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Global health has never been more important. In our increasingly globalized society, where one can travel to the other side of the world in mere hours, improving quality and access to health not only benefits others but also ourselves. New medical breakthroughs protect millions of people from debilitating diseases and prevent even more from contracting them. But without access to these services, millions fall between the cracks.

In my own experience, access to health services is a major concern in all parts of the world. The United States, despite its status as a Western industrialized country, has significant problems providing healthcare to its own population. Over 50 million people are uninsured and cannot effectively access services without making a large financial commitment. I currently work at a hospital clinic and every day I face situations where patients feel overwhelmed by skyrocketing medical bills. Some of our cancer patients in particular must significantly downsize their lives to afford care. These problems similarly plague the Indian healthcare system, where hospital accessibility and quality varies with socioeconomic status. My father once fell ill during a visit and though his every need was met promptly, it was expensive and likely more than most Indians could afford.

Jolkona’s GiveHealth Campaign, connects people to many amazing projects that aim to close this gap. I helped support women health workers in Peru run by our partner, Awamaki, which provide health services to people in the remotest regions of the country. During my travels in South American with fellow Jolkona volunteers last winter, I observed first-hand how difficult life can be in rural areas. Through this organization, many villagers can gain access to medication and educational opportunities to improve their lives. Make sure to check out what other remarkable projects you can support and this month only, DOUBLE your impact!

You can also support women health workers in Peru by attending the #S4SC event this Thursday July 26th @ 6pm and choosing to donate your ticket fee of $10 to the Awamaki project.

Stay in touch with Jolkona and the impact your donations are making on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Education has always been one of the primary methods of empowering individuals to improve their conditions in life. The United Nations even list it as part of their Millennium Development Goals, aiming to provide universal education by 2015.

Brazil, a rapidly developing country, unfortunately falls short when faced with issues in educational disparities. It’s aiming to provide public and private education for all citizens, yet there is still a large gap between the privileged and the poor. Public schools especially are unable to provide adequate education and ensuring a student’s future with college acceptances. Instead, it is only through more expensive private schools that most Brazilian children can hope to attend a fully funded university. I was shocked to hear that only private school, which costs more than some families can afford, are essentially the only way that students would achieve the test scores necessary to get into higher education programs. Public schools just aren’t good enough.

Community in Action (Comunidade em Ação) is a non-profit organization located in one of Rio de Janeiro’s most dangerous favelas, Complexo do Alemão, and aims to partner with local programs to empower its residents by embracing a better life. As part of the Jolkona team visiting South America, it was a wonderful opportunity to visit a non-profit working in the field. While visiting Community in Action, it was easy to see how motivated their founder, Zak Paster, and his team of dedicated volunteers were to improving conditions in the favelas. We also observed some of their current partners, many of them working to improve education opportunities for the children of the favelas.

One of the most inspiring visits was to Centro Educacional Leandro, a school in the favela run by Marcia and Marcelo and an organization that Community in Action is partnered with. Not only does this organization provide private-school education for less, but it also empowers children to help others. Marcia and Marcelo’s passion bleeds through everything they do. For the last twenty years, they have provided integral services to kids in need because of a desire to help their community. During the holiday time, Centro Educacional Leandro spearheaded a food drive, where their underprivileged students went door to door in the favela and received kilos of food from other needy families. It was inspiring to see young people help each other and want to make the community a better place, even during tough times.

Community in Action helps organizations like this one become better equipped to help empower the local community. The students at Centro Educacional Leandro had tiny, cramped schoolrooms and a stuffy computer lab. As an American growing up in the American education system, it is easy to forget how many more resources I had access to that these students do not. With Community in Action’s support, they can provide a much larger facility for students to learn the computer skills necessary to survive in today’s global economy.

Watching Community in Action was a unique opportunity to see a grassroots non-profit organization affect real change. Their strong relationship with the local community means they will continue to do good work for years to come.

Want more on the South America trip? Adnan Mahmud and Nancy Xu are also blogging about their experiences with the team. Follow Adnan here. Follow Nancy here. Keep up to date with us also on Facebook.

A few Thursdays back was the Jolkona Foundation’s holiday party held at one of our wonderful boardmember’s home. It was great to catch up with the other volunteers, but I was most captivated by all the vitality and energy in the room. Everyone there was excited to be part of Jolkona and its numerous accomplishments over the past year. Many of these achievements can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of young people wanting to make a difference.

