computer lab continues to be a great asset to the children. In fact, online courses have been established through ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thanks Scott and Charles for making this happen! Construction of the High School at the Paradise Orphanage continues to move forward. We are especially pleased to report that several of the teenagers are involved with construction and consequently are learning the trades. Well done! And finally, 2019 saw the marriage of Charles Sawadogo and his beautiful bride Christine. The pictures on our website tell the story. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Sawadogo!
  • 2018 – The big event of 2018 was the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Paradise Orphanage. With over 300 present including students, teachers, government officials, etc., it was a day to remember. In addition, special uniforms were made for the children as they proudly showed the community of Kaya their beautiful home and school. What an incredible day!

    Other developments in 2018 included the opening of the new computer lab, the first phase of construction on the new High School, Charles Sawadogo’s trip to Ghana to attend the Yale Young African Scholars Program, plans to begin the Kaya’s Kids Chess Team, etc. Furthermore, the KP Manson II Primary School continued to see a significant increase in the enrollment of children from outside the orphanage – which speaks of the confidence that the community of Kaya has in our educational programs. The documentary, Stone by Stone – the Building of the Paradise Orphanage, moved into its final stage with the filming of the 10-year anniversary celebration. And lastly, thanks to the Herr family from Eastport, Long Island, N.Y., the Paradise Orphanage was able to celebrate another wonderful Christmas celebration. Thanks guys!
  • 2017 – This was another amazing year at the Paradise Orphanage. Money was donated for a computer lab, which in 2018, will commence with 10 desktop computers to be followed by purchasing laptops for classroom instruction in computer technology. Contact was made with the director of the Yale Young African Scholars Program in hopes of facilitating college and university placement for our academic achievers. In addition, 2 more teachers were hired in the primary school, which gives us a complete complement of 6 classes. We now have 245 students in grades 1 through 6 with 205 from outside the orphanage attending our primary school. How’s that for support from the local community? This year we were able to send 84 of our students to High Schools in Kaya, which included uniforms and school supplies. Speaking of High School, we have received the architect’s drawings for the new High School and we hope to start construction this year. We even plan to include a gymnasium! Elisabeth Gimber and her film crew from Montreal are putting together footage from their trip to the orphanage in October. We hope to see the documentary, Stone by Stone – The Building of the Paradise Orphanage completed by next year. Plans are being made to establish a nonprofit in Canada, which will assist our Canadian partners with income tax receipts. Our Comfort and Joy Campaign raised enough money for 23 more mattresses. Praise the Lord! Thanks to all for your prayers, kind words and financial donations this past year. Together we’re making a difference for our kids!
  • 2016 – The KP Manson II primary school added a 4th classroom/teacher and accepted 70 more students from the community of Kaya (220 at present). A 2011 Ford F-150 truck was donated to the orphanage by Scott Paskiewicz and shipped to West Africa just before Christmas. Filming of Stone by Stone – the Documentary began and will continue into 2017. Charles Sawadogo toured Canada, was interviewed for the upcoming film on the orphanage, and had several speaking engagements in Nova Scotia and Ontario in August. The Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign, initiated by Carla, Len and Annie Veitch, was a huge success and over 75 mattresses will be purchased for the kids. Fifty-eight children were baptised this year. Dozens of quilt kits were donated by Jane Burke and friends and will be used to instruct the girls in quilting. There are plans for a well and wall on the new property in Kaya in preparation for the new High School on the same land.
  • 2015 – Thanks to Scott Paskiewicz, several new classrooms were completed enabling us to admit 50 students from Kaya into the Paradise Orphanage School System. This number will increase for the next school year. Plans for a documentary on Kaya’s Kids and the Paradise Orphanage were firmed up (filming projected to begin in 2016). The High School fund continues to grow as does the vehicle fund. Vocational training of the teens in door and window manufacturing got its start this year. Missionary support from around the globe brought computer training, music education and english instruction to the orphanage in 2015.
  • 2014 – The roof on the Sawadogo family home was finally completed after many years. To their credit Georges and Esther built the Paradise Orphanage before completing their own home. In addition, construction on several additional classrooms was begun. This will enable the Paradise Orphanage to open enrollment to children in the greater Kaya community. Plans for a new high school are also in the works with construction to begin in the coming year. Friends from Ontario and Long Island shipped more nutritious soup to the orphanage (complements of Ontario Christian Gleaners) as well as sports equipment, clothing, and Christmas treats. Awesome!
