Kissidugu School in Guinea


Check out our what we are bringing to Guinea this year and how you can get involved! CLICK HERE

IMG_0498Building the School of Music, Dance and Education in Guinea, West Africa is the Foundation’s primary initiative. It is a long term vision that begins by providing clean water, health care and a community center. We have just finished the first phase of the Kissidugu School vision, which consists of our first three buildings; including the community center! It is now available and used by the Koukoude community. Our pharmacy is slated to open this winter and we are so excited to have begun phase two.  These phase includes the teacher residence/international student housing as well as bringing more clean water filters, solar lights, “hippo-rollers” and medicine to the people of Guinea. Little by little, together we can make a difference.


The popularity of West African music and its influence on the western world has offered many African musicians and dancers an amazing opportunity to move and teach abroad. Unfortunately, this has created a situation where many of Guinea’s finest teachers leave Guinea permanently, taking with them the history, roots, and foundations of this important part of their culture. The school will provide education opportunities, sustainable employment and access to information and resources that would otherwise be unavailable. Not only will the school scholarship Guinean Youth but, will also host international students for intensive study and cross-cultural exchange.

The vision of this school is to create a place where master drummersIMG_0420 and
dancers can support their families without having to leave Guinea, keeping
the knowledge of the traditional music and dance alive and thriving for generations to come. The school will provide the opportunity for work, the chance to study, and a space for local educators to teach. It is our hope the school will provide a consistent way for international students to travel to, experience, and study the rich culture of West Africa.  Most importantly, the school can provide scholarships and education opportunities to Guinea youth ages 14-19.  We hope to open the doors to the youth of Guinea for yearly enrollment in 2020. (high school in United States, College in French system) Until that time the Kissidugu School will host international students yearly to study the rich culture, music and dance. Currently Fara Tolno takes students to Guinea for the month of January each year for intensive studies in drumming, dance, balafone and kora. The trip of 2016, five students were able to stay on the Kissidugu land in the first two buildings! Our goal is to be able to offer this international study in conjunction with US Universities as a “for credit” program.

We have just completed the community center space and it is now being utilized to host community workshops on health care, sustainable living and smart environmental development practices as well as serve as a rehearsal space for local music/dance groups.   Additionally classes and study can now be offered on a community level for the youth of all ages of the village. We have started small gardens and our health pharmacy will opens it’s doors this year.

The school will be a source for education, language studies, arts, music, and dance. It will be a place to raise cultural awareness, initiate dialogue, and focus on African heritage and history and exchange ideas cross-culturally. Currently any long-term schools or opportunities like this do not exist in Guinea.

The Impact

The impact of the School in Guinea is huge. IMG_0508Eventually crops will be grown on site providing food and nourishment for the attendees as well as providing opportunities for surrounding villagers. In addition, the youth of Guinea have begun to lose the knowledge of their traditional music and dance. The school will serve as a living library of these traditions, giving the opportunity for Guinean Artists to pass down this ancestral knowledge. Not only will the School give Artists and Educators a place to teach, reside, and support their families, but will be a long term source of livelihood and valuable education for the youth and surrounding communities.

The School has four major focuses: Food & Agriculture, Technology, Language, and Traditional Dance, Music and History. The school will start small with five resident teachers and 20 sponsored students from Guinea each year. In addition there will be an outreach program that trains educators and teachers from Guinea, so that they can take the skills and information learned and share it with their villages and towns. In this way we create a ripple effect that can spread to other communities, reaching beyond our faculty and student body. The School will be sustained by the annual tuition received from international students and on-going agricultural endeavors.


In 2014 land was acquired in the village of Koukoude in Bel-Air county, and construction of the first building commenced. The project was endorsed and embraced by the community. The initial phase of the Kissidugu vision is built on four pillars: WATER, FOOD, HEALTH CARE & CULTURE.

Over the course 0f 2015 funds were being raised and little at a time building was in progress.  In the beginning of  2016, Kissidugu Foundation’s President Gabriel Fara Tolno and Vice President Michal Anna Carrillo along with volunteers/students; Bradley, Mary, Laine and Shelley spent 6 weeks in Guinea, West Africa, and were happy to report back that it was a successful journey!  Kissidugu Foundation was able to distribute SIXTY Luminaid & Berkey solar lights and THIRTY Waves for Water filters to families, build four Berkey water systems for use at the Kissidugu School, and we brought multiple huge bags of natural medicine, supplies for dressing wounds and items for give away; New Balance shoes, organic seeds and much more!  The Health and Tech buildings on property were completed, a tower was built for the water storage tank and the community center/dance space was finished while on site!  Gardening, and fruit tree planting were completed along with a chicken coop built out of recycled materials. Infrastructure for the kitchen/rooms and sanitization/trash systems were also set into place.
The Kissidugu Foundation is honored to be creating a campus that will provide needed basic resources, a community center, and eventually high level education to serve the Bel Air community and village of Koukoude in Guinea, West Africa.
We hope you will continue to follow our progress and get involved by donating time or funds as we move into phase two of the Kissidugu School vision.

If you would like to see our full proposal including timelines, executive summary and budgets, please email us at

We are returning to Guinea in January 2017 and will be taking more medicine, water filters, solar lights and working diligently on the phase two; which includes a kitchen/dining area, teacher/student housing area, water catchment, solar system  and school instruments for teaching the community and international students.  Please consider donating today, a little goes a long way!!! (all donations are tax-deductible)


Check out our GUINEA PROJECT PHOTO GALLERY and see how we are moving along…



cleanwater-900SEVENTEEN FILTERS TAKEN IN 2014.



How many will we take in 2017???

You can make a direct donation to Kissidugu Foundation and specify: water filters in note field.  OR you can go to our WATER CAMPAIGN SITE:


ALSO…view the Generosity Fundraising Campaign here for clean water, medicine, first-aid, solar technologies, and educational resources for the village of Koukoude on our trip in 2017!


Make an end of year tax-deductible donation and give the gift of “more access to water, CLEAN filtered water and light for a family.”  This donation package is $250 and includes:


To donate this package click here:



Experience first hand Guinea, West Africa with Fara Tolno, and by doing so, support the Kissidugu Vision.  Next trip is January, 2017.

Learn more about Fara’s upcoming trip to Guinea

BROCHUREFRONTrightfold (2)-page-001KISSIDUGU BROCHURE INSIDE (3)-page-001

Ways You Can Help

Please know that a little goes a long way! Your five dollars WILL make a difference.

MAKE A DIRECT DONATION TODAY!!  All monies go directly to Guinea and the completion of Phase One.

You can also give in kind donations such as medicine/first aid, clothing, flashlights (solar/shakelights) and headlamps for the upcoming trip to Guinea.

AND your skills and knowledge are valuable, if you would like to volunteer for the project, join us in Guinea, or help the Foundation in anyway, please let us know.

Contact for questions or more information about the school

That is what your generous support will help create, a safe place; a school where youth of Guinea are being fed and educated in a sustainable and supportive environment.

Donations are appreciated and can be sent to:

Kissidugu School
P.O. Box 20894
Boulder, CO 80308

or donate online:



How We Got Here:

March 2014


August 2013