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!
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!
Its funny how life is sometimes. You can be going along all hunky dory doing your thing and then you make one small decision and it changes your whole life. I met Heidi Totten in January of 2017 and began to learn all about her trips to Kenya and 100 humanitarians. We were talking one day in September and I was telling her how I like to sew and create my own patterns. She asked if I wanted to go to Kenya- if you’ve met Heidi, you know she does this all the time. I said yes, at some point, but what can I do now?
She asked me if I could make and underwear pattern.
….This is where everything in my life began to change….
I said yes.
An underwear pattern. How often do you think about underwear here in the United States? Maybe once a day, –you know to make sure you put on a clean pair. The point is we rarely think about it, its just part of all the other stuff we don’t really think about here. But that’s not the case in Kenya and other developing countries. There are people- Women and girls who don’t even know what underwear or panties are!
Talk about an eye opener for me. I will never be ungrateful for the things I have ever again.
Heidi told me Christine’s story, and she told me the story of these beautiful girls that missed school every month, had to sit on cardboard for a week and wait while they bled and life went by. These girls that are taught to get a boyfriend, so the boy can get them what they need (feminine hygiene products) to help them stop bleeding and/or sex and then pregnancy. These girls then end up dropping out of school, in early marriages with FGM, prostitution and being young mothers on the streets. For these girls, a pair of underwear is life changing.
Yes, I said yes!
I have sons,There’s like 3 styles of underwear for boys. That’s it 1, 2, 3. Style A,B, or C.
Then you look at girls and it’s like you need freaking library card catalog system just to find ONE style!
Hipster, boy shorts, granny, bikini, skimpy bikini, high cut, low cut, boxer cut, and who knows how many others! But wait there’s more then there’s like hipster style A, B and C…
Anyways musings of a pattern designer.
As I did my research, I started drawing up ideas for the pattern. Every time I finished a drawing I would here a voice in my head that said, “its to much, keep it simple.” I went through several drawings always making them more and more simple, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t right yet.
One day I was looking at pictures from 100 humanitarians past expeditions. I realized I needed to make this pattern in a way that it would not need anything extra but the fabric and thread. Did you know most underwear styles here use elastic? I found out later, elastic is hard to find in Kenya.
I made the underwear pattern in eight sizes, with three pattern pieces, no extras. Fabric and thread. Simple.
Heidi and I met up and I gave her the pattern to take to Christine, who would be making underwear from the pattern, in Kenya.
Then she asks, “Can you make this pattern from a T-shirt?”
Yes, yes you can.
One pattern. 8 sizes and you can make it from a T-shirt. Simple.
By small and simple things great things can happen.
Marissa Waldrop is a wife and Mother to 4 sons. She has always had a passion for creative expression and to inspire others to do their best. Marissa has a Bachelors of Science degree in Communication from Brigham Young Univ. Idaho, over 25 years of experience sewing and creating with fabric and other mediums, and over 5 years of experience as a leader in mentoring and coaching others to embrace creative expression and communication within themselves.
On my first trip to Kenya, we delivered a cow to a family in the Suswa area. One of our team members, Kaci, went above and beyond with her fundraising for lady named Elizabeth. We brought the cow to the local pastor’s house. We call him “Pastor Ben.” He helped us find Elizabeth though our boots-on-the-ground guys, Moses and David. Pastor Ben lives in the same area as Elizabeth, so we thought we’d bring the cow to his house and walk it to Elizabeth’s place.
Elizabeth lives roughly a mile away from Pastor Ben. To the best of my recollection, there was maybe one other house between the pastor and her house. The path we took led us down bumpy dirt roads, recently harvested fields, and ditches. It couldn’t have been a nicer day. Perfect temperature, perfect cloud coverage (very little–blue skies, white puffy clouds dotting the sky) … but that all paled in comparison to the experience itself.
As we walked the cow to Elizabeth’s place, we talked, we laughed, we stumbled, we laughed again, and we had a blast. Here we were, a modge-podge group of crazy Americans and one guy from India, and merrily walked down this dusty dirt path. I’d guess we were maybe the equivalent of roughly 2 blocks from her house when we started hearing something not us. We all kind of stopped in our tracks, wondering what the sound was.
In the distance, we could see a group of people walking toward us. I can’t speak for the rest of the group, but I found myself stepping up my pace to find out who these people were. As we got closer, David and Moses told us that the group coming toward us were the villagers and friends of Elizabeth. See, over there, in Kenya, when there’s cause for a family to celebrate, the whole village celebrates. As we got closer and closer, the noise became much more distinct–so much so that David and Moses identified the song that they were singing FOR US. It was a song of gratitude, prayer, and praise to God for bringing Elizabeth this cow.
The whole point of this cow is to help empower Elizabeth to become more financially independent. No, she’s not going to build herself a mansion on the funds this cow brings in, but she can do a lot of things with this cow: use and/or sell milk, churn butter and possibly sell some, have calves that she can, in turn, sell or use for meat … this cow becomes a source of empowerment for her and her family. It will help put her children through school and possibly on to college!
I don’t care how big or burly you are. I don’t care what your testosterone level is. If that kind of scene does not move you to tears, you have no soul. As one of the photographers, I found it nearly impossible to capture a good shot because my eyes were so blurred from tears cascading down my cheeks and soaking the dry, dusty road. My voice caught in my throat, a lump the size of lower Manhatten prevented me from breathing properly for a good few minutes as I drank in the entire scene.
It was in that moment that I realized that we weren’t really the ones changing lives; it was Kenya changing us–molding us to be better people, to show us a better way of living through giving thanks for all that we have had, currently have, and will ever have. It was so inspiring to walk with these people to their village, deliver the cow to Elizabeth, and drink chai tea with them.
Come with us. Your experiences will vary, but the emotions are the same.