Jeana King and Debra Akre, MBA, Ph.D. are not your typical humanitarians. The Bellingham women are combining their passion for business and education to bring transformational education to children and communities in Kenya. Since founding Tembo Trading in 2008, the women, aided by a growing and impressive list of volunteers, have facilitated local projects that are creating a powerful bond between the greater Bellingham community and communities thousands of miles away in Kenya. Selected Haggen Food and Pharmacy locations in Whatcom County carry kiondos (hand-woven Kenyan bags) by Kiondos of Hope and Watoto Coffee, 100% AA Kenyan coffee. Tony’s Coffees and Teas has partnered with Tembo Trading Company in roasting and packaging of Watoto Coffee. Tembo also sells individually painted note and greeting cards by street artist Peter Maina of Nakuru, Kenya. Peter is the designer of the Watoto Coffee label. The women and volunteers also attend various bazaars and shows in the Northwest selling their products and educating others on the mission of Tembo Trading Company and Tembo Trading Education Project.
Currently in the advance planning stages is a project to renovate the nursery and primary schools in Ngomano, Kenya as well as Teacher Training Seminars at the Computer School of Administration. Local Governance Seminars are planned for the first quarter of 2012 in Kenya.
For their work accomplishments, King and Akre have been named Paul Harris Fellows by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International at the Whatcom County North Rotary Club meeting on November 17, 2011.