As a member of the NextGen team, which focuses on engaging youth under 25 in philanthropy, I love seeing the energy and commitment that young people bring to giving. The holidays especially inspire people to make the world a better place. I know that I always feel more motivated during this time of year to donate my time and resources towards those less fortunate. This season is all about feeling thankful for what you have and recognizing that others may not be so fortunate.

During this holiday season, I will use my small change to bring awareness to a cause I feel passionate about: the NextGen team is excited to help prepare kids in the United States to become employable adults as part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving campaign! This organization has helped thousands of children from all over the US learn the life skills necessary to have professional careers and become more civic-minded through the medium of soccer. I am excited to support a non-profit that inspires the next generation of youth philanthropists. These kids want to make a difference, and with everyone’s support, we can help them reach their goals!

Make a difference here.

 

 

 

 

Jolkona Team

Image credit: Karen Ducey

A few weeks ago, I attended the 2011 Social Innovation Fast Pitch held at the Seattle Center. This event provided support by highlighting and donating funds to organizations aimed at making a positive impact in the community. Among the finalists, a remarkable number of groups were founded by local high school and college students. These students saw problems that existed in the world and used ingenuity to craft effective solutions. I loved hearing a recent high school graduate discuss how she was inspired to create her non-profit after observing how alienated disabled student felt from their peers. Despite her youth, she is making a tangible difference in the world.

As a recent college graduate myself, I am happy to see that young people are getting their due credit as a powerful force in philanthropy. Students and the under-25 year old demographic are increasingly more engaged with the world and addressing disparities. Through internet and smart phones, we are readily connected to all parts of our global community. Minutes after the devastating earthquake hit Japan last March, Twitter feeds and news articles exploded with images and information. Immediately, youth from Japan and beyond engaged in the global response; donating time, money and resources to help the cause. It was inspiring to see young people work together to aid in relief efforts in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

As part of the team for NextGen powered by Jolkona, I feel lucky to be part of our efforts to engage more young people in philanthropy. I first started with Jolkona because I wanted to help but didn’t know how. The wide variety of projects along with proof that my pledge made a tangible impact inspired me to do more than just be a donor. It interested me in engaging more of my peers in philanthropy. It doesn’t take a huge financial pledge or large time commitment to make a difference. We’re in a time of giving where people can pool a little to create a significant impact; for example, one $5 donation helps a rural Guatemalan child become computer literate. Together, we can help an entire community become educated. Everybody can turn their small change into big change!

Jolkona_NextGen_Web Banner

Jolkona is thrilled to unveil NextGen, a new initiative aimed at engaging the next generation of philanthropists. To launch this exciting new endeavor, Jolkona co-founders Nadia Khawaja and Adnan Mahmud met with hundreds of college students from around the country to talk about the UN Development Goals at the Millennium Campus Conference last month in Boston. The overwhelming response shows that today’s students want to get involved to make a true difference in their global community.

NextGen, powered by Jolkona, enables the next generation of philanthropists to turn their small change into big change through two specific programs: Jolkona High, aimed at high school, and Jolkona U, aimed at college students.

Jolkona High utilizes the Jolkona microgiving platform to aid high school seniors in completing the required Washington State Senior Project. The Senior Project inspires high school students to explore engaging topics and find real-world solutions to global disparities. Since Jolkona partners with a wide range of organizations that tackle complex global development issues, students can easily find philanthropic causes which engage their interests. High school students will feel empowered to find a solution to a problem they see in the world.

College students who want to take charge to address global disparities can start their own Jolkona U chapter as a student-organized club on campus. By starting a chapter, students can help fund projects they feel passionate about while gaining valuable leadership skills. They will be empowered to provide solutions for a wide-range of global development issues. As champions for a cause, Jolkona U members will educate their local communities about global inequalities and use teamwork to effectively address their philanthropic interests. Together, they can create a better world.

We are excited to reach the next generation of philanthropists and empower them to make a tangible difference in the lives of people everywhere. Together, we can use small change to make big change!

Please visit www.jolkona/nextgen to get more information about the NextGen platform.

Education is one the primary ways to escape poverty and improve the quality of life. According to a recent article in TIME Magazine, one additional year of secondary education can increase salaries for girls by 15-25%. In general, educating girls has a profound effect on reducing overpopulation and child marriage. Girls educated for seven or more years, on average, marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children as per data from the Girl Effect.

