It was three years ago this month that we left for back to back expeditions in Kenya with 26 people on the two teams. Looking back on that, we were definitely crazy! We really didn’t know what we were doing, but got on that plane with faith that it would all work out.
And, it did.
Here we are, three years later, about to leave on the 13th expedition to Kenya for 100 Humanitarians. By the end of this trip, we will have taken 180 people to Kenya. About 20% have come more than once, and Melodee will have come 5 times!
Over those three years, we have worked with 50+ families, teaching them gardening skills, and providing goats, chickens, and cows for self-reliance and economic development. Our team has worked in 9 different communities, providing Days for Girls kits to over 4000 women and girls in schools and rescue centers. We have sponsored 30 kids in school, with 4 graduates and two more at the end of 2019. We have built two training centers in Bomet and Nkareta, to provide a central area for the families in our communities to learn to read and write, along with skills such as thermal cooking, first aid, and basic mending. We have started and helped develop two sewing centers that employ over a dozen families. We have held 5 big fundraising events, monthly sew-a-thons to make underwear, t-shirt dresses, and t-shirt bags, and have organized 6 Savers for School fees FUNDrives to raise money to help students in Kenya.
Our next team heads to Kenya in a few weeks, and we have some big projects to do!
1. Planting 50,000 trees, combining SeedballsKenya and seedlings. 2. Building a chicken coop at our mentoring center to provide chickens and eggs to local families. 3. Distributing 200 Days for Girls reusable feminine hygiene kits in two schools. 4. Providing School Fees for 25 students for their 3rd term in school for 2019. 5. Planting 20 garden towers for families to provide vegetables and nutrition for ten families. 6. Building a water storage system at our training center to provide clean water and capture rainwater. 7. Provide goats for milk for ten families.
If you would like to contribute to this fundraiser, you can do so on Facebook, or on our website.
Save the Date: HumaniJam 2019
We will be hosting HumaniJam 2019 on Monday, September 30th to wrap up our September of Service initiative. Save the date! We can’t tell you yet who will be performing this year, but you are definitely going to want to be there! Details will be announced soon!
Upcoming Projects: 50,000 Trees
It is getting drier every year in Kenya, and we are working with other organizations to plant millions of trees over the next 5 years. We can do this by throwing Kenya Seedballs on our expeditions, that are indigenous trees that will grow quickly. Our goal is 50,000 trees per expedition. We have four expeditions a year, so in 5 years, that is one million trees!
Our May $5 Friday Fundraiser is for all of the projects that we are working on in June on our expedition! See our list above. We are fundraising $10,000 and are 20% funded right now. 100% of your donations will go to these projects!
We had a successful April FUNDrive, and now have begun gathering items for our August 2019 drive! If you are having a yard sale this summer, instead of taking your leftovers to D.I. or Savers, bring them to us!
100 Humanitarians International would not be possible without you. We are an all volunteer team, and we don’t pay salaries (not even in Kenya!) so all of our fundraising can go towards the self-reliance and economic development projects we focus on. We are so grateful for every dollar donated, every bag of clothing, every event that you participate in, and every prayer. Asante sana, rafikis!
Since our first expedition in May 2016, we have taught Days for Girls workshops in schools, churches, homes, and rescue centers in Kenya. From the streets of Nairobi to the rolling hills of The Mau Forest, we have donated over 3500 reusable feminine hygiene kits to women and girls, including education in hygiene, self-defense, and reproduction. We have helped build and establish two sewing centers, where women in Kenya have become trained Days for Girls Ambassadors, as well as learning sewing and business skills. Because of this, they are able to support their families, and pay for school fees for their children.
Kenya is the 8th Poorest Country in the World
Many women in Kenya struggle with their monthly menstruation, often resorting to sleeping with men in order to buy sanitary towels. There are just over $51 million people in Kenya, and the median age is 19. Kenya currently ranks 8th on the extreme poverty list, and 11 million Kenyans are currently living below the poverty line. In Narok County, where most of our projects are based, 49% of the county is living in poverty.
A reusable feminine hygiene kit can last for up to 3 years when taken care of, and can keep a girl in school without missing due to her period. That is a very big deal for girls in Secondary School, where often pregnancy and poverty cause them to drop out. 100 Humanitarians International commits to fundraising for 1000 kits per year, hiring the women and men who work in the sewing centers to make the kits, keeping the economy in Kenya. Each kit is $10, so our annual fundraising goal is $10,000. Every dollar makes a difference!
