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When we announced the Give to Educate (Give2ED) campaign two weeks ago, we had a big goal ahead of us – raise $4,000 in donations for education projects that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by one generous donor named Brandon.

Members of the Jolkona community answered Brandon’s call to “get off the sidelines” and make a difference in the lives of children and adults around the world through education. We are excited to announce that on Monday, February 21st, Give to Educate was fully funded!

Together, in two weeks, here’s the impact we made towards education around the world:

  • 2 scholarships provided in Guatemala
  • 2 students supported through summer program in China
  • 2 months of school transportation provided in Tanzania
  • 4 girls educated in Afghanistan
  • 2 scholarship endowments set up in Bangladesh
  • 34 months of tuition fees provided in Guatemala
  • 2 years of practical skills training provided in NIger
  • 100 books provided in China
  • 4 students received books in Kenya
  • 2 months of secondary education provided in Uganda
  • 2 months of university education covered in Guatemala
  • 4 students received tech tools and trainings in USA
  • 16 semesters of education expenses covered in India
  • 14 chairs supplied to schools in Sierra Leone
  • 2 classes received books in Rwanda
  • 2 years of public education sponsored in Pakistan
  • 2 children sponsored in Bangladesh
  • 14 months of computer training provided in Guatemala
  • 2 students attended day school in China

Thank you to everyone in the Jolkona community for your tremendous support!

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Give to Educate matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your account by the end of March and you will receive a proof of impact once our partners implement each project.

We would also like to thank Brandon for being a pioneer in sponsoring this campaign. At Jolkona, we believe that individuals can make a huge difference in the world and small donations add up to create a big impact. Through Give to Educate, Brandon inspired each one of us to donate and double our collective impact; the goal was not $4,000, but $8,000 total.

Thank you, Brandon the philanthropist, for leading this campaign and choosing Jolkona as your choice for giving.

Investing in education doesn’t stop here

You can continue to see the support of education projects on the campaign page and by viewing the overall impact the Jolkona community is making towards the UN Millennium Development Goals and other projects around the world.

Oh, and stay tuned, because we have even more exciting things to announce in the coming weeks!

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

Today is a very exciting day. Not only was our first All Hands meeting last night with the entire Jolkona volunteer team, but also it’s Tuesday and we’re announcing our first matching campaign for 2011.

This campaign is different than previous campaigns because it is made possible by one person who is just like you and me.

I’ll let him introduce the Give to Educate (Give 2 ED) campaign himself:

So get off the sidelines and act

Starting today, each donation you make to one of Jolkona’s Education projects, Brandon will be match, dollar for dollar, up to $4,000. For each donation you make, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation as well as the impact for the matched donation.

The part I love the most about this campaign is Brandon’s call to action – he’s just a normal guy who decided he wanted to make an impact in the world and partnering with us on this campaign is his solution. Anyone can make a difference. And this month, let’s start by making a ripple effect of change through education around the world.

You can support the Give2ED campaign, follow our progress and our total impact on our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, #Give2ED).

Special thank you

On behalf of everyone at Jolkona, I’d like to thank Brandon for coming forward and sponsoring this campaign. I’d also like to thank Sadia Khawaja of PaperDaydream for designing the Give2ED logo and John Kimball for editing the campaign video.

Are you ready to join Brandon and get off the sidelines?

Kick it with Kenya (KWIK) – a Jolkona project partner – is a community soccer tournament that leverages community gathering for sports to promote public health awareness. What is so innovative about this tournament is that it harnesses the power of the community in a fun way (who isn’t passionate about soccer?) to rally around their villages and also improve access to medical care and prevention. The tournament was hosted in Dago, and the Dago village team took home first place! It was amazing to see the spirit of the community and be a part of the talk of the town. Needless to say, the entire village was partying all night long at the orphanage center and will have another celebration to officially welcome home the trophy on Sunday evening.

The tournament brought together over 500 participants and even more spectators to show their support for each village and to receive medical treatment and counseling.

