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The definition of ‘Upaya’ is any endeavor or practice that is used to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve a goal. Upaya Social Ventures, the Seattle-based non-profit, exemplifies this mission of determination and due diligence.

In a nutshell, they work to build businesses and improve the quality of life for families. Upaya focuses on helping the ultra poor – the World Bank defines the ultra poor as a family unit living on $1.25/day or less. Extreme poverty is marked by the lack of even the most basic, essential necessities to live.

From now through December 31st, a tremendous matching campaign is going on for Upaya’s Jolkona hosted campaigns. Any and all donations made to either of the two projects will be matched on every dollar (up to the first $10,000) by the Skees Family Foundation. It is a wonderful opportunity to double your impact with a few dollars.

Jolkona Partnership and Projects

Steve Schwartz, Upaya’s Director of Strategy & Operations and Co-founder, has been closely linked with Jolkona since the latter organization began in 2007. His friendships with Jolkona founders Nadia and Adnan blossomed into a non-profit alliance following Upaya’s start in 2011. The two organizations have collaborated in making several Upaya projects available through Jolkona’s platform.

You can help Delhi’s poorest earn a dignified living by making a gift of $250. The meaningful, long-term impact such an amount can make on a family is incredible. The gift will help create a stable and dignified job for someone; this is will greatly increase their family’s income, food supply, and overall quality of life.

Upaya has also teamed up with a startup in Bihar; the startup trains silk weavers in the community to improve their skills, resources, equipment and more. Once again, with a one-time gift of $250 one new job will be created and maintained. Create Stable Jobs for Silk Weavers in Bihar and change the lives of a family for the better, forever.

A Gift of Life and Prosperity

Every person deserves the dignity of a job to call their own to provide for their family’s needs. Upaya is devoted to empowering individuals with skills and stability, thereby influencing their friends, families and communities for the better.

This holiday season, every dollar counts twice. The matching campaign makes it an ideal time to give. These are solvable problems with dedicated means to solve them. Consider giving the gift of impact by supporting one of Upaya’s projects. Doing so will voice your love and support for their mission, Jolkona’s, philanthropy’s and – most importantly – for the hope and happiness you will impart to others.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

 

We are happy to announce that we are one of the contestants in Tray Creative’s 2012 Vote for Good Contest. Jolkona, as well as other local Seattle-based nonprofits that have collaborated with Tray over the last several years, are eligible for votes.

The holidays are an ideal season to invest your time, energy and contributions in worthwhile endeavors. We have worked hard this past year to achieve good – please place a vote for our good to help our chances at being awarded a $1,000 donation.

What Tray Creative Does

Tray Creative is a dynamic organization based in Seattle that clarifies, strengthens and empowers the messaging and branding of other companies. They utilize their diverse professional skill sets to aid the mission of both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

We are honored to be a part of their holiday charitable campaign this year. Tray Creative’s pro-active participation in philanthropic activities is something we affirm and admire.

How to Vote

All it takes is a couple clicks of the mouse and your vote for Jolkona will be cast. Visit the voting page on Facebook and ‘like’ Tray Creative to access the voting platform. Just click “Vote” for Jolkona – and feel free to share the link or spread the word about the contest via your Facebook profile or Twitter.

Support Jolkona’s Mission

We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible support from people in our community. This $1,000 end of the year donation would be a wonderful capstone to a great, productive year here. The contest runs through December 31st – please, take just a moment to cast your vote and tell a friend. You will be facilitating the success of future projects and partnerships.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

 

In September, two incredibly generous and loving people came together to celebrate their union and marriage! Sarah Whittemore and Phil Dao planned a beautiful wedding in Marion, MA at the Kittansett Club without missing a single detail. To thank all their attendees and celebrate their shared passion in giving back to the community, they creatively thought “What if the wedding favor is a charitable donation?” This beautiful idea transpired into a small donation card that enabled guests to make a choice from three charitable projects featured on the Jolkona platform. Jolkona makes it easy to give directly to low-cost, high-impact philanthropic opportunities around the world. Sarah and Phil have been generous supporters of Jolkona over the last several years. And to make their donations even more impactful, Sarah works at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that generously matches employee donations $3 for every $1 donated.

