Before January ends, and before we all begin to anticipate (with great excitement!) the move away from the winter months, I wanted to take the chance to look back at December and our Holiday Giving Campaign, our 10 Days of Giving.

A big part of the Holiday Campaign is for us at Jolkona to come together and work as a team (as the vast majority of us are volunteers with 9-5 jobs elsewhere, this isn’t always easy!) It’s also great opportunity for us to – quite literally – put our money where our mouths are, and to practice what we preach. Whilst it also means getting comfy with someone putting a camcorder in your face for your campaign video!


The impact

But at the heart of the Campaign is how the holiday season is not only about giving gifts to friends and family but about giving the gift of impact. And in the same way, one of the best things about the holiday season is seeing what gifts people get, so is it with the Holiday Campaign. So without further ado, here is the impact raised:

  • 8 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 23 families provided with emergency medical kits in Palestine
  • 5 children’s annual school fees paid for in rural Benin
  • 3 safe birth kits for mothers in Palestine
  • 45 complete outfits for orphaned children in Kenya
  • 6 students’ monthly fees paid for at the School of Life program in America
  • 1 hygienic toilet built in rural India
  • 6 months of computer training for 9 students in rural Guatemala

As ever, thanks to everyone who gave back, who gave the gift of impact!

Start your own campaign!

Starting your own campaign is immensely simple:

Click on this link
Select a project
Give it a name
Set your campaign target
Tell your friends and family!

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


It would seem, as people, we like new beginnings – the clean slate, the fresh start, the frisson that accompanies the chance to embark on something different. The New Year is an apropos example. Cometh January 1st, cometh the renaissance of resolutions: the I won’ts, the I wills, the musts, the musn’ts, the 10 step guides to any goal you could ever think of, and so forth and so forth. We all want a second chance (or perhaps it’s our twentieth).

Now resolutions are fine and well (some, I daresay, even noble), but they strike me predominantly as an attempt at self-improvement. Essentially we ask ourselves, “How can I make my life better this year?” Again, this is not the worst question one could ask oneself. But I wonder how often, as the New Year chimes in, we pose the question, “How can I make someone else’s life better this year?” And I wonder what our lives – or more to the point, what other people’s lives – would look like if we did.

I think philanthropy asks us a very similar question. But it’s not a guilt trip; it’s an honest, straight forward question. With all the abundant resources I have – my time, my money, my talent – what can I set aside to help someone else? I wonder if in 2013 you will ask yourself this question – and be brave enough to act upon it. I wonder if, amongst all your personal goals and good intentions, you will give philanthropy a chance. At Jolkona we certainly hope so.

It’s interesting, after having worked at Jolkona for over a year now, one of the words I associate most strongly with philanthropy is story. I sincerely believe that understanding and experiencing this is aspect of story is essential to philanthropy and other acts of altruism. Really what happens when you engage in philanthropy is you engage in someone’s story – for the good. One way we try to show you this at Jolkona is by sharing with you the journey of your donation and its impact. A life is changed, someone is given a second chance, and a new chapter begins; a chapter you, the donor, have the privilege of helping author. Through philanthropy narratives are interwoven.

So when you’re standing on the threshold of 2014 at some New Year’s Eve party and someone asks you about your year, I wonder if you will bore them to death with the story of all your accomplishments, or if you will share the stories of the lives you helped change, the stories which now you’re a part of. I know who I’d rather be talking to.

If you’re interested in using your time and talents to help others, email

If you’re interested in using your money to help others, find a project you like here and donate.