Christine Khamasi – Women’s Initiatives Director in Kenya
In this video, you will hear from our Women’s Initiatives Director in Kenya, who also runs the Zariel Days for Girls Enterprise. Her name is Christine Khamasi, and we have worked with her for four years to support her vision for women and girls in Kenya. She comes with us to lead the feminine hygiene workshops on every expedition, and shares her story, which IS the Days for Girls story, with our teams.
Women’s empowerment in Kenya is all about saving time and creating opportunities for education and income. Much of a woman’s day in rural communities is spent gathering water and firewood, and cooking over an open fire inside their huts. It’s dark, smokey, and often they develop respiratory issues as a result.
In addition, women and girls often struggle with menstruation and having access to feminine hygiene products to manage their periods. Often girls will be forced to drop out of school after missing several days a month due to menstruation.
Even if there is feminine hygiene products available, underwear can be scarce, especially for women in the slums and girls in rural Kenya.
Beginning in the Summer of 2015, we helped establish a Days for Girls Enterprise in Nairobi, assisting with fundraising for Christine Sakali to attend the Days for Girls University in Uganda. Christine already had a sewing center where she was employing women from the slums. After becoming certified as an Ambassador for Days for Girls, she began sewing the reusable feminine hygiene kits to distribute to girls in Kenya.
Rather than bring kits from the United States, we wanted to support Christine’s enterprise, and keep the economy in Kenya. We began fundraising for $10 per kit, to allow Christine to purchase supplies and pay her team to sew the kits. Each kit can last up to 3 years when taken care of, allowing a girl to stay in school, rather than miss due to menstruation.
We also helped establish a second Days for Girls Enterprise in Bomet, Kenya, led by our Community Director, Anita Byegon. Between the two enterprises, we have distributed over 5000 kits to women and girls in Kenya, with a goal of 1000 kits each year. The workshops include hygiene, self-defense, and reproductive training, encouraging girls to avoid sex and stay in school.
Who would have thought a chance meeting in the spring of 2018 would have placed me where I am today? Teaching thermal cooking to women in rural communities in Kenya.
Of all things, it was at a sew-a-thon, sewing underwear that I first met Heidi Totten. I knew she ran some kind of humanitarian thing and I wanted to see what she thought about the thermal cooking bag I called a HopeSaC, which stands for Hope, Service and Charity.
Long story short, Heidi took 5 HopeSaC kits to Kenya in June of 2018. A HopeSaC kit includes pre-sewn components for a fabric thermal cooker. Once filled with insulation it can be used to cook, saving time, fuel and money.
The first thing Heidi said to me after returning from her June trip was “I want you on the trip in October with more of those HopeSaCs”.
Like I would say “no”. 🙂
Where does one even start when sharing Kenya? The trip was over-the-top amazing! I loved everything about the experience. But of course, my time sharing HopeSaC with the people was the activity closest to my heart.
We took 30 HopeSaC kits on the October 2019 trip. Some of the kits went to Bomet, others to the Mara and the Rescue center in Narok. But the two days we spent in Nkareta were something special.
The days were hot. Much of the time was spent building GardenSaCs/towers at the homes of people in the community. I remember at one point someone coming to me and saying, “Cindy, you have got to see this”. After which I was escorted into a kitchen. It was actually a mud hut, inside the door was a short walkway which lead to one small room with three-bed areas. In the center toward the back wall, I could see the glow of embers in a version of a clay rocket stove. It was U shaped leaving one side open to feed kindling and keep the fire going, a pot sitting on top. Yes, the room was hot, unbearably, and smoky, my eyes were burning, but what affected me the most was the darkness. It was almost pitch black inside with no electricity to turn on a light.
All I could think about was “this is why I do this” one cooker at a time.
We spent some time showing the women how to use the HopeSaCs. They gathered around and were listening, watching and asking questions. All with skepticism showing clearly on their faces. They seriously thought I was crazy. What made it worse was that the pot I had brought from the hotel could not be placed on the open flame so they had to pour boiling water over the rice instead of bringing it to a boil. Not something I would suggest doing by the way.
Their skepticism was short lived. Just over an hour later I opened the HopeSaC to reveal beautifully cooked rice. The room was abuzz with excited and surprised women speaking quickly to each other.
They liked the HopeSaCs! 🙂
A few of weeks later I received pictures showing the women working together, teaching each other how to use the HopeSaC cookers. I love those pictures and what they represent!
