About Us

About Our Beginnings

why kindergarten? invest in project kindy to see significant return on the lives of children, communities and the whole country.

Hi, I’m Donna Power and as the Founding President of Project Kindy I am often asked about how it began.  In 2011 I enjoyed the chance to set long term goals for myself, including how I was to be involved in charity work.  Incidentally, it just so happened that my friend, Sr Melissa Dwyer, came home briefly from her mission in Africa at that time.  Sr Mel told me about several needs of people in rural Malawi but one in particular grabbed my attention.

One of the kindergartens run by local teachers and managed by the Sisters demonstrated the extent of the material poverty the community faced. As struggling subsistence farmers, the families’ livelihoods were and still are threatened by poor weather. For this reason, as incredible as it sounded, the monthly kindergarten fee of $4 per child was and is out of reach for parents and guardians. The funding of kindergarten fees struck me as an achievable, straightforward way to provide support to people in need. In fact a sense of urgency and compelling purpose welled up within me.

I set up “Project Kindy” in September 2011 to help 40 children at 1 kindergarten and we officially registered in 2016 as an Australian Charity because we now raise funds for 9 kindergartens with nearly 900 children, with a tenth kindergarten starting September 2017. With your help, we can expand to reach even more children in remote and neglected areas.


About the Executive Committee

Donna Power of Project Kindy

Donna Power is the Founding President of Project Kindy and is the (unpaid) CEO.  Donna manages the day to day running of the charity such as maintaining our high standard of relationships between our various stakeholders.  She manages the online presence of Project Kindy including this website and our social media and email communications to our stakeholders.  Donna runs the annual Evening Benefit and represents Project Kindy at fundraising events by third parties.

Julie Soh vice president of Project Kindy represents the businesses on our executive committee for Project Kindy

Julie Soh (pictured above with some of our students in Malawi) caught the Project Kindy dream in 2013 and partners with us through her own tertiary college, The Queensland International Institute, especially with her early childhood courses.  On the executive committee, Julie serves as our Vice President and represents the many businesses who partner with Project Kindy.

Belinda Starrenburg is the Project Kindy accountant and represents our families

Belinda Starrenburg (above), passionately cares for our little ones in Malawi and represents our individual and family supporters and donors on our executive committee.  Belinda shares the Treasurer’s responsibilities and her accounting qualifications and risk management expertise are very much an asset to Project Kindy.

Allison White offers strategy and communications expertise to Project Kindy

Allison White offers much-valued expertise in the area of strategy, business development and communications.  She is a dedicated senior leader, strategy and engagement specialist, with close to 20 years’ experience working with some of Queensland’s most respected organisations.  A big picture thinker, Allison has a passion for transforming organisational performance by aligning  strategy with the interests of stakeholders.

Peter McDade treasurer for Project Kindy

 Deacon Peter McDade has been a strong supporter of Project Kindy from day one and has worked hard to lay the foundations of our financial and risk management policies and procedures.  Highly qualified in business and financial management with a career spanning decades in the banking, corporate, not for profit and community sectors, Peter’s breadth of experience has played a pivotal role in the formation of Project Kindy, for which the rest of team and stakeholders will be forever grateful.

Kiara Palmer of Project Kindy

Kiara Palmer is the Project Kindy secretary and chief child protection advisor. As a highly qualified Psychologist, Kiara has experience working across a range of Government and Community organisations providing psychological assessment, intervention and treatment services for a wide range people, especially young people. She is an expert in complex case reviews, program development and policy development and compliance and is an asset to the Project Kindy Team.

About Our Advisors

Anna Coles pro bono advisor to Project Kindy

Project Kindy is so fortunate to have the specialist expert advice and support from two very experienced leaders in their fields.  Anna Coles (above) is a high level specialist in Fundraising Strategy and Communications and has such an incredibly valuable bank of knowledge from her years of experience in the field.  Anna is assisting Donna Power with her operational strategies and the Executive Committee with their high level strategy to ensure Project Kindy delivers the best outcomes for our beneficiaries in Malawi.

“I am a seasoned strategic development professional with 15+ years of stakeholder engagement and marketing communications experience in the commercial, education and nonprofit sectors. Recognized for demonstrating a natural aptitude for building partnerships and creating linkages within communities, as well as for facilitating sales and development through multi-channel marketing campaigns and community events, I have a history of contributing to organisations throughout my career. Professional focal points include strategic planning, business development, relationship management, corporate partnerships, community engagement, sales development, marketing campaign management, presentation delivery, fundraising, event management, major gifts stewardship, and project management.”  (From Anna’s LinkedIn profile)

project kindy advisor on curriculum

Shelley Butcher is the Deputy Principal at Brightwater State School on the Sunshine Coast and specialises in the implementation of cutting edge, evidence-based learning programs and the professional development of teachers.  Shelley advises Project Kindy in the area of improving the curriculum, teacher training and ultimately learning outcomes of our students in Malawi.  (Pictured above is the Brightwater SS Principal, Robyn Taplin, with prep students who are the same age as many of our Project Kindy children)

“Our school community is passionate about ensuring every child experiences success with their learning every day. We are committed to providing high quality services in all that we do. As an Independent Public School our school community will play an active role in establishing and setting our strategic agenda to ensure that our students are offered the very best education possible.” (From the Brightwater SS website)

“Research by every English language speaking country has shown the fastest and most effective way to teach every child to read and spell is using systematic, explicit phonics – or Synthetic Phonics.  ‘Get Reading Right’, by teachers for teachers, produces fun and multi-sensory reading and spelling resources that gets impressive results fast. With Synthetic Phonics at the core of your literacy program you will see the benefits to every child’s reading and writing.  Using Synthetic Phonics, schools have achieved results that have attracted glowing reviews. But the most important judges are the teachers and the children, who are delighted by the progress. This is especially so amongst the groups that often fall behind and under-perform: second language children, boys and those who are experiencing reading difficulties.” (from the ‘Get Reading Right’ website: the reading program Shelley has recommended our kindergarten teachers learn)

About the Dream

Our dream is to sustainably provide as much funding for as many kindergartens, and therefore children, as we can.

We hope you will join our Project Kindy Village and catch the dream in your heart, too.


Learn more about Why Kindergarten is such an effective tool for poverty reduction

Learn more about how we operate