  • 2013 – The biogaz construction project was completed. This will reduce the use of firewood for cooking. Other projects this past year included: repair of the well, renovation of Georges and Esther Sawadogo’s home, and painting of the dorms and classrooms. Projects planned in 2013 and scheduled for the current year include: purchase of 10 cows, grist mill project, and the child sponsorship program. These are major undertakings but we’re trusting the Lord to make them a reality in 2014.
  • 2012 – The girl’s dormitory has been completed, a donkey cart was purchased for transporting firewood, and a loom was obtained in memory of a dear friend. Two shipments of nutritious soup from Ontario Christian Gleaners made their way to the orphanage this year, which was a big hit with the kids. Charles Sawadogo traveled to Germany for 1 month in January and discussed education and renewable energy among other things pertaining to the Paradise Orphanage. By the grace of God, the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the children living at the orphanage continue to be met.
  • 2011 – The Veitch’s and Makofsky’s visited the Paradise Orphanage in April. To their surprise there were 120 children, two functioning classrooms, 10 local employees, and plans for a high school and girl’s dormitory in the works. In addition, Georges has plans for a university! Kaya’s Kids has been able to send Georges $3,000 per month for the past 9 months. In May, Sean Rice offered to build a website pro bono for Kaya’s Kids. Dr. Alex Dagum and Stony Brook University Hospital have agreed to provide a little African girl named Guedalia reconstructive plastic surgery to her right hand free of charge this fall. Air France has thrown in two free round-trip tickets. Prayers are heard and miracles do happen! View a Powerpoint Presentation (PPT 39.7 MB) that covers some of our history up to 2011.
  • 2010 – Wes Hanson (Maggie’s husband) and Len Veitch spent 2 weeks at the orphanage working on the new school. It was given the name KP Manson II after the KP Manson Elementary School in Ontario, Canada that has been very supportive of the orphanage. Georges’ son Charles Sawadogo put together a monthly budget of $1,750. Charles also assumed much of the administrative responsibilities of the orphanage. Inmates at a prison in Ontario have also been very generous!
  • 2009 – Len and Carla Veitch from Ontario, Canada (friends of Joan and Alan Hayhoe) visited the Paradise Orphanage in February with newly sewn clothes, sports equipment, and school supplies for the children. They returned to Canada inspired to do more and more they did. Their church, Calvary Baptist in Gravenhurst, Ontario, got behind them and haven’t looked back! In the same year, the Eastport Bible Church in Eastport, NY also became involved and has been incredibly supportive and generous in providing financial as well as material support for the orphanage. At the suggestion of Len and Carla, $5,000 was raised by Kaya’s Kids and Mr. Chuck Manning from Ontario, Canada organized a work crew in West Africa to install a well in the midst of the orphanage compound.
  • 2008 – The Paradise Orphanage was opened to 48 orphans and monthly support from Kaya’s Kids, Inc. averaged about $500 per month.
  • 2007 – Fran and Howie Makofsky visited Kaya, Burkina Faso and stayed in the home of Georges and Esther Sawadogo. The wall around the orphanage was complete and the main dormitory was near completion. Fran and Howie Makofsky together with the Sawadogo family enjoyed a wonderful week of rejoicing in what God was doing and praying for future direction. When Fran and Howie returned home, a friend (Carol McNeill) told Howie about John Wood’s book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World and as a result of that book they established a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation called Kaya’s Kids, Inc. Arina Lekhel, a NYC attorney, provided the legal work pro bono.
  • 2005 – Construction on the orphanage began and after 6 months had to be leveled because of building code violations. Georges was so upset, he could not sleep for several days. Construction on the children’s dormitory resumed and was in compliance.
  • 2004 – The Makofsky family began sending money to Georges in the amount of $100 per month to begin gathering building supplies.
  • 2003 – While praying one evening in May, Howie Makofsky had a strong sense that he and his family would be involved in orphanage work in Africa. Knowing that his daughter Maggie and a traveling companion (Mr. Louis Vigneault) would be visiting Burkina Faso, West Africa that summer, he asked Maggie to be on the lookout for someone who had a desire to build an orphanage. As it turned out, they stayed in the home of Mr. Georges Sawadogo (arranged by Boukary Ouedrago) who had land and plans for an orphanage, but no money to build it. According to Maggie and Louis, the need for an orphanage in Kaya was urgent and there was no time to waste. The first thing Maggie told her Dad after arriving at JFK was, “I found your man!”