The selected Jolkona projects Sarah and Phil selected for their wedding favors focused on education and providing support to people in Vietnam, where Phil is originally from:

Barakat
Work to increase female literacy rates in Afghanistan, which are currently only 14%. Mothers can bring infants to classes to make learning more convenient.

Kenyan Education Fund
Helping children break the cycle of poverty, KEF provides financial assistance and support so students can attend secondary school.

Upcoming project: PeaceTrees Vietnam – Trieu Trung Library

Funding books, newspapers and magazines for the future library that provide a meeting and training place for the village level Women’s Union in Vietnam.

This generous wedding favor idea is a great example of two people showcasing their love and generosity on many levels. Philanthropy and marriage, what a beautiful couple!

The three of us who make up the writing and editing team, and many if not all of us at Jolkona, were brought into the world safely without any major set backs.

However, this is not the case for many women and children across the globe. One of our partners is hosting a project which assists those who face problems within the labor process in Palestine, and in honor of them and our 10 Days of Giving, the writing and editing team would like to highlight and support their cause.

The Scoop

Because of recent conflict that still continues today, the Israeli military has placed heavy restrictions on free movement. Due to several road closures in the West Bank, women in labor have been having difficulty traveling to hospitals safely. The United Nations estimates that around 2500 women face fatal or life-threatening complications while en route to receive assistance with labor. Consequently, the number of women who give birth without any proper medical attention has increased at the same time.

What We’re Doing About It

The writing and editing team here at Jolkona has created a campaign to help mothers and their children, while reducing these numbers. Lucky enough to have experienced safe births, the team is ready to help other mothers undergo healthy, successful deliveries while ensuring their children’s safety in the process.

The goal for the campaign is to raise $300 and provide six mothers and their children with these safe birth kits in an effort to support them in this difficult time.

Check out the video explaining what the campaign is all about:

How You Can Help

Support Safe Births in Palestine: Our partner, MADRE, has created a project to assist these women and children. Donations to the campaign start at $5, however, with your gift of just $50 you can provide a complete safe birth kit to a mother and child. As proof of who your donation has been helping, you will receive the mother and child’s name, as well.

MADRE, a partner of ours since 2009, is an international women’s human rights organization that works with community-based women’s organizations worldwide. Since the organization began in 1983, it has provided women in various countries around the globe with more than $25 million.

Support the Cause

Women and children in Palestine are in great need of our help with facilitating easier labor and deliveries. We invite you to join MADRE and us at Jolkona, with special help from the blogging and editing team, in supporting women and children in Palestine through our new campaign. Just in time for our 10 Days of Giving, a donation to the campaign is a great way to give back to the global community this holiday season.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Make a difference while showing you care this season with a Jolkona gift card.

With our gift cards, you will provide the recipient with a chance to give back to any one of their favorite Jolkona projects.

This season, we have rolled out new holiday gift card designs, and with a style to suit any personality, you can’t go wrong.

Give a friend, loved one or family member a gift that will bring smiles to more than just one face. It’s just the right gift for someone who has it all!

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

We are so excited to usher in this festive time of year with our very own giving campaign. Jolkona’s tireless volunteers and members have teamed up to present and advocate for projects important to them. This is, after all, the season of giving – and we believe genuine generosity is contagious. The holidays are special times for family and community, for gathering and storytelling, for being thankful and giving back. The spirit of giving is a malleable form that can manifest in many ways. We would like to share our spiritedness with you.

Launching our Gifts

Jolkona volunteers have been crafting videos dedicated to their chosen projects. Each day, beginning today, we will ‘unwrap’ a gift by unveiling a new video. The projects are meaningful and unique, one and all, which is why we want to let each one speak for itself on a given day. Visit the Campaign page here.

