I’d like to introduce you to Adlyn Adam Teoh, the founder of Hias Gourmet. Hias Gourmet is is a social enterprise focused on culinary travel and events in Beijing, China. They seek to share culture through cuisine and provide meaningful food experiences to their clients. Their goal is to build bridges between people over food. Think team building, but delicious and fun.

Hias Gourmet is a company with a conscious and makes regular donations through Jolkona. For example, for every multi-day tour in Sichuan, Hias Gourmet donates a solar stove to a family in China, a project in their own back yard. You can view Hias Gourmet’s social portfolio to see the impact they’ve made to date, here.

Most recently, Hias Gourmet pledged their philanthropic dollars to help launch the Give to Girls campaign. Their contribution helped create the $2,000 fund that women-owned businesses pledged to match and double the impact of the first $2,000 in donations made towards women empowerment projects on Jolkona.

Here is Adlyn’s story on what it means to support this campaign and how important it is to invest in women and girls through Jolkona:

Thank you so much, Adlyn, for being a part of the Give to Girls campaign!

We’re happy to share that the match fund helped jump start the Give to Girls campaign so much that we raised almost $6,000 on the first day that it launched, March 8th, including the match!

Give to Girls is history in the making

There are two things that are impressive about that number:

  1. It shows how much you, our donors, believe in supporting projects that educate, empower, and provide health care for women and girls.
  2. Through the support of our donors, campaign sponsors, and community at large, March 8th and this campaign will go down in Jolkona’s history as the single–highest day of fundraising to date. On behalf of everyone at Jolkona, thank you.

But March isn’t over yet…

At the time I hit “publish” on this post, we have raised just over $8,700 for these projects. Can we get that number to a nice, round $10,000 by the end of March?

Look at the impact to date on the campaign page – how many more girls can we educate in Nepal, China, India, and Afghanistan? How many newborns can we give a great start to life by providing their mothers with access to healthcare in India? How many girls can we help boost their self-esteem in the US?

How much of an impact can we make in the lives of the women of tomorrow by giving to girls today?

We have one week left of this campaign – will you help us blow our goal out of the water?

Editor’s note: International World Water Day is held annually on the 22nd of March to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. What first began as an initiative by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) has turned into a movement and a celebration of what it means to have access to clean, freshwater. To commemorate this day, we are sharing a first-hand experience our team had when they visited one of our freshwater partners in east Africa during the holidays.

Did you know that over 884 million people around the world still use unsafe drinking water and as a result, 3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases? The health and economic impacts of this problem are immense. This is why creating innovative ways for improving access to clean water is so imperative in alleviated poverty globally. While in East Africa visiting some of our projects, we had the opportunity to visit one of our partners in Kenya who have created an innovative way to provide clean, safe drinking water.

Common Ground, located in the village of Kitale, Kenya have developed an innovative cost-effective product to filter water for families, schools, and small clinics to use. Using local materials and labor, the NGO manufactures the water filters and certifies local women as water-health specialists, training each woman about water borne illnesses. They learn and then teach others about the importance of treating water and about the care and maintenance of the filters. Upon certification these specialists meet with women’s groups, churches, and schools to educate their community on the health risks associated with water drawn from lakes, streams, cisterns, and shallow bore holes.

I always love learning about new innovations related to providing access to clean water since it addresses so many pressing issues facing the developing world. I hope to see this simple “technology” and model spread throughout Kenya and other parts of the developing world.

The brilliance about all of this is these filters are made everyday materials—sawdust and clay. The filters are a very simple design but because of the innovation of using sawdust with the ceramic holder, it is able to filter out 99% of harmful water-borne diseases. The sawdust is magical ingredient trapping the harmful particles during the filtration process. The container itself provides an easy to pour dispenser for families and children to share water from safely. As volunteers, we were all proud of our accomplishment that day making 10 filters, however we learned that the regular workers could produce about 28 filters in the same time! We’ve got to work on our production time for next year, for sure!

What I love about this impactful approach:

  • Simple materials (clay & sawdust!) used to make water filters which last around 5 years
  • Reduces potential lethal outcomes from water-borne diseases
  • Offers an economic opportunity for the local women and benefits entire community
  • Creates an effective model for disseminating public health education in a culturally relevant manner.

