Founder and President
Sayydah was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She has a lifelong passion for helping others.
Sayydah Garrett was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Since childhood she has seen her parents (Ukrainian mother and African-American father) set the good example of helping less fortunate people in their community. This instilled the lifelong passion Sayydah has for helping others, whether it’s watching over elderly neighbors in her town, contributing to her favorite charities or doing community service. Her personal mission statement is, “Tell me what you want and I’ll help you get it.”
While on safari in Kenya in August, 2012 Sayydah visited Namayiana Village in Samburu County and learned about harmful centuries-old practices from a Samburu warrior (PCF’s Co-founder) who is fighting for girls’ rights to education. Sayydah promised to help and Pastoralist Child Foundation was founded on the very day of her visit to the village.
Sayydah is fluent in English, French and Russian, and speaks conversational Spanish. Sayydah enjoys learning languages and meeting people from all over the world, especially when they share food with her! She has traveled to 25 countries and has friends around the world.
Sayydah is a certified ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor and Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructor. She also teaches French at a local adult night school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Russian Language & Literature from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Sayydah lives in New Jersey with her husband, GRAMMY award winning saxophonist and composer, Kenny Garrett.
Samuel Siriria Leadismo
Founder and Director
Samuel is a pastoralist from Samburu County, Kenya. His family is from the Black Cattle clan and he’s designated as a “Samburu Warrior.”
“I’m a pastoralist from the Samburu tribe, Black Cattle clan in Samburu, Kenya. The Samburu tribe is nomadic – moving from one place to another with their livestock searching for greener pastures.
When I was 25 years old my mother developed throat cancer. I cared for her during the last year of her life. During this period we shared many things. She told me about growing up poor, of herding goats as a child, and an early marriage. I knew her to be a deeply caring person and a strong, positive presence for not only her own children, but for all the children in the village, boys and girls. I learned from our conversations how much she wished she could have gone to school and to pursue a path of education so that she could have done more with her life and for others. During her last year, she shared her dream with me. She asked me to guide my younger sisters, to educate them, and to fight for the rights of all girls to enjoy the opportunities and life she didn’t have.
It is not easy for a warrior to learn this lesson and fight for the rights of girls. I am proud of myself, our community, and of the work we are able to do through The Pastoralist Child Foundation.
I’m a role model, advisor, and counselor in our villages, always encouraging my fellow youth to continue their education. I advocate against child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) by actively promoting childhood and adult education in my community. I attained a higher Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Zetech University. I’m the proud dad of 2 daughters who will not undergo FGM. My favorite thing about being a father is that I can work hard every day to leave this world a better place for my daughters and my community. Being a dad softens my heart, and makes me instantly more accountable and responsible to the world around me.
My dad is a polygamist and lived far from us, so it was my mother who influenced my life the most through kindness, compassion, integrity, calmness even in the face of extreme challenges, passion for life, humor, and unconditional love. During my mother’s last year, she asked me to guide and educate my younger sisters, and to fight for the rights of all girls to enjoy the opportunities she didn’t have. I’m honored to fulfill my mother’s wishes through the work I do at Pastoralist Child Foundation.
Halima Garrett has a caring heart for children and enjoys watching them thrive. Volunteering with PCF gives her the opportunity to help girls achieve their goals and become empowered to attain better life outcomes. Halima holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Maryland (College Park). She holds a passion for nutrition and health education, resulting in greater awareness of the advantages of healthy eating. Halima worked as the Food u0026amp; Nutrition Data Specialist at Weight Watchers International in New York City. She enjoys listening to music, sewing, thrift shop bargains, and creating recipes for delicious healthy smoothies. Halima owns Threads of Habit, a vintage clothing store.
Nan Josephson, Ph.D.
Board of Directors
Nan Josephson, Ph.D., is a working artist, teacher, and writer. After working as a graphic designer for Rolls Royce and her own agency, she went back to college to get her degrees in teaching. She has taught K-12 art and language arts in New York City public schools, ceramics at the State University of New York and education through Harvard University’s World Teach program, and has published numerous articles on the arts in international magazines. She has twenty years experience as the CEO of mid-size nonprofits in Vermont, New Jersey, New York and Africa. Her current passions are polymer clay, jewelry and metals, ceramics, playing the piano and pipe organ, illustration, and crochet.
Lisa La Valle-Finan
Board of Directors
Lisa La Valle-Finan is a trusted intercultural expert and expat adviser with over 20 years of international work-life experience. She designs curriculum and delivers workshops for Fortune 500 executives, their families in global transition, expatriates stateside and abroad, and global mobility service providers. Lisa nurtures talent to succeed in the global workplace by increasing value proposition, visibility and cultural dexterity. With a sixth sense for cultural insights to make the foreign feel more familiar, she’s studied, lived, and worked in Europe and has a background in cultural anthropology.
Board of Directors
Kate Patrick is a graduate of Rutgers University, NJ majoring in Political Science and Psychology. Her Wall Street career included working on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange with institutional traders and investors. Kate is a state certified domestic violence crisis intervention counselor and has committed her time to this effort on a volunteer basis for 20 years. She has been active in fundraising for several nonprofit causes, including the Glen Ridge Public Library. While launching a new charity to aid residents in need, Kate learned about PCF and reached out to learn more and help. Kate and her husband, the mayor of Glen Ridge, NJ moved to town 20 years ago. She enjoys computers, swimming, and reading.
Community Mobilizer & FGM Workshop Facilitator
Elizabeth Lemoyog is a pastoralist, a member of the Samburu tribe, and lives in the city of Archer’s Post in Samburu County. She graduated from high school and is married. She has a passion for helping the pastoralist community. Elizabeth teaches about harmful cultural practices. While loving and respecting her culture, Elizabeth is keen to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
Elizabeth teaches that FGM is actually not inherently part of the local culture. It is believed to have originated in Egypt, dating back to the time of the Pharoahs and their women slaves. The Samburu and Maasai tribes adopted FGM and the belief that FGM is honorable, cleansing, and forms part of the graduation from childhood to adulthood and is needed in order to be eligible for marriage. Elizabeth is a strong advocate for girls’ education. She has 3 daughters who won’t undergo FGM and will get a good education. Elizabeth emphasizes that the girl-child is valued by the community.