Our non-profit partners span focuses from healthcare to education to the environment. This campaign will give you an excellent opportunity to be exposed to different projects and choose one that really resonates with you. We are excited to have so many passionate team members on the Jolkona team to speak on behalf of these projects.

Take a look at the video below for our first gift of the season. It is all about our partner Calcutta Kids, an organization working hard in India to combat child mortality from diarrhea. Show your support for their ongoing health efforts by making a gift of $10.

A Gift of Impact

In addition to our 10 Days of Giving Campaign, we have a convenient gift option available for individuals looking to offer something different to a friend or family member. Our holiday e-gift cards can be easily purchased through the Jolkona platform; these can then be applied to a project of the donor’s choosing. Your gift to them will be a gift back to a community in need. It is a flexible and useful way to positively involve yourself in the lives of others. The gift of impact is a treasure.

Join the Jolkona family with your Support

People’s social support systems – family, friends, significant others, co-workers – play a vital role in celebrating the holidays. It is important to not lose sight of this love when considering the less fortunate. The spirit of giving is about philanthropy, yes – but it really comes alive through love and compassion.

We encourage you to commemorate this holiday season by getting involved in our 10 Days of Giving Campaign. Give to a particular project. Purchase an e-gift card to give to someone in your life. Spread the word about Jolkona’s projects through conversation and social media. Become a person of giving during this busy time of year. One individual’s impact is greatly amplified in the esteemed company of fellow givers.  

How will you give impact this holiday season?

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Blackbuad, a software supplier that frequently works with nonprofits, recently conducted a Donor Perspective survey in an attempt to find out more about how donors are giving to various nonprofits and philanthropic causes.

The study found a few major issues donors are having with the giving process–and we’re working to solve them.

The Scoop

In the study, a total of about 4,000 individuals from the US, the UK and Australia answered questions related to their giving habits.

According to the results, the second most reported reason donors stopped giving, right behind a change in their personal finances, was that they didn’t fully know or understand exactly where their money was going.

One of the other more staggering results of the survey was the reported difference in giving between those above the age of 35 and those below it. The study found that people between the ages of 18 and 24 gave about $463 in the last 12 months, while people ages 25-35 gave $800 on average. The 35-44 age group gave at an average of about $1,390 in the past year.

What We’re Doing to Help

According to Blackbaud, “[by] tracking the impact of contributions and communication that impact back to donors, nonprofits can increase the number of regular donors and ensure they are not losing the regular donors they have.”

Here at Jolkona, we hope to do just that for donors by providing them with proof of what their donation has done, while attempting to appeal to people under the age of 30 by making mobile donations easy at the same time.

By following up with donors after they give to any of our projects, we are proud to provide a name, photograph or more about the person or people their gift has impacted. In doing so, we aim to provide donors with not only complete transparency, but with the confidence that their gift has truly made a great impact, as well.

Moreover, we hope that our mobile site and project pages will work to make giving easier for a younger generation who is always on the go–with a cell phone in tote. By making mobile donation easy to complete, we hope to appeal to all donors and their specific giving needs.

We Owe it to You

Our strides to make giving easier would mean nothing if we didn’t have our wonderful donors’ support. We would like to say a big thank you to all of those who have helped us and our projects out, and will continue to work to make your giving process even easier.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

In preparation for our annual Corks & Forks fundraising event, our team envisioned an amazing event with all fundraising elements- silent auction, live auction and program to highlight and illustrate all of the wonderful work Jolkona does. As the planning continued, we knew the elements of the evening’s program had to include a media piece about Jolkona. For the guests who were familiar with our organization and for the guests who were getting to know us, we needed a video to encompass all parts of Jolkona.

