Beatrice Williamson is a distinguished leader known for her warmth, humor and commitment to learning. She was born January 19, 1976 in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. From the age of nine years old until her second year of college, Beatrice received a scholarship for education from Swedish missionary Anna Lanson. Education was what Beatrice needed to rise above her circumstances and realize her potential.
“Aunty Bea” as the Maisha children affectionately call her, came to The United States in 2001. She founded Pamoja International Ministry to provide outreach services to international students in Oklahoma. She also consults regularly with international executives from a variety of fields to help create synergistic solutions to impacting problems these students face.
In the meantime, Beatrice’s family, living in the village of Kano, just outside of Kisumu, expressed the need and dire situation of the orphans and widows living in their community. The fruition of Beatrice’s dream began in 2006, when she founded Maisha in response to this call for help. Now, her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and provide them with the same opportunity Anna Lanson gave her. By making a difference in the lives of the children from her home village, Beatrice strives to create a brighter future for the next generation. Her passion is to reach out to orphaned and destitute children and continue the Legacy of Hope Anna Lanson began.
Emily is a Texas Native, who came to Oklahoma for school, and never looked back! A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Emily studied journalism, public relations, and nonprofit management. Emily fell in love with what she saw stirring in Oklahoma City through her internship with The Spero Project. She found a deep love and language for Kingdom justice and seeing the local church engaged and equipped to love their communities well. Before joining staff at Maisha, Emily served as resident manager for HopeHouse OKC, and worked with Novo Ministries to mobilize churches and volunteers in inner-city ministry. Connecting the Church in healthy, sustainable ways to under-resourced communities for the flourishing of both is her deepest passion.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
Child Sponsorship Coordinator
Britni felt the calling towards humanitarian relief shortly before her graduation from OU. She has since used her degree in Conservation and Pre-Veterinary Medicine as well as her achievements as a tiny home builder to advocate for conservation efforts and sustainable living around Oklahoma. She does this though consulting, public speaking, and her website www.tinyisnow.com.
More than her passion for sustainability is her heart for children. Britni’s goal to fight under-education and generational poverty is what drew her to Maisha Project. She finds joy in engaging in such a wonderful, life-giving organization that brings sustainable health and education to children and their families living in Kenya.
In her free time, you can usually find Britni exploring the menus of OKC’s local good eats (Ramen! Coffee!) or searching for her next big read. If she’s not there, she will be deep in some sort of refurbishing project.
“With rare exceptions, all of your most important achievements on this planet will come from working with others—or, in a word, partnership.” ― Paul Farmer, To Repair the World
Missions & Outreach
Cody has always been passionate about helping others and going on international missions by visiting 12 countries before traveling to Kenya in 2013. Cody stayed actively involved with Maisha after his first visit by helping with photography and assisting with 2014 summer missions planning. Cody has been to Maisha many times and has adopted the Luo name Ochibo. He is passionate about the vision of Maisha and the transformation that is happening in the village. He is thankful for the relationships built with the incredible people of Kenya and is excited to see all that God is doing in and through their lives.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
If you have seen a video about Maisha, Mark probably made it.
Mark has been Maisha’s videographer since the first Team Maisha mission trip in 2008. He met Bea in Oklahoma City in 2007 at a prayer service for the post-election violence in Kenya, decided to go on the mission trip and hasn’t looked back since. Mark has been to Maisha five times and many people in the village consider him a member of the community. He has also spent a lot of time in South Africa. As a result of his connections in South Africa and his deep love of Maisha, three mission trips of South African students have travelled to Maisha to serve.
Mark is a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, getting his master’s degree in journalism. He spent nearly a year in South Africa on a Fulbright Grant making documentaries, wishing he could be at Maisha doing the same with the kids there!!
In his own words: “Maisha has made Kenya a home away from home for me. I find incredible joy in telling the story of what God is doing at Maisha through the videos that I make. When Bea and I are at Maisha and reflect on how much growth has happened since 2008, we are just blown away and humbled at how much has happened because of our incredible supporters around the world. My experiences at Maisha have forever changed me into someone who has life- long connections with my brothers and sisters in Africa. I look forward to telling their stories in the best way I know how for as long as I can! The people of Maisha are changing Kenya, and I think they can change the world!”