Posted by Frank Gagnier
Diane Hammerick

A native of South Georgia, Diane is happy to have moved permanently to Fernandina – which is “almost like coming home again”, but even better!  She and her husband John have owned property on the south end of the Island since 1994, but officially retired here 3 years ago.  However, for Diane, retirement has not meant sitting in a porch rocker (or even spending much time on the beach).  She is more active than ever in her volunteer work with Kenya Partners, a non-profit which she founded after her first visit to Kenya in 2006.  Her Master’s degree in education and her seven years of experience as a federal programs school administrator, has proven invaluable in her role as Director of The Betty Mavity Roberts Education Centre in Nakuru, Kenya.  Built by Kenya Partners in 2008, the education center is a 600-bed boarding school for orphans and severely impoverished children for grades K-12.

Diane has further relied upon her Emory University Law Degree and 31 years of experience as a trial attorney to deal with the myriad of legal issues facing her Kenyan NGO – such as the purchase of land, the preparation of construction contracts and leases, and dealing with professionals in the country and the like. Diane is Board Chair of both Kenya Partners and its Kenyan NGO sister organization. 

She travels to Kenya several times a year, and actually spends a total of at least 5 months there in any given year.  In addition to the boarding school, the Kenya NGO has owned and operated a 24/7 health facility since 2006, which services include maternity, dental, primary care for all ages, children’s immunizations and treatment and services for HIV/AIDS patients. The programs supported by Kenya Partners also include 2 pre-schools serving more than 180 children, both with feeding programs, and one of which is in a slum. 

Kenya Partners has no paid staff, and all volunteers (including Diane) pay their own travel expenses.  100% of funds raised to support Kenya Partners goes directly to Kenya to fund the programs there. Kenya Partners also has a tour company and plans safaris for any interested party in order to help sustain the programs financially.  Talk about heart, commitment, and dedication to a cause! Wow!

This will be a very interesting and educational talk for us…looking forward to it!