Enter Lucas Gregor, new Jolkona intern, fresh out of college and willing to take the lead on writing, shooting and editing Jolkona’s first impact video. For weeks, he dedicated his time to shooting in various locations from the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture park to Cal Anderson park on Capitol Hill to the Jolkona office downtown. With every part of the video from scouting locations, to bringing confidence and empathy to the video participants to editing, Lucas displayed passion and ease. The video encompasses testimonies from Jolkona partners, donors, volunteers and a board member to highlight what giving is all about. Here is Lucas’ brilliant work and final video:

In addition to giving over a hundred hours in creating the Jolkona impact video, Lucas is always available to help with other volunteer needs. In the month of October, Lucas volunteered at the Corks & Forks event, manipulating the media for the evening’s program. He also was a stellar bar tender at Jolkona’s Microsoft Giving Campaign’s international fashion show A Night of Fashion and Giving. Even with a last minute request, Lucas is always willing to help others and to be available to support Jolkona.

“Lucas is easy going, dedicated, and has an eye for creating great videos. He has been an amazing asset to the Jolkona team over the last six months. One of the first projects he worked on was our Volunteer Dancing video which was an editing project piecing together videos from around the world with our volunteers dancing while visiting our partners. The goal was to inspire more people to get involved with volunteering and he did an amazing job. Lucas’s internship is coming to an end and we’re sad to have him go but are truly grateful for all the creative storytelling he has helped Jolkona with in just a short period and we wish him all the luck in his future endeavors.” – Nadia Mahmud (Jolkona CEO)

“Lucas was a gem to work with from the start! The first time I met him, I showed him our dance clips – there were more than 20 clips, filmed to different songs, different tempos especially when we couldn’t hear the music, and often had shaky hands as our volunteer cameramen. I thought he would need at least 3 weeks to get this sorted out but he came back in a week with a rough cut that blew all of us away. The quality of his work continues with the video he made for corks and forks and I’m excited to see his artistic abilities continue to grow as Jolkona grows!” – Nancy Xu (Jolkona Volunteer)

Lucas has easily become part of Jolkona’s amazing volunteer team and we are so very thankful for his time and commitment!  Thanks so much Lucas!

Interested in being a Jolkona volunteer? Drop us a line at contact@jolkona.org. You can also keep up with us on  FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

It is estimated that a staggering 33.3 million people are living with HIV globally, and having killed over 25 million people between 1981 and 2007, HIV/AIDS has become one of the world’s most life threatening diseases, according to WorldAIDSDay.org.

The pandemic has been globally recognized once a year since the first world AIDS day was held in 1988, marking the creation of the first global health day. This Saturday, December 1, marks the 24th World AIDS Day, and a time when we should all reflect upon the millions of lives that the disease threatens and take action to fight the pandemic.

Phot credit due to worldaidscampaign.org

What You Can Do

Provide Medicine to HIV infected Kenyans with our partner Slum Doctor Programme (SDP). In Kenya, the government provides those infected with HIV/AIDS certain medicines to help fight the disease, but not with all the treatments that are needed. With a gift of $30 you can provide an infected individual in Kenya with two weeks of HIV treatment, or 1 month for $60. With your gift, SDP’s Tumaini Clinic program will help give free antiretroviral therapy that the government does not provide to Kenyans living with HIV.

Based out of Bellingham, WA, SDP also works locally to educate kids in middle school and high school with education about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Give Care to HIV Infected Cambodian Children: Cambodia is home to the highest number of HIV/AIDS in Asia.  Our partner New Hope for Cambodian Children (NHCC) works with orphaned children who are infected with HIV and often are not adopted because of their infection. By giving just $75 to NHCC you can support the medical needs of one HIV infected child for 6 months.

Promote Health Awareness in Kenya through Soccer: Our nonprofit partner Village Volunteers hosts a Kick it With Kenya program in which you can sponsor one child’s opportunity to gain health knowledge while having fun. While attending the soccer program, the child you sponsor will receive a health and HIV screening along with medical care, room and board, and a chance to take part in the fun, community-oriented soccer event.

You can also give a donation to the National AIDS Trust, or start a fundraiser of your own on their website, or begin a campaign on ours. The projects above, along with World AIDS day and everyone working to fight the disease worldwide will also work to accomplish one of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, which is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Take Action

Whatever you do, we invite you to take action with us here at Jolkona and our sponsors around the globe who are working to fight the disease both today and throughout the year. Don’t forget to wear red in support of World AIDS Day and the fight against the pandemic on December 1 and give back to one of our campaigns to show your support!

