$5 Friday Fundraisers on Facebook began back in July 2015 when we decided to start 100 Humanitarians International. We were able to fundraise for 25 desks for Tenkes School, and later we added a new kitchen to cook for 300 kids daily, because their mud kitchen had fallen down in a rainstorm. After that, we would just sporadically run a $5 Friday Fundraiser, until Facebook created the capability for us to do it on their platform. Game-changer! Suddenly we could reach more people, and since we are a non-profit, 100% of the fees were waived, therefore 100% of donations could go towards a project. Brilliant!
Our first Facebook $5 Friday Fundraiser was in July of 2018. We decided we wanted to raise the money to build 100 Garden Towers in Kenya for Families on our expeditions. The goal was $1000. Thanks to generous donations, we were able to fundraise $1300, allowing us to start a vegetable seedling garden to use for the garden towers. We will begin with 20 families on our Fall expedition! We got the idea last June from Jacob, our community director for Nkareta, and were able to build 8 garden towers. four were at a school in Nkareta, and then we planted two garden towers for two families that we have worked with over the past year.
We have also built raised garden beds with families, but have found these to be easier, more portable, and more cost effective. We can pile up the jeeps with bags and take them to multiple locations easily! We are really grateful for the ability to get more done and help more families with this innovation.
Our August $5 Friday Fundraiser was also unbelievably successful, and we were able to finish our commitment to provide 1000 reusable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls in Kenya. They were distributed to three schools in Nairobi, Nkareta, and Bomet, as well as women in the slums who were in the Kenyan news about not having access to sanitary pads.
We were able to raise $3000 in August for the Zariel Days for Girls Enterprise and Christine took kits to the street women featured in this news segment. On each expedition, our team takes kits to schools and rescue centers, providing 3 years of dignity for women and girls who don’t have access to the sanitary pads. Our commitment is 1000 kits per year, and ALL of the kits are made by the Zariel or Bomet Days for Girls Enterprises in Kenya, so that we keep the economy there, and also help families with self-reliance and economic development.
The Enterprises that we support, employ families to sew and distribute the kits, which allows those families to pay for food and school fees for their children. Along with the 25 children we support in school directly in Kenya, at least 12 additional students are supported in school because we fundraise here for the reusable femining hygiene kits, and allow the families in Kenya to make them. It keeps our focus on economic development and self-reliance in families.
Our goal for 2019 will be 1000 kits (or more) as well, so watch for that $5 Friday Fundraiser!
Our September $5 Friday Fundraiser was in partnership with HopeSaC International, which is run by Cindy Miller. Our goal was to raise the funds to take 20 HopeSaCs to Kenya on our Fall expedition to teach families how to cook with thermal cooking. We were able to reach our goal! We will also be working with the sewing centers in Kenya to teach them how to make and sell the HopeSaCs, saving time and fuel costs, and providing hot meals without spending hours cooking over a fire.
And finally, our October/November $5 Friday Fundraiser is for School Fees for 25 kids in Kenya. These kids come from families we are working with, and range in age from Kindergarten to Vincent, who is graduating this year after 3 years in our Youth Education Program. We met Vincent when he was a Sophomore, and have had the chance to support him in school and watch his family really thrive from it. Mercy, his mother who is in this video, was a recipient of our Business Box for Families, and now has a vegetable stand where she sells vegetables. We have had the opportunity to visit her twice this year, and her smile says it all. She is very happy.
If you would like to help contribute to the $5 Friday Fundraiser to raise the $6000 needed for school fees in 2019, click here!
Okay, I know that kind of sounds MLK-esque, which isn’t by design … it’s just the fact. I did, indeed, have a dream. At the beginning of the dream, I found myself in my parents’ house, but it wasn’t *really* their house, you know? I mean, I intuitively knew it was supposed to be their house, but it wasn’t any house that I had ever been in. In this house, there were some pretty well-vaulted ceilings–very, very high. My mom was … I dunno. Floating? Hanging? She was suspended in the air well above the floor, and she was doing something really important. I couldn’t tell if she was spackling, painting, or what it was she was doing, but it was clear that she was super-focused on whatever it was she was doing.
All of a sudden, I was standing in a mall, watching all these different backgrounds of people walk around.There were kids; there were adults. There were tall and short people. There were people from all kinds of backgrounds and nationalities. They all seemed genuinely happy, but they were just wandering around aimlessly because none of the shops were selling anything. They were all open and displaying merchandise, but there wasn’t a single sales person to help you get what you needed.
As I wandered around the mall, I found a set of stairs that looked like the descended into a basement. Out of curiosity, I wandered down these stairs and stumbled across a room full of people who looked hurt and angry. I have no idea why they were burdened such, but I felt like their troubles became my troubles. I *wanted* them to be happy! I NEEDED them to be happy! In my dream, I found myself becoming incredibly anxious and scared for them. And then I woke myself up …
I literally woke up my wife from semi-screaming this.
And that was my night. I woke up at 1:30 in the morning, and I could not go back to sleep. I was relieved to learn that that entire basement full of sad people weren’t real. I was kind of startled by my solution to their moribund melancholy, yet I wasn’t.
See, Kenya is just that kind of place. You really can’t be unhappy while you’re over there. Not truly, anyway. Even if you’re in the deepest throes of despair before going over, the service you perform and the service you receive (and indeed, you will know what I mean when you come on an expedition) leave you without choice BUT to be happy. You interact with a whole new culture. You gain a perspective on life that is simply impossible to achieve over here. You witness first-hand how our projects and work transform not only the lives of those who are within our focus, but (and, arguably, more importantly) you witness a transformation within yourself.
There is a peace in Kenya that simply cannot be replicated here. There is joy in service. I hope you’ll all accept our invitation to come on an expedition and see what changes take place in your life and the lives of those you serve.
Suddenly, I looked over and Brittany was kissing a giraffe. Or, more accurately, a giraffe was kissing her. My first reaction was, “Gross!” and that was pretty much my second and third reaction, but after so many expeditions and trips to the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, I’m pretty used to seeing it now. I still have NOT kissed a giraffe, but never say never.
Going to the Giraffe Centre is often one of the things we do at the end of the trip, but it is a fun way to start off an expedition. We typically have a lazy breakfast at the hotel after flying into Nairobi the night before. Then we load up the jeeps with all of our luggage, and head over. We eat lunch there, and that is typically hamburgers or cheeseburgers, samosas, and sodas. My goal in life is to get them to start serving chips (french fries) to go with the burgers.
Our first expedition to Kenya in May 2016 that was led by 100 Humanitarians was so much fun, and so hilarious. The first day, Brittany and my daughter and I hung out with Christine, Moses and David while we waited for the rest of the team to fly in that night. We also visited the Kazuri Bead Factory, which is my favorite place in Nairobi. We always take a tour and meet the women who make the beads by hand out of clay from Mount Kenya. Then we do a bit of shopping!
They also make dishes at Kazuri Bead Factory, and each year I collect a mug for pens in my office in a different style. We were able to watch the men make the dishes on a pottery wheel (watch in the video posted above) and then see the painting take place. It’s fascinating to watch!
It really is always a huge relief when the team gets off the plane and all have arrived safely. We don’t take safety for granted! Every expedition is completely different, with unique experiences and team dynamics. And each team gets better and better. This team, however, was the first, and will always have a special place in my heart, because they took a chance on us, got on a plane, and flew across the world to serve. Many of our ideas that we have implemented since, came because of what this team brought to Kenya with their hearts and vision.