We had a chance to observe the clinics in action during the tournament and interview the medical team, which we will share with you in future posts. While the soccer games were  going on at the school field, the classrooms were converted to temporary health clinics. There was an optometrist, a nurse who diagnosed conditions and dispensed medications, and an HIV testing counselor. The community had access to free vaccinations and health mentors and advocates. This year, over 500 people were tested for HIV screening and over 250 patients received medical care and medications during the tournament.

It was such a privilege to see this project in action and experience how the donations from Jolkona are leveraged because of the triage of support from the dedicated community volunteers, the government, and generous in-kind donations secured by the tournament’s organizers.

Thank you to past donors who helped make the annual Kick it with Kenya soccer tournament possible! This tournament only happens once a year, and we welcome your support of this project throughout the year so that it can continue to grow and improve the lives and building of community in this rural part of Kenya.

Happy holidays from Dago, Kenya!

As part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving, Team Africa is launching a campaign to sponsor 20 students to participate in the next KWIK soccer tournament. For $27, you can help promote public health awareness through a fun community event. Want to help make an impact for the holidays? Check out Team Africa’s campaign page.

After spending the day seeing Nairobi, this morning we packed our bags and headed to Dago, a small rural village about 4 hours west of Nairobi. Of course we wake up early with the plan to leave at 8am, only to be reminded of “African standard time.” We didn’t leave the house until 8:45am and although we reached the shuttle stand without much delay, once we got there we again were faced with the reality of how slow things move in Africa. Our goal was to get on the 9am shuttle, which ended up being full. So with much convincing from our hosts, we were able to get booked on the 10am shuttle, only it didn’t actually arrive until 11am! Finally we loaded up our stuff with our local guide named Eric and were off.

Outside of Nairobi, the Kenyan countryside is just amazing! We passed through the Great Rift Valley and descended into the land of the Masaai, traditional Kenyan nomadic warriors.

The road through this part of town was quite smooth and very beautiful. After what felt like hours-and-hours of driving through the northern plains of Kenya, we ended up in Kissi. Here we were picked up by a car and then transported to Dago, about 30 minutes away.

The roads were bumpy, made mostly of dirt. We finally arrived in Dago at 5pm, just in time for us to catch the last quarter of the “Kick it With Kenya Soccer Tournament” semi-final round. Dago Dera Hera puts on this tournament with the financial support of one of our partners, Village Volunteers. The tournament brings together over 500 youth from neighboring villages for a 4-day soccer tournament that includes free HIV/AIDS testing, medications, check-ups, and public health education. It’s a great way to bring together so many youth and to promote public health awareness at the same time.

Great energy, great music, and a crowd of kids like I’ve never seen before…what more can you ask for? How about an amazing home cooked meal and great conversations with the organizers of the tournament and our host family for our stay in Dago.

This family is incredible! The mom and dad and all of their children have dedicated their lives to helping their community, one that suffers from a large orphaned population due to an epidemic of HIV/AIDS in the area. Needless to say, it was an amazing night of learning about how they got started in this work and everything that their community center and this tournament achieves.

One of the things that inspired me about this family is the extreme compassion they have to help others. Although they are fairly privileged in their village standards, they are by no means what any one of us would consider “wealthy” or even “well-off” in the U.S. However, without taking any compensation, they volunteer their time, energy, and whatever extra resources they have to help these orphans and their community. I’m just amazed at what they’ve accomplished and at their generosity.

After dinner we headed to our room for the night. It was such a humbling experience to sleep in a hut without running water and plumbing using a community bathroom/latrine. Although it was a huge adjustment from the city life in Nairobi, it’s actually quite peaceful once you get used to it. I mean, who needs electricity and running water when you have a tube, well, buckets, and flashlights anyway?

I’m really excited to be helping out with the health clinics on the last day tomorrow as well as presenting trophies and prizes to the winners of the final round tomorrow.

By coming here I am seeing first hand what an impact this tournament is making and how cost-effective it is. For just $27, you can sponsor one of the participants in the tournament and give them access to free health screenings, education, and screenings. I hope you will join me in our campaign to help raise money to cover the costs of 20 kids to attend this tournament.