To get more information on AIDS/HIV and learn the facts about the disease and World AIDS day, visit Worldaidsday.org and take the “Are you HIV aware” online quiz.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

The holiday season is a time brimming with joyous family gatherings, sumptuous meals, and shopping, shopping, shopping. Black Friday has become a feverish occasion in a culture obsessed with the notion of deals, sales and savings. Cyber Monday is a supplemental day to signal the online arena’s special promotions for the remaining year. From Thanksgiving through New Years, this surge of business brings innumerable companies out of the red and helps employ more people for seasonal work. Nevertheless, equal energy – if not more – should be expended on behalf of giving as well as receiving.

The beginning of the Giving Season

Giving Tuesday is today, November 27th, which marks the jump off point for a season of generosity and community. A wide range of collaborative organizations have made Giving Tuesday a reality, including but not limited to the United Nations Foundation, Microsoft, The Huffington Post and The Case Foundation. The motivation for organizing an official day is a simple but compelling case: help get people excited about giving. Take a look at the short video clip below which illustrates this vision of giving and social media:

A couple of Jolkona’s cherished projects

Support Transitional Housing Facility in USA: Homeless men and women in America often just need an opportunity for support to demonstrate their self-sufficiency and hard work. Downtown Streets Team (DST), which operates out of Palo Alto in California, affords these men and women the chance to give back while being supported. Homeless and unemployed individuals are able to work in exchange for food and shelter credits, job training skills, and more. Contribute to necessary supplies – like fresh linens or meals – to see DST’s impact continue to grow.

Provide Education to Girls in Liberia: Education is one of the best gifts someone can be blessed with in his or her life. In Liberia, girls need stronger support systems; the illegal sex trade, homelessness, and frequent impoverished conditions leave them vulnerable. More Than Me Foundation’s essential aim is to get the girls off the streets into the classrooms – and onto educated, safe, healthy lives. Give today and boost their scholastic path of success.

The Meaning of Giving

The holiday season can be taken back into the hands of generous, compassionate people one gift at a time. Rather than adopt the cynical mode of living often parroted by political pundits – that the U.S. is a culture of takers, not givers – demonstrate how invested we really are in one another’s lives. It is a joy couched in altruism as well as selfishness; truly helping someone in need is a wonderful feeling.

Our 10 Days of Giving Campaign

Jolkona has a special endeavor for the season of giving this year: our 10 Days of Giving Countdown. In the days leading up to Christmas, teams composed of our wonderful volunteers and contributors will each create their own campaign based on an important project. You will be able to pick your favorite(s) and help them reach their holiday goal!

Also, we will be offering e-gift cards for convenient gift giving this year. It’s as simple as purchasing one (say, worth $20), bestowing it to a friend or family member, and letting them peruse Jolkona’s website for a project that interests them. Check out last year’s Days of Giving Campaign to see what it’s all about!

Why not jumpstart your philanthropic mojo by giving to a non-profit today? The world will be better tomorrow because of it.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

The streets that pave our cities buzz a ceaseless din. Advertising bombards us with images teasing and confounding our wants and desires. Television, digital media and print media – their information cyclones inundate us with stories, facts, opinions, distortions and lies. Today’s global economic engine is a juggernaut with gale-force winds, flinging people from job to job and industry to industry. 21st century life operates in hyper-speed. Sometimes, one needs to apply pressure on the breaks and simply slow down.

The Human Spirit Compels Us

Here at Jolkona, we affirm the life-changing work being accomplished by our partners. We affirm the non-profit sector’s role throughout the world of helping create respectful, well-educated, creative and sustainable communities. We affirm the courageous, compassionate lives people compose for themselves out of an endlessly renewable resource: the human spirit, the will to live, the drive to make life worth living for all.

