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Nelson Mandela passed away on Dec. 5. In his honor, we have changed the main image on Jolkona’s homepage this week:

The banner will resume linking to Standing With the Philippines, our holiday campaign to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors, after Mandela’s funeral this weekend.

We also highlighted Mandela’s wise words about the power of education at the top of our first Give Together newsletter earlier this year:

EducationJuly2013

Bill and Melinda Gates and other global nonprofit leaders have stepped forward to praise Mandela’s work — not just as a statesman, but as an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised. Jolkona co-founder Adnan Mahmud “wasn’t lucky enough to ever be in the same room as Mandela,” but was nevertheless inspired to write a new Huffington Post column sharing his own view of this man’s legacy:

Mandela’s Gift: How to be Loved by the People

Why was Mandela so special? What makes him worthy of this attention?

In fact, the detractors have already begun to surface. Some say he was a violent guy. He was a communist. He disapproved of U.S. policies. He neglected his family. His presidency was mired by corruption and economic problems.

Yet no one can deny the power of his legacy…

Check out the rest of the column over at The Huffington Post. We also currently have eight projects you can support in Africa via our Give Direct program, ranging from funding elementary school teachers in Zambia to providing financial services for people in Ghana.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Today is National Philanthropy Day, and what better way to celebrate than to Give Together? Take today to recognize and appreciate the positive impact the philanthropic community — you included! — has had on our world.

Our third and final Give Together partner for November, Dagbé, works to alleviate extreme poverty by providing healthcare and education to youths victimized by child labor and human trafficking. With your help, Dagbé can give some of the most vulnerable children in West Africa a chance at a better life. In the organization’s own words:

What’s your mission, and why? What inspires your organization?

We work with local care providers to provide basic housing, food, and restore social stability, access to education, and healthcare to orphans, victims of child trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, and destitute poverty, as identified by local authorities. Our vision is to provide support for the wellbeing of children in crisis situations, and foster an environment to allow them to develop into healthy, educated, and productive members of society.

So many Beninese children need someone to provide them with life-changing opportunities. Instead of living day-by-day working long hours just to get their next meal, we want these children to be able to go to school, enjoy their childhoods, and be set up for long-term success, and this is what drives us.

What’s your project for this month’s Give Together campaign?

Provide Critical Care to Keep Children from Being Further Victimized by Human Trafficking

What’s the impact of every $150 that Give Together members raise for your organization?

  • $150 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family (costs of staying at our center, investigation, transport, etc.)
  • $250 will help reunite a trafficked child with their family and provide them with school or vocational training for one year to encourage stability and progress.
  • $500 will provide for school fees and expenses for five trafficked children per year.
  • $1500 funds an anti-trafficking training seminar for 50 people. Raising awareness is critical to putting an end to child trafficking in Benin. These change agents are trained to prevent, identify, and report cases of trafficking and the training seminars have proved very effective.

In a nutshell, why should Give Together members support your project this month?

Dagbé is currently the only organization offering direct care services to children in crisis situations in this region in central Benin. Our efforts are critical to the children’s wellbeing. Our time spent living and working in the community ensures that the effectiveness of every dollar is maximized. We are committed to serving these children and this community.

We love impact reports at Jolkona. Do you have a favorite story you can share about how your organization changed someone’s life?

Our anti-trafficking training seminars have proved very fruitful. They are very well organized and attended by approximately 50 members of the community. They are also broadcast over the local radio to an estimated 15,000 listeners. Each training seminar has produced immediate results. A year ago, community members alerted us to a trafficking case only three days after the seminar. We were able to rescue a little girl who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. We cared for her and were able to reunite her with some of her relatives and send her to school. We also worked with authorities to bring the traffickers to justice.

This past August, after another anti-trafficking training, we were alerted to the case of a ten-year old boy who had been taken from southern Benin to the north to work in masonry. Due to the long hours and harsh conditions, he had fled and walked nearly 100 kilometers until he was found by one of the recent training seminar attendees – hungry, with swollen feet, and in poor health. He stayed with us for several weeks while he recovered and we worked to find the best possible solution for him. His father passed away when he was young, but we reunited him with mother in southern Benin. She has very few resources to care for him, much less send him to school, and we are thrilled to be paying for all of his school expenses as well as most of his basic care needs.

These children would normally go unnoticed. Child labor and child trafficking is an issue in Benin, and many people are unaware of just how far some of these children get pushed and exploited. By raising awareness of the issue we are making a difference, with the added impact of caring for the children in the aftermath of an instance of trafficking and providing opportunities for them to have better futures.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Dagbé is thrilled to continue partnering with Jolkona. In April 2013, we were honored to receive some Jolkona team members as guests in Benin and together we witnessed the positive impact that we achieved by working together.

Remember to Give Together, and check back on the Jolkona Blog for more installments of the Partner Spotlight series.

Keep up with everything Jolkona by following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Okay, not really. But seven Jolkona volunteers, including co-founders Nadia Khawaja Mahmud and Adnan Mahmud, are traveling to Africa to spend the holidays visiting our partner organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Their mission: Experience Jolkona’s impact first-hand.

We’ve reached a critical point in our mission and giving model where seeing the actual impact the Jolkona community is making, face-to-face with those we help, is invaluable. Aside from the humanitarian aspect, the goal of this trip is to learn how we can continue to move the needle with our giving platform in the most effective way possible.

It’s one thing to facilitate change through our web platform, but it’s another thing to experience the impact we’re making on the ground and help tell those stories. All while gaining a better understanding how donations change a person’s life, strengthening our partnerships, and what we can do to continue to make giving more impactful around the world.

Team Africa will be visiting partners at the following projects:

To celebrate, Team Africa is launching two campaigns as part of Jolkona’s 12 Days of Giving. Both campaigns support projects that Team Africa will be visiting during their trip.

  1. Provide clean water for about 400 rural kids in Kenya

    By supporting this project, a donation of $100 will provide ten locally-produced water filters to provide clean water for about 40 children in Kenya. Each donation of filters includes training on water safety and filter maintenance and helps ensure environmental sustainability for these communities.

  2. Help 20 rural youth attend a soccer tournament and receive public health education in Kenya

    This holiday season, we’re asking our friends and family to please help us to give about scholarships to 20 kids living in rural villages in Kenya the opportunity to attend a 4-day soccer tournament where they will also receive health screening, preventative health care, and public health education. You can help promote health awareness by donating $27.

When you contribute the full amount to a project, you will receive a proof of impact for your donation. You can also give  different amounts, starting at $5, though you will not receive a proof for a partial gift.

Stay tuned to our blog, on Facebook and Twitter as we share Team Africa’s photos, videos, and stories published from Africa and after. Also be sure to follow Nadia (@nadiamahmud) and Adnan (@adnanmahmud) on Twitter as they’re posting some great live updates.

Please Note: We are pleased to announce this trip is a 100% funded by the volunteers who have graciously given of their own time and money. No funds from Jolkona have been used to sponsor any portion of this trip.

GET INVOLVED!