Through the support of Jolkona and other development organizations, you can fund the transport, packaging, and cost of the filter to vulnerable schools, orphanages, or clinics up to 8 hours away from the manufacturing plant. Each filter serves roughly 8-10 people so for just $100, you can provide 5 water filters serving an entire school, orphanage, or clinic and then find out which school or facility receives those filters. Each filter provides adequate filtration for about 5 years! You can give the gift of clean water by supporting this project: Provide Ceramic Clean Water Filters in Kenya.


  1. UNICEF/WHO. 2008. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation.
  2. World Health Organization. 2008. Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits, and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health.

My heart is pumping.
Adrenaline levels are high.
My life is about to change…with your help.

A few months ago, I noticed Nicholas Kristof’s twitter announcement for the Win-a-Trip 2011 competition where he takes a student with him to Africa on a two week journalism trip. Considering my exciting photography experiences in Dhaka, I decided to give it a shot. With a little bit of heart, a few DSLR photos, and a short (phone) video footage…I made this video.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the 5 student finalists this year! But this is only the beginning. Mr. Kristof has posted our submissions on Facebook with the hopes of the gaining public input to help him decide. If you liked my submission, my previous Jolkona blog posts, and what I stand for, I ask you to go to this Facebook link and “like” and post a meaningful comment. It only takes 10 seconds and can totally change the course of my life!

I’m very impressed by the other finalists this year. You can check out the full article on New York Times.

Follow me on for all the latest updates!

Our prayers go out to the people of Japan right now.  I know it’s so hard to sit back and do nothing while watching the video footage of the destruction caused by the recent Japan Earthquake and Tsunami so we wanted to recommend a couple of options of where to give your money.  As you know, the 8.9 earthquake caused catastrophic damage that was worsened by a deadly tsunami that hit on Friday morning.  Due to the tsunami, the government has already evacuated thousands of residents in a two-mile radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant due to damage in their cooling systems and possible meltdown.  While we at Jolkona would love to help fundraise for Japan right now, unfortunately, Jolkona is not set up to help with relief efforts during natural disasters due to the difficulty in showing one to one impact in such situations. However,  we do try to partner with organizations on the ground to help in the aftermath of disasters.  For example, in Haiti we have a project that currently provides aid during the recovery stage as Haiti continues to rebuild its infrastructure.  We’ll keep you posted if we find any organizations to partner with in the future that will help Japan during the recovery stage of this tragic disaster.

But for now, what Japan needs are our prayers and donations to help provide immediate relief for earthquake and tsunami victims. We recommend the follow organizations who are working on the ground to provide immediate relief assistance and are well equipt to do so, so please make a donation directly to one of the organizations below if you haven’t already donated yet.

  1. Mercycorp is working with long standing partner Peace Winds on the ground to provide emergency assistance to earthquake survivors.  You can make a donation to help with their relief efforts and start your own campaign here.
  2. AmeriCares has teams mobilizing resources to help with Japan disaster relief.  They specialize in providing medical relief and humanitarian assistance to natural disaster victims.  In 1995, AmeriCares helped out with the disaster relief after the Kobe earthquake as well.
  3. Give2Asia has many partners working in Asia and in Japan and has set up a tsunami and flood relief fund that will go directly to those partners on the ground.  They are working with local organizations such as Japanese Emergency NGOs (JEN), Saigai Volunteer Katsudo Shien Project Kaigi, Shanti Volunteer Association, Rescue Stock Yard, and Niigata Saigai (Disaster Volunteer Network).
Photo Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD). It’s a global day dedicated to honoring the economic, political, and social achievements women have made throughout history by celebrating the women in our lives today. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam, and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

This year, Jolkona is partnering with CRAVE and a number of women-owned businesses to launch Give to Girls (Give2Girls), a campaign dedicated to educating, empowering, and providing health for women and girls around the world.

But why are we launching this campaign if women already get one entire day dedicated to them?

Because we want to change the statistics*

  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
  • The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 — already the largest in history — is expected to peak in the next decade.
  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We all have the ability to help make an impact in the lives of women and girls in our own community and around the globe. We all can celebrate International Women’s Day by looking beyond where we’re at today and think about where we want to be tomorrow.

Announcing the Give 2 Girls Campaign

We are committed to improving the lives of women and girls around the world. To jumpstart this investment in their future, we are partnering with CRAVE and a group of women-owned businesses who have created a fund that will match the first gifts made to women’s development projects on Jolkona, dollar for dollar, up to $2,000.