Again, each scholarship is only $27, but if you can only give $5 or $10 it all goes a long way here, TRUST ME! Please make a small contribution today. Good night from Dago!

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

When we announced the Give Health campaign earlier this month, we had an even bigger goal than our first matched campaign – raise $7,000 for public health projects to be matched by a fund created by a group of anonymous donors, doubling the overall impact and donations to $14,000.  Members of the Jolkona community came together to launch this campaign and see it through – we are excited to announce that last Monday, November 15th Give Health was fully funded!

Together, in just over two weeks, here’s the impact we made towards public health around the world:

  • 38 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 2 doctors visits provided in Bangladesh
  • 8 HIV+ children in Cambodia received 6 months of medicines
  • 2 sets of farming tools provided in Nicaragua
  • 60 children fed in Uganda for 38 weeks each
  • 4 children in Sierra Leone each received 1 year of medicines & vitamins
  • 2 cataract surgeries provided in Bangladesh
  • 2 bags of seeds provided in Nicaragua
  • 4 days of medical supplies provided in Bangladesh
  • 2 elderly people in China received care for 1 year
  • 2 temporary latrines provided in Haiti

Thank you to everyone in the Jolkona community for your tremendous support!

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Give Health matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your accounts in January and you will receive proofs of impact once the projects are implemented.

Investing in public health doesn’t stop here

You can continue to see support of public health projects on the campaign page and by viewing the overall impact we’re making towards the UN Millennium Development Goals and other projects around the world.

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!

I’m so excited to announce the “Give Health” matching campaign with Jolkona starting today. As a recent graduate student of Public Health, I truly understand the importance, the cost-effectiveness, and the need for public health projects around the world. Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous group of donors also passionate about the importance of public health, any donation you make to one of our public health projects this month, until we reach $7,000, will be matched by this grant so that you can DOUBLE your impact! If you don’t already know why supporting public health is so important I want to share a few insights.

What is global health?

Global health refers to health problems that transcend national borders or have a global political and economic impact. This includes problems such as infectious and insect-borne diseases that can spread from one country to another, but also other health problems that are of such magnitude that they have a global political and economic impact such as HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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When we announced the MatchED Campaign, we had a big goal ahead of us – raise $5,000 in donations for education projects that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Waggener Edstrom, doubling the overall impact and funds to $10,000. MatchED was designed to last one month and we are excited to announce that on Monday, Sept. 19th, MatchED was fully funded!

Together, in just one week, here’s the impact we made towards education around the world:

  • Books supplied to 10 classes in Rwanda
  • 12 girls educated in Afghanistan
  • 2 student in Kenya received school supplies
  • 2 Tibetan Student attended summer program
  • 80 books supplied in Tibet
  • 4 year-long scholarships given in Zambia
  • 22 months of tutoring provided in Guatemala
  • 4 students in USA got tech tools
  • 4 chairs provided to students in Sierra Leone
  • 12 Tibetan students educated
  • 28 year-long scholarships given in Guatemala
  • 2 events sponsored at a US school
  • 16 desks provided to a Zambian school

We are thankful to everyone in the Jolkona community for your tremendous support!

For those who donated, you will receive proof of impact for the donation you made and the donation Waggener Edstrom matched on your behalf. Matched gifts will be added to your account in mid-October and you will receive proofs of impact once the projects are implemented.

We are also thankful to Waggener Edstrom for their partnership, leadership, and support of this campaign. We look forward to partnering with them as well as other businesses in the future with campaigns that help further engage the corporate and social sectors.

Investing in education doesn’t stop here.

You can continue to see the support of education projects on the campaign page and by viewing the overall impact we’re making towards the U.N. Millennium Development Goals and other projects around the world.

On our blog, we’ll be sharing stories about the importance of supporting education projects around the world. We have some great guests posts lined up and we’re excited to share them with you!

Did you know that there are 115 million children around the world without primary education? And that 61.5 million of them are female?

In less developed countries, this translates to 1 out of every 3 children not attending school. Lower literacy rates are linked to higher poverty, HIV/AIDS, health issues, and great gender inequality, and more.

