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With the exception of perhaps the word security, stick the adjective social in front of any noun nowadays and it is suddenly rendered amicable, manageable, and even hip. Think media and imagine the infinitely vast voices of bias reporting, misreporting, and loyal agendas. Social media on the other hand, well that’s all swell. Networking, though perhaps necessary, is positively obsequious. Social networking? – totally keeping it casual. Engineering evokes highly complex designs and mind-boggling math. Social Engineering (it does exist) sounds quite delightful! Worker: bland. Social worker: tell me more! The word social even makes marketing sound bearable.

What about social justice, then?

I sense, just like the phrase “global development,” the phrase social justice draws us largely to nod our heads knowingly as we acknowledge its familiarity and importance, yet at the same time, somewhere in our subconscious, its magnitude shrouds it in uncertainty. Or perhaps it’s the familiarity itself – the phrase we’ve heard repeated over and over by reporters, politicians, advocates, friends – that causes the disconnect. Maybe it doesn’t really mean anything to us anymore. It is simply an issue in the world and a repertoire in our language.

World Day of Social Justice

The UN has officially recognized today, February 20th, as World Day of Social Justice. And at Jolkona we’re hoping that today you will stop and remember social justice, allow it to move from the nebulous area of your subconscious to the forefront and brightness of your conscience. And then: act upon it.

What can I do?

The UN says it concisely:

“We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

Here are three projects you can support via our Jolkona giving platform which tackle social justice:

1. Provide Education for Disabled Children in Nepal. $36 sponsors one disabled child for a month of education. Proof of Impact: You will receive information and a photo of the student you are helping to sponsor.

2. Give Tech and Life Skills to Homeless Women in Seattle. $50 funds a basic life skills class to a group of women. Proof of Impact: you will receive information about the class that you provided.

3. Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders. $100 will supports women leaders participating in iLEAP’s fellowship program by providing a stipend for one week. Proof of Impact: you will receive the name and information about the woman fellow you support.

You can define justice in many ways. But one thing justice does is it puts power in the hands of the powerless. This is why we always talk about empowerment. Because when you donate, you’re not just giving to someone; you’re empowering someone.

Remember social justice. Empower someone today.

Spread social justice via social media: like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and re-pin our pins on Pinterest.

Note from the Editor: today is Valentine’s Day, but it’s also Generosity Day. We wanted to honor the generosity of Megan Fleming and all the stalwart work and time she has given to Jolkona. Be inspired by her generosity.

Megan Fleming, Jolkona volunteer since 2010, is a part of the Social Media and Communications team. Previously with Banyan Branch and now working on the Social Innovation team at Waggener Edstrom (where a few other stellar Jolkona volunteers also work), Megan is taking the lead on Twitter engagement for Jolkona and we are so grateful for her contributions.

In addition to the hours she spends tweeting for Jolkona, she also has assisted in procuring and fundraising for Jolkona’s annual fundraiser Corks n’ Forks as well as participating in strategic planning sessions.

Megan’s passion for volunteerism started before she came to Jolkona. Traveling through South East Asia in 2009 and 2010, Megan explored Cambodia. As she traveled to the beaches of Sihanoukville she witnessed the ugliness of pedophilia, sex tourism and general lack of respect for young children living in poverty.

Wanting to help these children, who live on less than $1 a day, she dedicated her time and energy to CCPP Cambodian Children’s Painting Project. At CCPP children not only have a safe place to visit, but also can learn and play.

At CCPP, children complete 2 paintings a day and then the pieces are sold at a gallery for $4 each. $2 goes to the child and the other $2 goes back to the program. Additionally, there are English lessons, typing classes, arts and crafts as well as games. They also experience field trips and receive hot meals, dental care, health care and clothing if needed.

Megan worked with children ranging in age from 1.5- 18 years old and came home with stories of little ones that warmed her heart, made her laugh and always had a smile for her. After her travels, Megan started working in social media and joined Jolkona as a volunteer to continue working towards funding global development and spreading awareness about Jolkona and its partners.

