LEAF International | Kenya

Located in Mlologo , Likoni and Nairobi | Founded 2014 | 190+ Youth Served Ages 8-18

Why Kenya? Ben Gradison had big visions for LEAF International One Mics across the world. Tanzania and Kenya were his first two programs to implement on his amazing African journey years ago. As most connections, these were connections from global music friends.


Likoni Program

Located at The Children’s Development Center | Partnership with TWAAYF (Total War Against Aids Youth Foundation) 

“LEAF is a great project that has really transformed the lives of so many in the community.”

Martin Gitonga

LI Coordinator and Teaching Artist, LEAF

Program Overview
LEAF International is happy to provide support to the HolyKraft Entertainment Music Company; a recording and performing music program that focuses on youth empowerment. Through music, dance, modeling, videography and photography, the organization encourages chidren to develop their talents and creative skills, and then use those skills to become responsible adults. This project was born out of a collaboration with D-Street Studios,founded by Ben Gradison (a LEAF Schools & Streets Teaching Artist). Ben visited the TWAAYF center to help set up a One Mic recording studio there. Holykraft is inspired to continue on Ben’s belief that music and art can change the world, reduce poverty, and transform communities.
The music and arts program at the TWAAYF Center has developed through efforts of dedicated volunteers and the director of TWAAYF.

In 2014, LEAF International was thrilled to officially partner with TWAAYF to support the work being done and carry on the honor of Ben Gradison’s memory. Holykraft Entertainment works with other young people across Kenya (in addition to those in the TWAAYF center) to give them a voice and unlock the creative potential of youth.

Through the project, students gain:

  • Classes in traditional music and new musical styles
  • Promotion of economic development in the community
  • Reconnecting to local traditions 
  • The opportunity to perform in the community
  • A one-mic recording studio
Meet our Students

The TWAAYF organization is comprised of the Children’s Center, home to 20 orphaned or abandoned children, and the Madaraka Community School, which educates 170 less privileged children within Likoni. Holykraft Entertainment works with both groups of students.TWAAYFSmilingGroup

Meet Our Teaching Artist

HolyKraft Entertainment was founded by Martin Gitonga, the founder and director of TWAAYF. He grew up in the streets of Kenya, and now has dedicated his life to support other children and help them avoid the streets. Martin has a very entrepreneruial spirit, and he and his brother, Dennis, use arts, sports, music, offer volunteer and internship activities, and create other income-generating projects to sustain their programs. The program is run by a group of prodcuers, vocalists,

DJs, dancers, and performing artists.


 In Martin’s words, his program is all about collaboration: “We work with a wide range of musicians, producers, emcees, DJs, and trainers to have a cross-cultural taste, learn more from others, and gain different skills and knowledge. With your support, we are going MILES!”  -Martin Gitonga, TWAAYF Director


Mlolongo Program

Located at Mount Olive Kenya | Partnership with Cradle to Career Kenya

“The students’ self-esteem will rise when they perform for others, and their own sense of self-worth will increase as they develop pride in their traditional music. The community will benefit from the same factors when they watch the performances. Hope will inspire all.”

Cradle to Career Kenya

LEAF International Partner

Program Overview

LEAF International is honored to act as the catalyst in beginning a traditional music program near Nairobi in partnership with Cradle to Career! The students will learn traditional Kenyan drumming, dance and song. The program is scheduled to take off in 2014. Currently, the program is working with a group of teens from the slum who don’t have the grades to continue on into high school. The music class will empower them with life skills and musical skills to become more successful in all areas of life!

The long-term vision and dream is that a solid group of students will form a highly-skilled dance troupe, and they will give performances throughout the community. Income from their performances will help these youth become more independent and self-sustaining.
More details to come!
Project Highlights
Ben Gradison’s Mom visits One Mic Studio in honor of Ben’s birthday. TWAAYF is in a process of transition.
Music program scheduled to begin at Mt. Olive Academy
 January 2014
LI and TWAAYF begin a partnership to continue on the work begun by Ben Gradison
Martin of TWAAYF has the inspring idea to collaborate with LEAF International
LEAF Schools & Streets teaching artist, Ben Gradison, works with TWAAYF in Kenya to establish a One-Mic recording studio

Featured Partners

TWAAYF (Total War Against Aids Youth Foundation) is a youth led community development organization comprised of artistes working to empower children and youth in Likoni, Kenya. TWAAYF foundation fosters personal development and self-sufficiency among young people, while promoting economic development in the civil society within Likoni community.
HolyKraft Entertainment Music Company: a community-oriented musical empowerment program. The project was came from the inspiration of D-Street Studios USA, “supporting real talents!!”
Cradle to Career:Kenya is a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of Kenyan orphans and vulnerable children, from preschool through college to career, by providing for their immediate needs, and offering access to the best education possible. In turn, these educated women will “pay it forward” to the next generation in their community.


From music instruments to child sponsorships, our people-centered programs depend on generous givers like you to grow and thrive. Donate today! 100% of your gift goes directly to support music and arts education programs in the country of your choosing.

 Learn more about Kenya
Likoni: Kenya has many diver popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages. Likoni is in the southwestern part of Kenya. Tragicaly, in the autumn of 1997, six policemen were killed there when local raiders armed with traditional weapons and guns rampaged through the area. Many non-local Kenyans were either killed or hurt. The Likoni community has been building itself back up and working to empower and protect its children. Swahili and English are the two main lanugauges in Kenya.
Mlolongo: Mlolongo is a town near Athi River.  It is on the main highway that cuts Kenya in two.  Mlolongo is a truck stop notorious for its high rate of prostitution.  Fr. Henry wanted the vulnerable young students of the Athi River area and its surroundings, including Mlolongo, to have a safe haven (especially for girls so they would’t be “married off” at a young age), and so he founded Mt. Olive in 2010. The school provides local and Nairobi families with a place where their children can learn in a safe environment outside the city. Traditional Kenyan values are cherished.