We’re excited to announce that Jolkona is partnering with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide on our first corporate-sponsored giving campaign called MatchED. From September 13th to October 13th, any donation you make through Jolkona towards one of our 17 education projects will be matched, dollar-for-dollar by Waggener Edstrom, up to $5,000.

For each donation you make, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation as well as the impact for the matched donation. So make an investment in education today and double your impact!

You can support the MatchED campaign, follow our progress and our total impact on our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, #WEMatchED).

We’d like to thank Waggener Edstrom for their generosity and their leadership. Together, we can make a real global impact by investing in education this month!

Hello from India! These past few weeks have flown by and I am finally beginning to feel somewhat settled here in the bustling, ever-vibrant city of Hyderabad. My first official duty included site visits out to five of the six schools that the Rural Development Foundation (RDF) operates. This was my first ever in-depth taste of rural India, and I was excited to get a sense of the lifestyles of these students, especially the impact an RDF education is making on their lives. The multi-school tour began with Kalleda, the flagship school established in 1996; which, having been established first, has received the most funding, resources, and attention of all the schools.

Kalleda Morning Assembly

Kalleda Morning Assembly

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Thanks to the generous support of the Jolkona community, we have raised almost $4,000 for our partner, Barakat, to help families displaced by the floods in Pakistan! As a result of your donations, the 70-75 households that took shelter in Attock, Punjab have all been taken care of. We’re excited to announce that this project is now completely sold out!

In our last blog post about Pakistan, we discussed how much of the $1.3 billion raised for Haiti’s earthquake relief still remains unused. Jolkona and our partner have learned from this experience and have decided to cap the Pakistan project at this point since our non-profit partner does not have the capacity to distribute additional funds for flood relief outside of the village they work in. You can rest assured that YOUR donations to this project are being used for aid and distributed to the families affected by the floods. Everyone who has made a donation will receive a proof of impact as soon as the gifts are implemented.

Thanks to your help, we were able to meet the immediate needs of the affected families who took refuge in Attock. We are working hard with our partner to add another project which will provide long-term benefits for these families.

Unfortunately, the need in Pakistan is still great. The UN reports that the flooding in the Sindh province of Pakistan is going from “bad to worse.” Whether you’ve given to our project or not, we encourage you to give what you can to other relief organizations working in Pakistan. See the short list of organizations we recommend below:

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Within 30 seconds of reading this you can get a seven-day weather forecast for Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, or Tokyo. You can learn how vaccinations work, get instructions on how to construct a pig pen, and even learn the definition of poverty… in Japanese. The point being, we live in an information rich world. With 1.7 billion internet users, some of us clearly have access to limitless amounts of information that the remaining 5.3 billion do not. However, when one goes further and looks at the billions who do not even have access a public library, the world’s 72 million children who are not enrolled in school, or 774 million that are illiterate, this information gap becomes almost unimaginable, but its consequences are very real.

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Somehow, the lyrics to the old Peaches and Herb classic ‘Reunited’ are on repeat in my head as I finish clean-up from my goodbye party here in Seattle. I’ve been home for about two months from my latest bout of career adventures in Toronto, Canada and although it’s been nice to unwind and reunite with family and old friends, I’ve found myself eagerly anticipating a whole different kind of reunion.

On July 30th, 2010 I will reunite with India – my country of birth but also a country that has become foreign to me after having gone over a decade without a visit. The anticipation of such a reunion fills me with many overwhelming emotions – excitement, fear, joy, nervousness, and at the best of times, an insatiable need to dance crazily to my favorite Bollywood hits. My mind is abuzz with incessant questions – Will I be accepted? Will I feel Indian? Will I be able to handle living there? But somehow in the background hums a current of calm knowingness that this is the homecoming I’ve been yearning for.

What adds to this sense of calm is my observations of friends and other second generation Indians who, despite having been raised abroad, have slipped comfortably and successfully into study and work positions in India. Their tales consistently include exciting adventures, travels, and, above all, a recognition of parts of themselves within the culture there. Confidence boosted, I too, set forth on a journey of self-discovery. 

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