  • 2002 – Maggie Makofsky (now Hanson) visited Burkina Faso, West Africa with a group of university students through the International Missions Board. She was backed financially by the Impact Church in Montreal, Quebec and the Church of the Nazarene in Patchogue, NY as well as by friends and family.


Below is a list of completed projects at the Paradise Orphanage.

  • 2023 – Opening of the Virginia Rempe Elementary School, two community screenings of Stone by Stone – which won two awards in 2023 (honorable mention for human rights in Montreal and best documentary at a Berlin Film Festival). Three young ladies completed their sewing training, 20 of our kids are attending vocational school and 10 are enrolled in university for the 2023-24 school year. And finally, the Paradise Orphanage and Schools are now under the direction of A.B.B.A. – which promises to streamline all ministries under the capable leadership of the Georges and Esther Sawadogo family.

  • 2022 – Six orphans in university, 17 in vocational school, over 300 children from Kaya and the surrounding community attending the KP Manson II Elementary School, the opening of the Stephen Joseph High School, and a piece of land transformed into a thriving source of food for the orphanage and surrounding community. As if that weren’t enough, add to that a competitive Chess Team and a film – about to be released to the world – on the great things happening in Kaya, Burkina Faso. So much to be thankful for. We praise our awesome God for all the great things He has done!
  • 2021 – Nine orphans are currently enrolled in vocational/technical school, four more are taking a comprehensive sewing course, and four additional baccalaureate degree graduates are in their first year of university. This past year has also seen progress made in the area of agriculture including bean production and the hatching of chicks and Guinea fowl with a homemade egg incubator. In addition, this past summer saw the formation of the Kaya’s Kids Chess School, which continues to partner with Tunde Onakoya from Nigeria, who is the founder and director of “Chess in the Slums.” Work on the new High School is nearing completion and an October, 2022 opening seems likely. And finally, the documentary, Stone by Stone, the Building of the Paradise Orphanage, is undergoing final edits and God willing this will be the year!
  • 2020 – Five boys are now enrolled in Vocational/Technical Schools in Ouaga and Fada ‘N Gourma and two girls are taking sewing classes in Kaya. Construction of the new High School is moving forward and scheduled to open in October (Lord willing)! Finishing touches are being made on the documentary, Stone by Stone – The Building of the Paradise Orphanage and will hopefully be released by the end of the year!
  • 2019 – Six classes in the KP Manson II Primary School are now fully functional – which educated 39 children from the orphanage and 320 boys and girls from the surrounding community in 2019. The Kaya’s Kids Chess Club was established. Online business courses offered to our students. Construction of the High School moving forward. The Documentary, Stone by Stone – the Building of the Paradise Orphanage is nearing completion with a release expected in 2020.
  • 2018 – Opening of the new computer lab and near completion of the wall on the High School property. In addition, this was the first year in which our teachers’ salaries were completely covered by the tuition from our primary school – a significant step towards self-sufficiency!
  • 2017 – Completion of the primary school, new dug well on the High School property, and near completion of the wall. Film crew from Montreal visit the orphanage in October.
  • 2016 – Filming of Stone by Stone – the Documentary is off to a great start; a 2011 Ford F-150 truck was purchased in New York and shipped to West Africa.
  • 2015 – Completion of new classrooms and beginning of vocational training.
  • 2014 – Completion of the Sawadogo family home.
  • 2013 – Construction of girls’ dormitory and dining hall completed.
  • 2011 – The Paradise Orphanage increased its numbers to 120 children, 2 functioning classrooms and 10 local employees.
  • 2010 – A school opened at the Paradise Orphanage and is called KP Manson II.
  • 2009 – The Paradise Orphanage received newly sewn clothes, sports equipment, and school supplies for the children from Len and Carla Veitch. A water well was installed at the Paradise Orphanage which was organized by Chuck Manning.
  • 2008 – The Paradise Orphanage main dormitory was constructed. The Paradise Orphanage opened and housed 48 orphans.
  • 2007 – The wall around the Paradise Orphanage was constructed. Kaya’s Kids, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was created by Fran and Howie Makofsky.
  • 2004 – Building supplies were gathered from money sent by the Makofsky family in the amount of $100 per month to George Sawadogo.