Shamiri means "thrive." We are building a future where young people, everywhere, can thrive.

Shamiri means "thrive." We are building a future where young people, everywhere, can thrive.
52
Shamirians
2,548
Fellows and Supervisors
33,265
Sessions completed
1
Mission

Building a future where young people around the world can thrive and actualize their life potential.

Discover how our innovative approach, fueled by passion, evidence-based research, and a commitment to scale, is creating a pathway to healing and empowerment for young people everywhere, starting with Kenya and Africa.
Our program offers brief and effective interventions that are low-stigma and unobtrusive, focusing on broader human functioning.

A small idea and a shared vision for transforming mental health for all

The idea that would become the Shamiri Institute was conceived in 2018 at the Harvard Youth Lab for Mental Health, stemming from the vision of Kenyan social entrepreneur Tom Osborn, global mental health researcher Katherine Venturo-Conerly, and Prof. John R Weisz.

We founded the Shamiri Institute to combine rigorous social science research with deep contextual knowledge of educational and mental healthcare systems. This allows us to develop and implement scalable solutions that enable young people to thrive and actualize their life potential.

Tackling one of the greatest challenges of our generation: youth mental health

Mental health issues prevent many young people from thriving. Globally, roughly 250 million youths (ages 10-19) struggle with a mental health problem, making it account for 45% of the global burden of disease  among this group.

They reduce quality of life, impair physical health, and limit career opportunities. They also increase risk of risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, violence, and unhealthy reproductive health behaviors and can lead to lifelong socio-economic difficulties. Most critically, mental health issues contribute to death and suicide, with 1 million lives lost globally each year due to these issues.
Globally, roughly 250 million youths (ages 10-19) struggle with a mental health problem, making it account for 45% of the global burden of disease  among this group.
Shamiri fellow delivering an effective, brief, de-stigmatized, and evidence-based "low-touch" therapy within a tiered care model that allows for escalation to an expanded pool of providers including social workers and therapists.

A big problem requires a scalable solution

The mental health treatment gap is large (>80% in African countries). With nearly 500m young people aged 14-to-21 in the Global South, we see this as a massive opportunity for transformative impact. As such, we have to build a model that is replicable and scalable around the world.

At Shamiri, we’ve built such a model that utilizes lay-providers to deliver effective, brief, de-stigmatized, and evidence-based "low-touch" therapy within a tiered care model that allows for escalation to an expanded pool of providers including social workers and therapists. The Shamiri model is one of the most cost-effective youth mental health interventions out there, and our vision is to scale to millions of young people in the coming years.
Tom Osborn; Founder and CEO of Shamiri Institute

Founder's Story: From Anguish to Hope

"Around the world, mental health problems prevent many people, especially young people, from living independent and successful lives. That is our mission at Shamiri, to create a model that is both replicable and scalable around the world.
I can personally attest to the debilitating effects of mental health problems, having grown up in rural Kenya where education was my only path out of poverty. The pressure was immense, and I saw firsthand the toll it took on myself and those around me, even leading to the tragic loss of schoolmates. It was only during my time at Harvard that I realized that I had been struggling with my own mental health problems growing up.
I am so proud that I get to dedicate my life to this cause. We are turning this problem into an opportunity for young people to rethink and reimagine mental health. We hope that the Shamiri model will be replicated around the world to ensure that all young people have access to appropriate mental healthcare."

- Tom Osborn | Founder & CEO

Our Journey: From Idea to Impact

Since 2021, we’ve launched and served >35k youths in Kenya, and are now serving 100k youths per year.
2018
2019
2021
2024
The idea behind Shamiri emerges. We conduct a pilot RCT in Kibera with 51 youths. Pilot RCT published in Behavior Therapy.
We conduct a large-scale RCT with 403 youths in Kenya. RCT published in JAMA Psychiatry. Shamiri Institute (USA) is incorporated.
Shamiri Institute is incorporated and launched in Kenya. We serve 1.5k youths in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scaled capacity to serving >100k youth per year through Shamiri Hubs and Shamiri Partners.
Shamiri means "thrive." We are building a future where young people, everywhere, can thrive.

Let's get In touch

We are excited to hear from you! If you want to partner or have any questions, please reach out to us.