Despite these overwhelming statistics, girls are often left behind. About 25% of girls in developing countries do not attend school (Girl Effect). Girls also receive less than $0.02 of every dollar given specifically for development assistance (TIME).

As a public health major, I am extremely disappointed that female empowerment is not valued as a proven, effective intervention to combat global disparities. As the daughter of immigrant parents, I am horrified. I have been back to India and seen first-hand the impact of gender disparities. Women are scarce at night. Girls are expected to get married or become a burden to their parents. Education is certainly deemed important but school fees are expensive, and since males are dominant in society, their needs are generally met first. It is sad to see that so little of development assistance goes towards making girls feel safe and, even more importantly, appreciated in their own society.

What can you do to bridge this gap and promote education for girls through Jolkona?

There are numerous projects you can support. You can Provide Education to the Females of Afghanistan, where their literacy rate is only 14% because many parents are wary of sending their daughters to co-ed schools with male teachers. For only $40, you can sponsor a girl’s literacy course for a 10-month term in a safe, female-only, environment. Plus, you will receive the name and photo of the girl whose life you changed.

You can also Free and Educate Enslaved Nepali Girls, sold by their farm laborer parents who have limited financial resources. A donation of $100 will not only bring a young girl back to her family, but also pay for school fees and kerosene lamps to ensure that she can study at night. Through the generosity of Jolkona donors, 29 girls have already been saved. Can you make that number higher?

And remember, with the Give 2 Educate campaign in full swing, your donations will be matched, doubling your impact and empowering girls everywhere!

Photo Credit: A. gonzalez

In the early 1980s, doctors noticed an emerging threat to public health. Patients would arrive with severely compromised immune systems and become deathly ill from common infections. Thus, the HIV/AIDS pandemic was born and is now one of the biggest threats to human health.

Despite the progress made over the last thirty years in both treatment and prevention, HIV/AIDS continues to affect millions around the world. According to UNAIDS 2008 data, 33.4 million people worldwide currently live with HIV/AIDS. In addition, 2.7 million were newly infected that year. Combating HIV/AIDS is so important that one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), developed by the UN to produce better health outcomes worldwide focuses specifically on this disease.

At Jolkona, there are plenty of ways to fulfill this MDG goal. You can Give Care to HIV-Infected Cambodian Children, providing treatment and education to the 3,350 kids struggling with the disease. So far, through the efforts of donors like you, 6 children have had their nutritional needs met.

Another way you can help is by Giving Doctor Visits to Bangladesh’s Underprivileged, who will provide medical screening and healthcare for impoverished slum dwellers. One doctor has provided one week of health screenings for these people because of generous donations from the Jolkona community.

Children of Uganda is a great partner that provides support for youth affected by AIDS. For only $5 per child, you can Provide Healthy Meals to Ugandan Children, many who have been orphaned due to the AIDS pandemic. You can also Give Education to Ugandan Children and empower them to improve their lives and become future leaders.

HIV/AIDS is a global problem, impacting people from both developed and developing countries. It orphans children worldwide and decreases the quality of life for millions. The MDGs attempt to address these staggering statistics by focusing attention on the most crucial public health issues. By supporting these projects, you can ensure that we reach the MDGs by 2015 and put a stop to the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS.

“You are either affected or infected with HIV/AIDS” photo courtesy of Flickr User JonRawlinson under a Creative Commons License

Currently, an outbreak of cholera is overwhelming post-earthquake Haiti; 4,764 people have been infected with more than 330 now dead. It will only get worse as hurricane season starts and more people are exposed to unhygienic conditions. Cholera is a bacterial disease that causes severe diarrhea and can lead to death in as little as three hours. There is no cure, just methods to treat the symptoms.

As Jolkona launches the Give Health campaign, we want to highlight different public health crises and give you tools to solve the problems. The Haiti cholera epidemic can be averted by improving sanitation systems to create clean sources of water. You can Help at Risk Haitian Families Recover and Rebuild by providing clean latrines to communities.

While cholera decimates Haiti, unhygienic conditions are a problem worldwide. Every year, 1.5 million children die from diarrheal diseases. You can Save a Young Child from Diarrhea in India for as little as $5!

It is easy to feel overwhelmed but every little bit helps in public health. And remember, during Give Health, your donation gets matched to the dollar!

GET INVOLVED!