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Keri became involved with Imana Kids in 2018 on her first mission trip after seeing the team was in need of a photographer to capture images of the children and life of those within Imana Kids. She once again accompanied Kara, Ryan and family in 2019 as the official photographer. After returning home she vowed to find as many sponsors and supporters to assist in furthering the reach and mission of Imana Kids. She fell in love with the children of Imana Kids, the history and people of Rwanda and the mission of Imana kids to assist, educate and empower the women and children of Rwanda to the best of its ability. She knows that she was led by God to be a part of this mission. Keri graduated from Millard South High School in Omaha and later from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations. She spends her days as mother to Jett (14) and Luke (9), wife to Jess, and as a part-time photographer while running her all natural skincare business.


The adoption of two of Kara’s sons from Rwanda in 2009 propelled Kara to launch Imana Kids. Additionally, seeing firsthand the impact that trauma has on children transformed Kara’s life and she has since become convicted in educating and providing trauma informed care not only within Imana Kids, but also her home and workplace. Married to Ryan for 22 years, they are parents to 6 children (two through biology, two through adoption, two through foster care). Currently, she works part time as a CNM at a community health center in Omaha when not managing Imana Kids or leading teams to work in country with our students.

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Ryan has his master's degree in education and works as the director of Project Lead the Way in Council Bluffs Community Schools. Besides teaching Project Lead the Way, he has also introduced robotics in the high schools. Engineering courses have allowed him to bridge students with leaders in the community.

After the adoption of two of his sons, in 2009, he also felt led to return to Rwanda. His gift for using education to encourage teenagers is one of the many reasons he has launched Imana Kids. He leads teams through Go Be Love, with his wife, Kara.


Kayla became involved with Imana Kids after going on her first mission trip to Kimisagara Orphanage in 2013 with Kara and Ryan. She will never forget the last day of that trip when they all said tear-filled goodbyes to the kids. They then promised them that they wouldn't be forgotten and that they would be back.

After returning home, she became one of the founding board members that summer as they prayed, told their stories, threw start-up parties, and sought sponsor families. Since then, she has travelled back to Rwanda four more times.Her and Shane, her husband, , sponsor Cedric and Salama.

Kayla spends most days working part-time as a reading interventionist in Council Bluffs and staying at home in the afternoon raising my boys, Howard (3 years) and Henry (1 year).




Jotham was born in Uganda and lived as as a refugee until 2007 when he returned to his home country, Rwanda. He attended teacher training college, and followed it up with a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Kenya University in English and Entrepreneurship. In 2008, he appointed as a headmaster as well as a teacher of Social Studies and participated in developing Social Studies curriculum for primary schools across Rwanda.

Jotham has served as Headmaster for over 10 years now, his new vision at Nyamata Parents’ School is to start and pilot an academic program that also takes into account children with trauma, and other challenges. He currently resides in Bugesera, Rwanda with his family family.


Manya served as part of the Higgins Mission Team and knew upon her return home she had experienced something much greater than herself -- she was being called to join this pioneering effort to help the orphans and widows in Rwanda.

The trip to Rwanda was not the first of Manya’s pioneering life experiences. She began her nursing career in one of the first nursing classes at Washburn University in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas.
As a nurse midwife for more than 20 years, Manya has a passion for the wellbeing of women and children – now, with the grace of God, that passion turns to Africa.
Manya has three children and two grandchildren. Her youngest son, Peter, joined her on the trip and joins her on this shared mission of faith.



Erick serves as a lead pastor at Citylight Church in Council Bluffs. He graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. That’s where he met Sarah. They got married in 2006. They now have four active kids to keep them busy.

He went all in on Imana Kids in 2015. He began sponsoring Lambertine, traveled to Rwanda, and joined the board that year. The kids made such an impact that he’s continued sponsoring, serving on the board and traveling every year since. 


Sandy's family (she, her husband and their 3 adult children) began sponsoring their pre-teen Imana Kids' son and brother in 2014. She and her husband, Brian, took their first mission trip to Rwanda in 2016.
In 2018 Sandy joined the IK board of directors. With her background as a retired actuary, she is working on its Finance Committee.




Jason is an educator from Indianapolis, Indiana with degrees from both Taylor University (B.M.ed) and Butler University (M.S.Ed.) in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has served as an educational leader in his building and district and has been named teacher of the year in both his district and the State of Indiana, has been a regular presenter at both state and national STEM education conferences and is a published writer.

In addition to serving with IMANA kids, he also sits on the board of Indy Skatepark Advocates, an organization dedicated to bringing safe and professionally designed skateparks to the City of Indianapolis.

Jason has been married to his high school sweetheart Susan, a school counselor who has served on several IK trips, for 26 years. Jason and Susan became involved with IK shortly after adopting from Rwanda in 2011. They have three children, Ethan (2000-2020), Aidan and Annelle.




James Odongo had a vision many years ago of himself working alongside others in caring for the orphans of Rwanda. Retired from the military, James was working as a pastor at New Covenant Church in Kigali as well as taking interpreting jobs for various NGOs and ministry programs all over the country of Rwanda. Accepting the role as in country director for Imana Kids has given him the opportunity to see his dream of working in orphan care fulfilled. James' role has many hats: accountant, chaperone, "Uncle", counselor/mentor, disciplinarian, nurturer, pastor, friend. Currently, James lives at Sparrow's Nest in Kigali and is legal guardian to one former orphan of Noel in Gisenyi. He has also adopted nieces and nephews and is father to two biological children. All the Imana Kids consider James to be their family.


Peter is an original Imana Kid and one of our first sponsored students. As a college student studying hospitality and tourism, Peter is an excellent in-country guide for our guests and teams that travel to Rwanda, and as a hard working, compassionate young man, he works well with our students on a daily basis. Some of Peter's duties as an assistant are to obtain report cards and letters from students, facilitate in country supply needs and operate the daily communication between America and Rwanda. Peter will graduate from college in Spring 2020 and hopes to be working in Kigali, using his degree, while also continuing operations management for Imana Kids.



Rosette (Middle) works full time as a nanny for our preschool students and has been on staff since 2014. Rosette serves as a motherly caregiver to our little ones and as a liaison between our foster families and our Imana Kids staff. She also is a foster mother herself, serves on the worship team at New Covenant Church.

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