Designing a Website for an African Nonprofit School

Finding myself disabled after hip surgery that became infected back in 2008, I found I could not function like I used to when it came to making a living.

I was a painting contractor and ran a photography business.

I decided to go back school and receive an Associate of Arts Degree in Graphic Design at Scottsdale Community Collage in Arizona in the USA.

Asking God to help me go to school and to receive government funding for me to do so to make it possible.

I also asked God to use my newfound profession as a graphic designer to work helping to grow His kingdom and to helping other Christian communities such as nonprofits.

School took me three years to graduate instead of the usual two because I took other classes besides those, I needed for my degree such as creative writing and website design that were unrelated.

In my second year of school, I started laying out and designing a prison newsletter called Inside Out for Central Christian Church in Mesa, using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.

We published 21 issues in all.

I worked with a staff of four people to produce this eight-page newsletter and I even wrote a few articles myself.

John Tarr, Website Designer

Lydia Vortega, School Director

Over the last decade I have been freelancing my graphic art and website design skills but have wanted more.

I joined a networking group to promote my business at different cities in the USA and the UK and offered to do pro-bono work to do website and graphic art for nonprofits.

That is where Jackie Ambrow came into my life through Happy Business Networking and LinkedIn.

She told me about Lydia Votega of Happy Gardens Community School and their need for a website to be used to tell the world about what they do and collect donations of a very worthy cause of teaching children in the African city of Nairobi, Kenya.

I jumped at the chance!

I have never designed a website for an organization outside of the United States before.

A few hurdles needed to be overcome because of the great distance between my home in Arizona and Lydia’s home in Kenya but modern technology has made it possible.

We use Google Meets to connect face-to-face once a week on Monday mornings for me and evening for her.

It has a caption or CC so I can read what is being said. Lydia’s time zone is ten hours ahead of me, that must be taken into account.

She does not have a computer, so we communicate via her cell phone and email through that mobile device.

She uses her cell phone to take photographs, video’s and types out emails on it with all the information to build the website as well as communicating with each other.

Four, five and six year old children milling around before class at Happy Gardens Community School.

Her cell phone is her computer.

She uses it to take photographs, video’s, and then sends them to me via email and then hooks up with me on Google Meets halfway around the world.

Modern technology in this small device is amazing!

I purchased their domain name,, at Godaddy and then hosted it on my hosting account at Siteground Hosting using WordPress.

Designing websites, you learn so much about people and what they do, and now I am going worldwide to the other side of this little blue dot in our universe called earth.

I feel honored to be a part of this organization and using my God given skills in this way!

God is good!

Go here to view Happy Gardens Community School Website


Designing a Website for an African Nonprofit School

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