“One of the things I love most about Megan is her passion and enthusiasm for global development and poverty alleviation and her commitment to use her professional skills and expertise to give back.  For the past couple of years, Megan has been an instrumental piece of our social media engagement with donors and supporters and has helped keep our community engaged and aware of what’s going on with Jolkona and how they can help.  She’s also is willing to help support other teams and spread the word about Jolkona as needed which is always great in a small organization.  We’ve loved having her involved and a part of the Jolkona team!”  -Nadia Mahmud 

“As the person in charge of this blog, having people spread the word about what we’re saying is essential. Megan has totally been that person. That makes Megan essential. But it’s more than just spreading the word; it’s about believing in the message and wholeheartedly getting behind it. Megan has done this, and this is indispensable. She’s been the perfect confluence of passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism. Thank you, Megan!” – Gabriel St. John 

Megan has been an instrumental part of our social media success and is in charge of much of our engagement with our amazing tweets. Because Jolkona doesn’t spend any money on marketing or advertising, we really rely on the power of social media to outreach and spread awareness of our work and the amazing partners we work with. We are so thankful for Megan’s continued contributions and energy. Thank you Megan for being a part of Jolkona over the past couple years!

You can follow Megan on Twitter @MegMarieF.

Be inspired; be generous. Make a difference today. 

Share the love with those in need this Generosity Day by making a donation through Jolkona.

Or send one of Jolkona’s Valentine’s Day gift cards to the ones you love.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and re-pin our pins on Pinterest.

I was at one of Jolkona’s All Hands Meetings recently, and one of the ice-breaker questions posed to us was, “What’s one of the kindest things you’ve ever done?” It was an apt question seeing that we were all involved in philanthropy. Because it’s one thing being asked that if you all work for – I don’t know – Goldman Sachs, but it’s quite another when you all work or volunteer at a non-profit. And to be perfectly honest, I had a torrid time trying find an answer. Not because I was overwhelmed by the abundant choice of numerous and extraordinary acts of generosity that I had so compassionately performed; rather, it was for a complete lack of them. But ask me what’s one of my favorite places to eat, or one of my favorite Bob Dylan albums and you can bet I’ll give you several answers straight off the bat (Pho Cyclo, Poquitos, Blonde On Blonde, Blood On The Tracks….).

Why is this? I think it’s simple: food and music are significant parts of my life. Acts of kindness, less so.

Enter Generosity Day.

Generosity Day

Generosity Day started with Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer at Acumen Fund. Struck by his feelings of wanting to ignore the person who had boarded the train asking for money, he one day decided to start what he called the “Generosty Experiment”—a month-long experiment to say “yes” to every single request for help. Later in February 2011, a small group of people participated in a panel discussion during Social Media Week. After the discussion, Sasha Dichter was talking to the other panelists about his “Generosity Experiment”. Inspired and energized, the group suggested that they rally people around generosity on Valentine’s Day, which was just three days later.

Dichter later gave a brilliant TED talk about his experiment. In it he candidly admits that, despite working at a ground breaking non-profit, fundraising for many worthy causes, and caring deeply about the world’s brokenness, he was still a person who said No to generosity. His experiment was an attempt to break that habit.

I think most of us can relate to the reflex of No when we’re approached for help. Or maybe we sometimes say Yes, but in our heads and our hearts we’re thinking No. As Dichter comments, breaking that habit requires practice. And that is what Generosity Day is about: beginning to make acts of kindness a normal part of our lives. But this isn’t some Occupy Valentine’s Day movement. Instead, it’s about reclaiming Valentine’s Day with acts of sincere kindness and love – not obligation. It’s about making a start.

Dichter writes on his blog,

“Give to people on the street. Tip outrageously. Help a stranger. Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them. Smile. Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you. Take clothes to GoodWill. Share your toys (grownups and kids). Be patient with yourself and with others. Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom. All generous acts count!”

And here’s another great thing about Generosity Day, it doesn’t – as Valentine’s Day so shamefully does – exclude those who are single or without love. Single, engaged, married, divorced, or widowed, it calls all of us to participate.

How will you participate?

Here are a few generous ideas for you:

Find out more and go to the Generosity Day website here.

Witness acts of generosity via the Facebook page.

Tweet the love using the #generosityday hashtag.

Share the love with those in need this Generosity Day by making a donation through Jolkona.

Or here’s a loving idea I wrote about earlier this week: Jolkona’s Valentine’s Day gift cards.

Spread the love and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and re-pin our pins on Pinterest.

As an English teacher living in Italy I used to make all my students memorize Shakespeare. It didn’t matter what level they were – beginners or advanced – everyone had to memorize Shakespeare. Specifically, Sonnet XVIII: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate….” At the beginning of every lesson I would reveal a new line and, like they used to do in the good old days, we would chant it together over and over. Usually, the aim was to have them memorize it in full for Valentine’s Day. The joke being, if they didn’t have a romantic figure in their life, it was a sure way to get one; and if they did, it was a sure way to keep them! But truthfully, I used to do it for other reasons: it was different, it was certainly practical (okay maybe not quite as practical as “Excuse me, where is the train station?” But it still had plenty of good vocabulary and useful grammar structures to learn), it was powerful, and it was memorable.

