Amistad Header-About Amistad

About Amistad International

Amistad International serves impoverished people at the request of communities around the world. Our objective is to share our knowledge and resources as they are needed and wanted, understanding many cultures are fragile and even in danger of disappearing completely. Our goal is to be in solidarity with developing communities, helping as we are able yet leaving as small a footprint as possible.

We believe in empowering indigenous cultures by sponsoring literacy classes, education, and promotion of enlightened community leadership. Toward this end, we provide scholarships for worthy students. Our scholars are now pursuing careers in teaching, nutrition, nursing, ministry, agriculture and the trades, having returned to their communities as role models and leaders.

In various countries we enable villages to build water systems, small solar projects, and chicken and livestock businesses. We help families to build small homes and start micro-enterprises. We promote sustainable agriculture, family planning and adult literacy. We help to sponsor many projects around the world. Here are a few of them:

  • Sponsorship of a primary school for Untouchable caste children in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Founder and director, Rajan Kaur.

  • We help to sponsor the Achlal School for impoverished children in the ger (yurt) district of Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator. Achlal School provides a free education for children who have no families, or who live and work in the city dump. We help abandoned women and impoverished families in Mongolia start micro enterprises such as sewing, boot making, and market stalls and we sponsor schools, clothing and food for impoverished children in the Gobi Desert. We support students in higher education, provide medical care, and purchase gers (yurts) and livestock for destitute nomadic families.

  • In Zimbabwe, we sponsor the Murwira Orphanage, founded and directed by volunteer, Paula Leen. The orphanage outreach includes dams, wells, orchards, and gardens for food production. Program services include transportation of the ill and injured to hospitals and clinics, medicines, and clothing donations.

  • Amistad provides assistance for the Lambano Sanctuary, a home for infants and toddlers with HIV+ in Kensington, Johannesburg, South Africa. Founded by Melanie Streicher in 2000.

Our History

Founded by Karen Hanson Kotoske and Thomas E. Kotoske, Amistad Foundation was incorporated in 1980 in California.

Our initial project served the Huichol Indians living in one of Mexico’s poorest regions, the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains. Our first project was to help the flying medical clinic begun in 1953 by pilot William Baxter. In the mid-1980’s, at the request of the Huichol, we began community development projects to improve Huichol health and prosperity. We’ve since helped communities build water systems, school libraries and kitchens, teachers’ offices, a dental clinic, solar light projects, a community center, poultry programs and provide hot meals for students. Student scholarships for higher education and dental clinics began in the 1990’s. Also in the 1990s we began community development among other Mexican indigenous tribes.


Huichol girls studying

In 1996, we began expanding our community development work in more than dozen other countries. In 2001 we changed our name to Amistad International, thus reflecting our expanding global outreach.

Executive Director

Karen Hanson Kotoske

Board of Directors
Thomas E. Kotoske, President
Melanie Reiber Boyd, Treasurer
Martha Rudolph, Secretary
Loren Seibold Ph.D.
Polly Ogden

Advisory Board
Rachel Davies
Kee Flynn
Alan Latta, DDS
Lois Lin
Richard Macias M.D.
Yvonne Macias
Peter Nelson, DDS
Suzanne Nelson R. D. H.
Dagoberto Cirilo Sanchez
Carmen Ajo Seibold R.N. M.Div.
Lauren Smith
Valerie Smith
Douglas Snyder
Vesna Wallace, Ph.D.
Ann Whiting

Financial Accountability
Amistad International is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization operating under IRS code 170b 1A (vi) and is a public charity. We have been incorporated in the state of California since 1980.




Amistad International, PO Box 455, Palo Alto, CA 94302 | Karen Hanson Kotoske, Founder/Executive Director | Email
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