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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.

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

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.

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

Back in July we ran our Give Health campaign, successfully raising some $9,000 + for our partners and their projects the world over. One of the non-profits we cozied-up to during the campaign was Socializing For Social Change (S4SC). They threw us a big party and taught us a thing or two about how socializing and social media can lead to social change.

We liked what we learned. For example, did you know that people are more likely to join digital social change conversations than start one? So we’re asking you to join a digital social change conversation today by tweeting @jolkona, liking/sharing us on Facebook, or pinning something of ours onto your Pinterest board.  We want everyone to know that anyone can be a philanthropist. Help us create awareness; help us encourage change. Social media = social change.

If you don’t believe me, check out this infographic, then check out our project our page. Choose a project, donate, see the change, and share the good news (via social media, if you like).

Give today to any of our 120+ projects and tell your friends about it.

We do social media, too: on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The United States’ forthcoming national election carries exceptional expectations. In one sense, categorizing the election season in such a way is more of a platitude; every Presidential run affirms itself as the biggest, most critical election yet. The media’s inundating hype-machine turns the complex ramifications of choosing political leaders into a horse-race. And yet, with the incumbent President Barack Obama squaring off against the Republican challenger Mitt Romney, major issues in healthcare, the economy, social services, women’s rights, clean energy and more remain at stake.

Every Vote Counts

Most vital to the continuation of a healthy, robust political process are citizens getting their votes out. Honest engagement with the system is key. The cliche ‘every vote counts’ is in fact a potent piece of reality that people need to be reminded of every now and again. Jolkona’s own namesake and mission closely mirrors this philosophy: the word means ‘every drop counts’ in Bengali, signaling the importance of every individual contribution. People can and do make a monumental difference when they utilize their time, energy, skill sets, or connections to speak up for the issues that matter.

Let’s take a look at one of the issues that matters. Although often overlooked in political matches, the candidates’ history in the philanthropic arena is of considerable value. Not only what they have done in the past, or the positions they take now, but how the candidates will conduct themselves in the future on non-profit issues is worth investigating.

Obama and Romney’s Records


President Barack Obama
He argued for and signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, which boasted a substantial expansion on AmeriCorps’ budget and impact. Furthermore, the act created the Social Innovation Fund; it offers grants to help non-profits and expand funding to facilitate widening volunteer capacities.

Obama also completed the Promise Neighborhoods Program of 2011, a federal source for non-profits focused on disadvantaged youth. Funding is provided to aid non-profits working in tandem with schools, businesses, and foundations that are devoted to improving young people’s opportunities in low-income, high-crime communities.

Mitt Romney
During his term as Massachusetts State Governor, Romney led a bi-partisan effort to have state governors sign a 2003 letter arguing emergency aid be given to AmeriCorps. This proposal of national service aimed to have President George W. Bush lend immediate resources to the withering program and prevent drastic cuts.

He appointed his wife Ann Romney to assume an unpaid leadership role in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This organization helps allocate federal funds to religious organizations dedicated to offering tangible social services in their communities.

Arts & Culture Support

President Barack Obama
His 2013 proposed budget includes a small increase in the budgets of the National Endowment of the Arts as well as the National Endowment for Humanities (up an additional $8 million to a total of $154 million). These independent agencies extend funding and support to projects and events based around arts, culture, theater and more. In addition, flat-spending has been stipulated for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through 2015.

Mitt Romney
He has been chastised by the Obama camp for threatening to “kill Big Bird” if elected as President. Romney has clearly stated his intentions several times pertaining to the National Endowment of the Arts, Humanities, and PBS, which is for severe reductions if not eliminating their federal funding entirely. He believes federal subsidies to these programs are unnecessarily wasteful in this climate of a hurt economy and rising debt.

Make Your Voice and Vote Heard

The choice cannot and will not be black and white for this upcoming election. There are things to agree and disagree on with both candidates. But keep Jolkona’s mantra close in mind over the next couple of days – that every person’s voice is valuable, unique and significant. So too is your vote. Read up on your local and state officials as well; your city and state politics are just as important and relevant, if not more so!

Learn more about the Presidential candidates’  non-profit policies and beliefs over at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an exhaustive set of news articles, resources and outreach avenues. Also check out Jolkona’s formidable and diverse project list to make your impact today. Election Day’s aftermath could very well impact these non-profits in the future.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest and keep up to date with all we are doing and the impact you are making.

 

GET INVOLVED!