Affirmations aside, we recognize how easily individuals can become wrapped up in the pettiness of differences, the drama of conflict, and the chains of disillusionment. The following short film, We Are All One, succinctly and lucidly articulates an argument for life and the inherent kinship of all living things. Watch it below.

I won’t exhaust the contents of the film by breaking it down point by point – that would weaken the impact of its own presentation. Jolkona simply believes moments like these are critically important to allow for in our busy lives. Reflection is indicative of a curious, caring mind.

Connecting with your Environment

When it comes to philanthropic endeavors – or any meaningful undertakings for that matter – there exists the yin and yang of theory and praxis. Theory speaks to brainstorming, planning and strategic development. Praxis is defined by action; getting out there to complete tasks and accomplish goals. Theory without praxis is, ultimately, only words, only hypothetical conjecture. Praxis without theory may often turn out to be uninformed and unprepared. Both are essential characteristics to develop an open engagement with the world.

Reflection is equally important as the aforementioned qualities. Critical thinking breeds honesty, empowerment, and change. Life is not all sunshine and roses though – the narration confirms this fact time and again. The majestic footage captured in We All Are One is not intended to inspire surface-level, blind optimism about the future. Rather, it reminds us humans, who can become so distanced from the place we call home, that we are part and parcel of this world. There is no I without the other.

Building Bridges, Linking Lives

The ways in which we fortify ourselves from the earth in communication and conduct is illusionary and deceptive. We are not even merely stewards of this planet, here to establish goodwill and reverence for nature. As the classic Beatles song goes, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” If we as a community truly desire a future that is sustainable and inclusive, it begins with personal moments of reflection. From there, a process of dialogue and ‘theory’ building with neighbors, friends and communities. This is followed by the execution of dignified goals. At the beginning of this process is reflection on self – and therefore – the world.

Align yourself with like-minded individuals. Align yourself with family and friends who may possess different values than you. Align yourself with inspiring non-profits. Align yourself with community leaders and local activities. Align yourself with life-affirming ways of being that resonate with what you have seen in the film above.

Jolkona wants to share its passion with people across the globe that we are confident share so much in common. Our histories and aspirations are much the same. Follow the link to Jolkona’s project center to get an idea of environmental projects we are involved with. But the buck does not stop there; Jolkona’s coalition of partners is ever-blossoming.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is easy to get excited about the great food and good times ahead, but it is also one of the most important times of the year to give. As a youth during the holiday season, my parents, along with people at my church and school, took the time to donate canned goods and money to various food drives.

Jolkona works with a multitude of projects year-round to eradicate hunger world wide, but for this special time of need we have created a compilation of some of these projects–and our very own holiday food drive.

Feeding into the Holidays: Give thanks and give back.

You Can Help

Provide Healthy Meals to Ugandan Children– Due to an increase in commodity costs, the price of a meal in Uganda has risen drastically. Through our partner, the Children of Uganda, your donation of just $55 will be used to feed a child for an entire week. You will help give children regular meals of rice, beans, and posho, a kind of porridge made with maize which is supplemented with vegetables, fruit, eggs and beef when available.

Give Fresh Produce to Children in School in Ecuador 40 percent of the Ecuadorian population consists of children ages 17 and under–and 70 percent of those kids and adolescents live in poverty according to UNICEF. Help our partner, Ecuador Children’s Hope Organization, ensure that kids in school receive the nutrients they need by giving them fresh produce. Your small gift of $65 will provide 300 children with fruits and vegetables for a week. By giving up a little, you will help hundreds gain so much.

Feed a Hungry Family in NicaraguaMADRE, an international women’s human rights organization that has partnered with Jolkona since 2009, has put together a project to give women in Nicaragua a gift that keeps on giving: gardening knowledge and tools. For just $50 you can give one woman the chance to grow food for her family by providing organic seeds. With their own gardens, women in Nicaragua can provide continuously for their families. Give today and help for months to come.