Will you be one of the first donors to join us in investing in the women of tomorrow by giving to the girls of today?

For each donation made, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation as well as the impact for the matched donation. Once exceed the matched donation, let’s keep the momentum going and see how much we can raise for these projects through the end of March.

Special Thank You

This campaign is made possible by the generous support of the following businesses that have combined their dollars to sponsor the matched fund for this campaign. Each one of these companies are owned by women and but their client base is not. We encourage you to check them out!

Gold level: Hias Gourmet
Silver level: Virtually Savvy
Bronze level: Flaunt, Inc.

We would also like to thank the team at CRAVE for partnering with us on this campaign and helping us put International Women’s Day on the map!

Join the movement – you can follow our progress and our total impact on our website, as well as the conversations that are happening on Facebook and on Twitter (via @Jolkona and #Give2Girls).

Other ways to get involved

  • Tonight, we’re kicking off the campaign by celebrating International Women’s Day with CRAVE at PNK Ultra Lounge. If you’re in Seattle, come join us for the fun and stay for the dessert bar (RSVP here!).

*Source: Girl Effect Fact Sheet

As you know, Jolkona was created to allow donors to support causes they care about and then receive feedback on how their donations are used. We exist to help our partner non-profits do more by raising money for them online from donors who demand transparency.

But how do we raise money to support our own operations? While we send 100% of donations made to partner projects and we rely on our donors to support our work by fundraising for our operations through a separate budget, the Kona Fund. One way to do this is during checkout, you can make an optional donation to Jolkona. We also have a separate fundraising strategy that includes traditional donor solicitations, corporate matching initiatives, and grants.

Today, we are excited to announce a new initiative that shows that Jolkona practices what we preach. We want donors to be able to support our work with micro-donations as well that are tied to specific impacts. So if you love what we do and want to support our growth, check out two new projects we’ve added to support our operations for very specific projects and see the type of feedback we can provide.

  1. Add a new project to
  2. Provide Access to PR and Marketing Development for 1 Jolkona staff

And look for new giving opportunities to support Jolkona in the upcoming months. How cool would it be to say that you helped make it possible to add a new project and earn that partner nonprofit more money to do their work?

Photo Credit: krasi

Jolkona’s volunteers are crucial to our success. And each volunteers plays a very specific role in helping us achieve our mission of poverty alleviation through micro-giving. While we could not have come as far as we have without the dedication and passion of each one of our volunteers, this month, I’d like to recognize one specific volunteer who has done so much for Jolkona in just a short time.

Christine Oon started volunteering with Jolkona about a year ago and wanted to get involved in something that would let her utilize her skill of technical writing and content strategy. When Christine started volunteering with Jolkona, we wanted to launch a quarterly newsletter so she stepped up to the plate and volunteered to build it. Since then, Christine has helped write, design, and release 6 of the past 8 issues of our newsletters and special announcements. (Check out the newsletter archives, here). While this may not seem related to poverty alleviation, it truly is. One of Jolkona’s core tasks is to build awareness around our causes and empower people to realize the impact that can be made with small donations.

The newsletter has been instrumental in getting that message out. During the Pakistan Floods last year, Christine wrote and helped design a newsletter that announced our project helping Pakistani flood victims. This newsletter went out to our mailing list of over 2,000 donors and resulted in raising $4,000 in just 2 weeks to help flood victims. This is an example of how Christine’s work has made and continues to make a true impact.

While Christine was one of our locally based volunteers, she recently relocated back to Singapore. We are sad that she is so far away. We will definitely miss her at our team and All-Hands meetings and wish her the best of luck. Though, we are lucky that she will continue to help out and lend her content strategy and wordsmith-genius to our newsletters when she can – making our team truly international. We truly appreciate Christine’s time and dedication to Jolkona and are honored to have her as part of the Jolkona volunteer team.

On a final note, I’d like to thank Christine for generously donating a filing cabinet and computer chair for Jolkona’s new office before her move! YAY our first office furniture donated by a Jolkona volunteer!

Thank you, Christine, for all you’ve done for Jolkona and the impact you’ve made in helping to change the world, one drop at a time…

Photo by Jolkona volunteer, Pavan Potaraju, at Jolkona’s Holiday Party, December 2010.