Wouldn’t it be great, then, if we could do the same with Valentine’s Day this year? Not memorize Shakespeare (though that would be quite a worthy feat in itself), but couldn’t we also do something this year that made Valentine’s Day feel different, practical, powerful, and memorable? You can.

Here’s an idea: instead of sending your loved ones the clichéd Hallmark Valentine’s card, why don’t you send them a Jolkona Valentine’s gift card.

How do they work?

It’s really very simple:

Choose your template

Purchase the gift card for your desired amount

Send the gift card to someone you love

The recipient redeems the gift card via any of our projects

In short, you’re giving so someone else can give. And if love is a gift, then this is love.

Forget not: actions speak louder than words. So this year, tell someone you love them by empowering them to take action. Besides, nothing says I love you like empowerment.

Make this year’s Valentine’s Day different, practical, powerful, and memorable. Send a Jolkona gift card and cultivate change here.

Spread the love and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and re-pin our pins on Pinterest.

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 contact@jolkona.org.

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

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!

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.

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 gift of an education was the greatest thing anyone could have given me as a child and young adult. It’s what has allowed me to write this–and you to read it.

Here at Jolkona we know that learning leads to better lives and better communities, and have partnered with local, national and international projects working not only to make sure the youth of every country has primary education, but to take learning a few steps further wherever possible.

In recognition of UN week, we would like to highlight some of our partners that contribute to the accomplishment of at least one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals: to provide universal primary education by 2015.

What You Can Do to Help

Provide education to girls in Liberia: The More Than Me Foundation works to get girls in Liberia and West Africa into schools and helps to provide students with books, scholarships, and more. More than 61% of the most impoverished school aged girls in the Liberia are not receiving an education. The foundation has begun to help by already successfully putting more than 100 girls into schooling with full support.

You can give two girls a year of school supplies for only $25, or give four girls mandatory uniforms for only $50. If you want to take your generosity one step further, $100 will give a girl an education for a semester, and $250 will give the gift of education for an entire year.

Give books and education to children in Myanmar: Our non-profit partner Education Empowerment works to help provide kindergartens in rural areas with libraries full of books tailored towards the students’ reading levels. According to UNICEF, 70% of children in Myanmar who are able to attend primary school do not finish, and 33% never even begin.

Your small gift of $25 helps stock a library in Burma, and $50 will provide class materials for 50 Burmese students for 1 year. Either gift will give on for a lifetime.

Support Youth Led Journalism in the United States: Ashoka Youth Venture Seattle’s project, the Beat, tackles primary education with hands-on leadership by helping aspiring young reporters, photographers, illustrators and writers in the Issaquah area get published, and more importantly, noticed.  Through the Beat, teens publish a self-made page in the Issaquah Press.

Youth Venture is already inspiring young locals to get involved intellectually at the public level.

Through the course of extensive research required for writing about issues for the Beat, I hope to develop my own understanding, wrote Nitin Shyamkumar of Skyline High School in one of his articles for the Beat.

With $50, you can sponsor one student’s story and provide them with real-world working experience and understanding. For a $500 donation, you will sponsor an issue of The Beat and receive a digital copy, while helping the youth establish a more active voice in their community.

Help Educated Underserved Youth of Color in USA: Less than 25% of children of color in Washington State in the 8th grade receive a score of Proficient or higher on national math and science tests. The Technology Access Foundation is working to help increase that percentage by preparing underserved 6-12 graders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math for an on-track high school graduation and college beginning.

Your gift of just $30 will provide a student with headphones needed for Techstart, and for $35 you can provide headphones for language classes. You can also give an entire language arts class literature curriculum for a year for just $50, or help purchase robotics kits for students for the same amount.

Take Action

Give to these great projects or any of our other partners working to accomplish the UN’s goal today and help provide universal education to the youth across the globe. It may just be the best gift you give this holiday season.

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and check out our Pinterest to stay up to date with what’s happening all of our projects.

Consisting of 10 letters and 4 syllables, philanthropy is a big word. It is a big word associated with big ideals, big plans, big money, and often, therefore, with big people – the real adults. It is one of Jolkona’s central missions to prove that this is in fact a myth, at least the “big money” and the “big people” part.