Build an Energy Efficient Stove for a Nepali Family More than 82 perfect of all Nepali households rely on firewood as a source of power; however, in the high altitudes of the country, trees grow slowly, and individuals must travel further and further each day as trees that can’t grow back quick enough are chopped away. With only $40 you can help families spend more time productively, and less time searching for firewood by helping build a full stove. Your gift will contribute good meals and some ease of comfort through our partner, Himalayan Healthcare. Instead of giving food for a week, help a family create nutritious meals for years to come.

Share What You Have

Most of us enjoy great food and treats throughout the holiday season, whether it is just one day of turkey, or a daily seasonal latte to help shake off the cool weather. However you enjoy this time, it is important to remember to help others find joy in these special days, and all throughout their lives.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

On December 14, 1954 the United Nations’ General Assembly suggested each country adopt a Universal Children’s Day, and today, November 20, is the day that is now recognized as such.

The day also marks the date the UN’s Assembly enacted the Declaration of the Rights of a Child and the Convention on the rights of the Child, the former in 1959 and the latter in 1989.

In recognition of this day, on which great accomplishments have been made for the world’s youth, we would like to highlight some of our projects that work to give back to kids everywhere, everyday.

Support the Cause

Help Families Fleeing from Famine in Somalia-Somalia is in a declared state of famine, due to the drought in the African Horn, which is the worst the nation has seen in 60 years. Those fighting famine are more prone to dehydration and the contraction of diseases; children are especially susceptible. With your donation of $50, our partner MADRE will provide 5 health kits to a family. Through your gift you will not only be supporting kids on this year’s Universal Children’s Day, but the families that help provide for them.

Support an Orphan in Kenya: More than one million children have been orphaned in Kenya due to high mortality rates from HIV/AIDS, leaving them without many basic necessities. Your $30 donation will provide one child with an outfit, and you will receive a photo of them wearing the clothes you gave. Any gift you decide to give will be provided to our partner, Global Roots, and to the Baraka Orphanage, which has successfully worked to find homes for over 1,800 orphans in the area.

Provide Maternal and Child Healthcare in Guatemala: With a high infant mortality rate, women in Guatemala are in need of assistance in the execution of healthy deliveries and infant care—the country’s infancy mortality rate is 33 per 1,000 live births, and is even higher in rural areas. With your gift of $166 you can provide a mother and child with one week and pre- and post-delivery care. Our partners program, Project Concern International’s (PCI) Casa Materna (Mother’s House), focuses on preventing disease, improving community health, and promoting sustainable development. Help us and PCI support children and mothers in Guatemala through this great opportunity.

Give an Overnight Experience to Underserved Youth in USA: Inspire our country’ youth to learn: by providing $30 to the Ron McNair Camp-In, you will give one child a partial scholarship to attend an overnight event at the Pacific Science Center, our partner who works together with Blacks in Science to host the event. The child you sponsor will receive the partial scholarship along with three meals during the event, and your donation will help cover the costs of the workshops, educators and supplies for the children.

A Global Gift

In support of both the UN’s Universal Children’s Day and its eight Millennium Development goals, we hope that you will help us celebrate this year’s Children’s Day by giving back to the youth of the world it celebrates. According to UNICEF, children directly benefit from at least 6 of the 8 of the UN’s Millennium Development goals, and are indirectly helped by the remaining two. Take a second to look at any of our projects, which address at least one of the goals in some way, and give back to our kids however you would like.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

Social media and the Internet have made it incredibly easy to give gifts to friends and family members, as well as donate to charities. Soon, Internet users may be able to do both in one stop. Either way, it is clear that online giving is a medium that has shown much potential.

The Scoop

Facebook has recently launched a new test feature which allows users to make a donation on behalf of a family member or friend through the website. The Charitable Contributions section in its soon-to-come Gifts application helps facilitate online charitable donations for the nonprofits it partners with.

So far, 11 nonprofits are working with Facebook, including the American Red Cross, Blue Star Families, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Donorschoose.org, Girls Inc., Kiva, LIVESTRONG, Oxfam America, Rainn, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Water.org. Donators can either choose which foundation they would like to donate funds to, or let the person on whose behalf they are donating decide.

