About Us

Our Kids

Mentoring a Better Tomorrow

Every year, thousands of African refugee children flee some of the most dangerous conditions on earth, finding a new home in San Diego. Their stories include war, genocide, famine, and more.

We’ve learned that, in spite of the tragedies, these kids are some of the brightest minds and smiles among us. They are kind, ambitious and bring their friends and neighbors incredible joy and wider world views. Our communities, neighborhoods, and schools are better for having them.

We see these kids as future leaders and mentors, raising the bar for kindness and knowing the value of working through difficult times. The bonds that are created between students and mentors are ones that we know will be cherished for lifetimes.

Our Story

Success Begins with Education

For many refugee families, understanding the American system starts with the kids. When they learn to read, they’re able to translate for their parents, reading mail and other important documents, and through education and culture, learn the ways in which people find stability in this country.

Knowing this, Kupanda first began as a reading club at the City Heights public library. Due to our amazing volunteer team, the club became a staple within the African community. As the program grew, so did the mentoring, reaching beyond reading into homework, and support in other needs like food, clothing and education.

In 2019, we incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, formalizing our role as an essential resource for refugee children in San Diego. And in 2020, we were selected by Qualcomm as a key partner in community development. This partnership extended our ability to continuously foster educational access during the pandemic, and in turn, increased access to more students and mentors.

Though our foundation is literacy and education, it has become our mission to pivot to where our community needs us most in any given moment, and finding kids at critical junctions in their journey to realize a better world for themselves and their families.

Mission & Goals

Mentoring a Better Tomorrow

Kupanda is a non-profit organization providing refugee children mentoring and educational support to give children access to the American dream.

And while we seek to raise up our refugee communities through education and literacy, we also meet immediate needs, wherever they might be—from resources during the pandemic, to offering assistance during wildfires.

We rely on the generosity and spirit of our community to help see this mission through. Please consider donating or volunteering.