We want to encourage and grow a new generation of philanthropists. We want to show that you don’t have to be a big name with a big pay check to engender change. You can just be you. And with as little as $5 you can make that change and see that change happen. $5, what is that? – half the price of a movie ticket, an appetizer, a glossy magazine, a trip across the 520 bridge between 3pm – 6pm (without a Good To Go! pass).

Young adults are big part of our vision, our hope. And this infographic shows why. Read it and watch the “big money, big people” myth begin to disappear. If you want to make it disappear forever, then go here and browse any of our 120+ projects. Give. And be the change you want to see to in the world.

[click to enlarge]

The-Future-Of-Social-Activism-infographic

 

Be the change you want to see in the world here.

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

We’ve posted a lot before about family planning, and why women are the key to the future, but I think this infographic presents the issue (and a solution!) along a slightly different tack. Girls who become pregnant before 18 years of age are at much higher risk of complications during birth, not to mention that they are often forced to drop out of school to care for their baby. This infographic shows how these potentially life-ruining births can be nearly completely eliminated.

www.girleffect.org

Take a look at some of our projects that work to empower girls, often to avoid child marriage:

Empower the Girls of Nepal: Mentor a girl from the lowest caste to become a leader in her community, and in turn empower other girls.

Ignite Girls’ Leadership in Pakistan: Run by the same group as the first project, Mentor a girl in Pakistan to become an agent for change, and a future mentor to other girls in her community.

Promote Education of Needy Girls in Tanzania: One of the best ways to combat adolescent pregnancy is to keep girls in school. Help these girls do just that.

If these aren’t enough, Jolkona has many more projects that empower girls in order to avoid early pregnancy.

Check out what Jolkona is up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Exciting News! We at Jolkona are happy to announce two new partner projects in Ghana! Lumana is an organization providing microfinance programs in rural areas, as well as connecting young entrepreneurs with great opportunities. Empower Playgrounds Inc. (EPI) builds electricity-generating playground equipment, which can light up entire communities, as well as lamps and science kits for schools.

Why Ghana?

In 1957, when Ghana gained its independence, its potential was roughly equivalent to that of South Korea. However, South Korea today is much further ahead than Ghana by any growth metrics. This is because Ghana saw a series of debilitating military coups between 1966-1979, each one devastating for Ghana’s development, leading to a steep decline in GDP and standard of living. In 1981, flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings had wrested control a second time, and began a decade long struggle to reform Ghana’s economy. In 1992, Ghana held free elections and set up a constitution. While now seen as an example of political reform and economic recovery, Ghana’s development was stunted by its turbulent history.

Ghana also has a large wealth gap, inflating its statistics without addressing the problem. While Ghana is an ambitious nation with a space program, and seemingly with money to spare as it spent $20 million on a lavish 50th anniversary celebration in 2007, there are stark problems that Ghana is not focusing on. Fully one half of Ghanaians do not have access to electricity, and many also have no running water, especially in rural areas. Ghana is also ranked 69th in the Corruption Perception Index, meaning that a fair amount of foreign aid doesn’t reach the people its meant to serve.

How can we fix this?

  • The aim of Empower Playgrounds Inc (EPI) is to provide opportunities for bright children in dark situations to succeed and break through the poverty cycle. Executive Director Chris Owen told me. Our new project with them allows you to donate $50 to provide a child with an electric lantern, which can be charged during the day and used to do homework at night. Children are often expected to help out with chores or on family farms after school, and can’t do their homework in the dark. Many families resort to using gas lamps, which are detrimental to health when burned in-doors. This project addresses these basic needs of rural Ghaneans, and can decrease the wealth gap by providing an equal chance at education.
  • Lumana found that 80% of microfinance programs in Ghana are in urban centers, and the vast majority of Ghana’s poor have no access to them. Our new project with them means that your gift of $50 will fund a 3-day training session for 1st time borrowers, people who will then have the skills to set up their own business. This project further reduces the wealth gap by providing small-business owners the skills they need to expand and thrive.

And our new partners are just as excited about us as we are about them! “After meeting with Jolkona staff and hearing about the innovative force it is in the non-profit world we knew we had to get involved” says Mr. Owen.

Wait! There’s more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

On Thursday of last week, a group of passionate individuals got together in a trendy building on Lenora and 1st to celebrate Jolkona and make their impact. That’s right, Socializing for Social Change‘s (S4SC) event benefitting Jolkona was a great success! Here’s the story of how the night went, and in true Jolkona fashion, a report of the impact the event had.