The Facebook Gifts application is not yet available to all users, but is expanding to more users, according to the site.

To learn even more about Facebook Gifts and Charitable Contributions, take a look at the Facebook Newsroom.

A Popular Choice

Gaining more and more worldwide acknowledgement, online donations have become a way for nonprofits and other organizations to get people’s attention–and receive contributions. And the platform, it should be noted, has been quite successful at doing so.

According to NPEngage.com, “[o]nline donations are a larger percentage of giving every year, both in total revenue and number of donors.” The site also points out that online contributors tend to be younger, and give more both in their first donations and overtime.

It is no surprise then that the social media giant has tapped into to this resource, and we applaud the attention it will draw to online charities and contribution sites.

The application is a testament to both a platform that Jolkona has utilized for years, and the work the foundation has done to consistently attract young contributors to support our partners.

Keep Giving

We hope that the growth of applications like Facebook’s will continue to encourage people everywhere to contribute online to nonprofits like ours and to social causes all over the globe. Jolkona believes that our online contribution platform will add to the success of the goals of our non-profit partners, as well as to the betterment of the planet in its entirety, and is excited to see how the medium will expand in the near future.

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When I was 15 years old and hanging out at home one day, I noticed my sister behaving strangely. She was lethargic and looked pale in the face. My parents and I had noticed her uncharacteristically large appetite and unquenchable thirst over the prior month. Yet she was mysteriously losing weight and was sapped of her usual energy. In the spring of 2004 on what was until then an ordinary day around the house – we rushed my sister to the ER. Much to our family’s shock and dismay, we found out that the root cause was type 1 diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 350 million people in the world at present. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, or one’s body proves incapable of utilizing the insulin it creates, this is diagnosed as either type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Nearly 90 percent of all diabetics have type 2, which is often associated with obesity and long-term dietary issues. Type 1 can occur at any age, unlike type 2, which can develop overtime due to lifestyle habits. The first of the two is colloquially referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. My sister was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; her body attacks the very little insulin she naturally produces meaning she must take daily injections of insulin to stabilize her quality of life.

Why World Diabetes Day Matters

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 350 million people in the world at present. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, or one’s body proves incapable of utilizing the insulin it creates, this is diagnosed as either type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Nearly 90 percent of all diabetics have type 2, which is often associated with obesity and long-term dietary issues. Type 1 can occur at any age, unlike type 2, which can be developed overtime due to lifestyle habits. The first of the two is colloquially referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. My sister was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; her body attacks the very insulin she naturally produces meaning she must take daily injections of insulin to stabilize her quality of life.

World Diabetes Day implores all people of this planet to unite for diabetes. Humankind is, after all, most resilient when working toward a common goal. The International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization ignited the initial flames to start this day and allow its knowledge to spread like wildfire. Global awareness of diabetes along with prevention and support education is the battering ram with which we must push forward. Take a look at the IDF’s animated video below, which speaks to these critical matters.

Moving Forward

Tenacity and optimism: these are traits I see in my own sister, as well as in medical professionals, researchers, activists, advocates, and other diabetics. Please take a moment to consider that person or those persons in your life who must confront their condition on a daily basis. Even if you donate know anyone personally with diabetes personally, the degrees of separation are most certainly small. Have a conversation with a friend about diabetes; post a link or forward an email about World Diabetes Day; make a donation to the International Diabetes Federation or one of Jolkona’s own healthcare-related projects.

The blue circle plastered on the web and featured prominently in the video is diabetes’ universal symbol. Why a deliberate symbol, and what does it symbolize? The vibrant ring forms an identity for people to latch onto. Its blue color represents the United Nations’ distinctly global unity and the beautiful vastness of the sky above. The circle also embodies the strength and connection so vital to ongoing research and campaigns.

Just join in the dialogue – it is impossible to know what spark might catch.

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GET INVOLVED!