Our story

We founded Shamiri Institute to develop and implement scalable solutions that allow young people to thrive and actualize their life potential. 

Mental health issues are a global epidemic. Care is inadequate due to structural and systemic barriers, societal stigma, and the inaccessibility of treatments that are often also culturally inappropriate. 

Young people—especially those in low - resource regions like Kenya— suffer the most. 

At Shamiri, we combine rigorous social science research with deep contextual knowledge of the educational and mental healthcare systems of the communities that we work in to develop and deploy at scale effective and holistic interventions that allow young people, and communities, to thrive.

learn about our VALUES
the face of Benny Otieno our Tech Associate
Stephen Odhiambo Shamirian

Shamiri means "thrive". We are building a future where everyone thrives

Youth mental health problems are a significant global public health challenge. In lower - resource regions across Africa, as many as 1 in 2 youths struggle with mental health problems.
Structural barriers such as a lack of mental health experts, the cost and length of traditional treatments (which are also often not culturally - relevant), and societal stigma prevent young people from seeking help.
As such, young people cannot thrive. They struggle with (sometimes lifetime) medical, educational, economic, legal, and interpersonal problems.
Learn about our model
We have developed cost-effective mental health interventions (such as our Shamiri intervention) that not only improve youth mental health but also social and interpersonal relationships, and academic grades.
We have built a scalable for-youth and by-youth caregiving model that embeds care at the community - level and allows youth lay-providers to work alongside mental health experts.
We are scaling this mental health infrastructure to 1 million youths by 2027.
Learn about our model

A small idea can shape the future

Shamiri was founded in 2018 by Kenyan entrepreneur Tom Osborn and rising global mental health researcher Katherine Venturo-Conerly at Harvard University. Tom — who grew up in low-income rural Kenya — experienced firsthand the challenges that young people in Kenya face as they seek to self-actualize. Katherine dreamed of making mental health interventions accessible for all. Together they launched Shamiri in three schools in Nairobi’s Kibera slums.

Our approach combines a commitment to rigorous social research and a grassroots approach that honors and amplifies the communities that we work with. Since our founding, we’ve delivered mental health to >11,500 students. Gold-standard field trials have shown that our model works and is cost-effective. The science that informs our work has been published in >25 peer - reviewed journals. 

meet Our team
tom osborn ndetei shamiri istitute happy