Volunteers from Jolkona and S4SC assembled at Maker’s Space at 4:00 to get ready for the event. They prepared food, put out the raffle station, hooked up the sound system, and set up two projectors; one highlighting different Global Health facts and Jolkona projects, the other broadcasting any tweets featuring #S4SC live. At 6:00, guests started arriving.

They were greeted at the door, and given a nametag featuring their twitter handle and the project they donated to with their ticket. They then got food, drinks, and raffle tickets; a chance to win one out of four fabulous prizes. At 7:30, S4SC founder Antonio Smith officially welcomed everyone who attended, and introduced our very own Nadia Khawaja, who gave guests the rundown on Jolkona. At 8:30, the raffle tickets were drawn, and everyone received swag bags filled with great prizes. By 9:30, the event was over, and volunteers helped return the space to the neat order it was in before.

I felt that the evening was very successful; S4SC created a lively atmosphere and a great forum to talk about Jolkona and giving. This kind of event is a great way to attract the vibrant and young community that Jolkona loves. Seeing the twitter wall live, and hearing about the potential amount of publicity for Jolkona, showed me yet again that each and every one of us, each drop of water counts towards making a difference.

The Impact:

-The hashtag #S4SC potentially garnered 30,000 impressions the night of the event!

80 Event tickets were sold, meaning:

10 youth will be sponsored to attend the Kick It with Kenya soccer/leadership conference.

23 children will receive diarrhea treatment in Kolkata, India.

8 Women will receive training to be community health promoters in rural Peru.

56 Raffle tickets were bought; and Jolkona received a total of $1,100 for Global Health, finishing our Give Health matching campaign!

A huge thank you from all of us at Jolkona to Socializing for Social Change! Their work and partnership is what made this amazing and fun event possible.

See the total impact our Give Health Campaign had. If this event sounded fun, get ready for Corks N’ Forks on October 4th! Read more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Editors Note: This post was written by the one and only Chi Do!

I grew up in Vietnam, where I witnessed first-hand the inequalities of the health care delivery system in third world countries. Access to medical care was only for the more privileged, smaller sector of the population. If you were poor and lived hundred miles from the city, disease would almost be a death sentence. My childhood dream was cultivated from this knowledge. I wanted to become a medical doctor who would bridge that gap, bringing health care to the poorest of the poor, and to the most remote areas of the country.

That childhood dream took a back seat when my family immigrated to America and as I worked hard to build up a new life, aiming for the American dream. In 2006, the University of Washington, my alma mater, started a new tradition called the Common Book, in which every first-year has to read the same book prior to attending their first college quarter. The first book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains: the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World” by Tracy Kidder captured my heart. It reminded me of that childhood dream I once had – the dream to bring health access to all. I started seeking for opportunities to get involved and found the Jolkona Foundation. The idea that a small donation makes a large impact speaks so much to me. Everybody can be a philanthropist. Everybody can help make life better for another person, whether they are right next to you, or half the world away.

A couple months ago, I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in the middle of the largest urban slum in the country. There was a small building nestled in the corner, away from all the noises of daily life. It served as the slum’s clinic sponsored by Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI). While we were there, a middle-aged woman came in carrying an infant on her arms while a young girl walked shyly behind her. I came to find out the baby was born to this young girl, who was barely 17 years old. She was married when she was 13. The older woman was the baby’s grandma. They came to seek medical care for the baby boy who had a common cold. Hearing their story, my heart flew to them. Many young girls in developing countries today have never had the opportunity for education, never known anything else beyond the 4×4 wall of their family house in the slum, and have often entered motherhood and faced too many maternal health problems at such a young age.

I am proud to be volunteering for Jolkona, to spread the word, to cultivate philanthropy within my social circles, and to lend a helping hand. I do all this with the hope that more young girls and women around the world are given the health care and educational opportunities they deserve. I urge every one of you to do the same, to seek the passion that speaks to your heart. And if it is to share or to serve the underprivileged, join us!

During the month of July, your donation to any Global Health project will be matched. Consider donating to the slum clinic in Dhaka that I mentioned above. With $50, you can provide medical supplies for the whole clinic or cover the cost of a general practitioner, both for an entire week. For the majority of people living in the slum, this is the only place they can go for medical care. In addition, join us tonight at Maker’s Space, where Socializing for Social Change is hosting an event benefiting Jolkona. To attend, you must make a $10 donation to one of three health-related projects!

Inspired? Find more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Read more about Jolkona’s visit to the DCI Clinic here!

GET INVOLVED!