I leave again next week, making my way back to Kenya. It has been four months since my first trip. 100 Humanitarian and The HopeSaC Project will be hosting a ceremony in Nkareta for 25 women who are now HopeSaC Certified Users. We will be taking HopeSaC kits with us for 15 more families in Nkareta, and more to Bomet where 20 families will start learning and teaching each other the art of retained heat cooking.
Here we are, it is almost spring again, one short year later.
We get asked often how to run a Facebook Fundraiser, because in the past year they have been very successful for us. We began our monthly $5 Friday Fundraisers in July 2018. Prior to that, we would have $5 Friday Fundraisers in our 100 Humanitarians International Facebook group, but because of analytics, it wouldn’t get seen very much. We were driving donations to our website and not right on Facebook. We launched our first $5 Friday Fundraiser with a goal to raise the funds for 300 Days for Girls reusable feminine hygiene kits. It was hugely successful, and we were able to fund the remaining kits we needed to donate to girls in Kenya for 2018. Our goal with our Facebook Fundraisers, is to also build our 100 Humanitarians International Facebook Group and Facebook Page.
1. Choose a Cause
When you choose a nonprofit to fundraise for on Facebook, 100% of your donation goes to that nonprofit. When you choose a specific person or project outside of a nonprofit, the fees are taken out. Funds are not sent until generally 45-70 days after your fundraiser ends, so be aware of that. This is not a fast way to fundraise, so plan a few months in advance if you can. We recommend organizations where at least 75% of your donation or more goes to projects and not to salaries.
2. Choose a Project
If you are choosing a nonprofit, try to determine where your fundraising efforts will go. Is it towards a project, is it administrative costs? People are more likely to donate, if it is to something specific. For example, when someone does a birthday fundraiser for 100 Humanitarians International on Facebook, I always ask them where they want the funds to go, once we receive them. We have four different areas that we fundraise for:
Facebook has default pictures for fundraisers that have nothing to do with the nonprofit or cause you are raising funds for. We recommend gathering pictures and stories that you want to use, to help people understand why you are fundraising, what the cause means to you, and how you would like it to help. The more often you post during your fundraiser, the more likely it is to show up in the newsfeeds of the people you have invited to participate. We recommend that if you are going to host a fundraiser to make the commitment to post at least 3 times a week during the duration.
4. Choose the Length of Time
We have found that the best length of time for $250-500 fundraisers is about two weeks, and above that is around four weeks.
5. Thank Every Donor!
Facebook will notify you, as the host, when someone donates. You can go in and thank every single donor and personalize it. We also like to keep track of the people who have donated on a spreadsheet, so that we can contact them to show them where their money went, invite them to events and to go on expeditions, and to invite them to fundraisers in the future.
We hope this gives you some ideas! To see where our $5 Facebook Fundraiser donations go, and to get notified of new monthly fundraisers, join our Facebook Group!
Do you want to come to Kenya? Check out our Expeditions!
In the Fall of 2017, we visited Nkareta for the first time. Nkareta is a community of around 3000 people, just outside of Narok. Our goal at the time was to do family assessments, which we like to do when we “open” a new area. We met Jacob, who is now our Community Director in that area, and he introduced us to two families he wanted us to work with, the Peres and Kirimogos.
Jacob, the Nkareta Community Director
We started off at the Peres’ house, and spent some time talking with the different members of the family. Noosonkon and Nkulena Pere have 6 children, ranging in age from Class 1 (first grade) to University age. They have 16 acres of land that they can rent for cattle grazing, and wanted to grow and sell vegetables. They have a local water hole that is really dirty, and when it dries up, they have to walk 4 km to get water.
Meeting The Pere Family in Kenya
The Kirimogos, Ntabuat and Ksiuku, also have 6 children that attend the local public day school. They have 9 acres of land, no animals, and would like to grown and sell vegetables. They also have four adopted girls who are nieces that they help support.
Our assessment was that we should start with garden boxes for both families, and then move on to animals later. We launched a $5 Friday Fundraiser on Facebook to start building our gardening and tree projects in this community.
After returning from Kenya, we started discussions with Jacob about how to accomplish this. The McMurdos were living in Kenya at the time, and agreed to go and help the families build garden boxes. They were built in January 2018. At the same time, Jacob showed us the garden towers, which were cheaper than building the boxes, and wouldn’t be subject to termites. We decided that moving forward, we would use the towers, with plans to build the first one in June 2018. In the meantime, we also wanted to see about using some of the land that the Peres and Kirimogos had to start tree farms for seedlings that we could transplant to other families in the area. We started creating big plans for how we could help support the community in self-reliance skills. More on that, later!