1. Everyone Needs Good Neighbors

    Villagers Defend Us from Attackers

    By Thomas Keown

    Right from the beginning of building our first home we were careful and patient to build strong relationships with our neighbors and progress at a pace that would make sure we were seen as part of the community and never as ‘outsiders’.

    Simple things like providing fresh water, access to mangos from our trees, basic splints and bandages if someone was hurt and couldn’t treat themselves. Just being a good neighbor really.


    When some thieves attacked our school construction site earlier this month we saw, once again, the value of those relationships our Kenyan staff team so slowly built up, and we saw the close bond our neighbors have with us and the girls.

    You may have heard rumors of the attack and so, now that we know all the facts, we want to share them with you, and then invite you to help us provide extra security to keep our girls even safer.

    Here’s a report from our staff ‘on the ground’ in their words:

    “We have now established that the motive of the attack was purely theft and not related to any of the news reports you have probably seen in recent months about two violent incidents several hours up the coast from us.

    Their first move was to attack the watchman, who would have been the stumbling block for their mission.  He was badly wounded as he tried to escape. He is recovering from a bad back injury. Please be praying for him. 

    The villagers in a desperate attempt to save the watchman, attacked and killed one of the criminals and badly wounded another. The community spirit in this village is commendable. The police came in within no time and arrested the injured criminal. He is helping them with investigations.

    In the interest of security for the girls and everyone else, and with a lot of consultations, we have hired the services of a security company. This means an extra cost, but it had to be done. 

    We have lived in this community for over ten years now, and we have never had any incidences of crime. The sudden change is worrying. But we can probably guess why.

    With all the insecurity in the coastal region in the recent past, thugs are bound to take advantage. We are earnestly praying that peace will prevail and things will go back to normal, but for now we have to do whatever we can to ensure the safety of the children and the property you have helped us acquire. So join us in this prayer.

    And thanks again to you for being there. Sincere appreciation to the trustees, the board members, the staff and our international family for being there, for the tireless efforts to follow up the matter, for praying, for calling  and for all.

    God richly bless you.”

    Mudzini Kwetu Staff 

    If you would like Partner with us in providing extra safety:

    The costs of the new security system will be: 

    System installation (home and school per month): $345

    Nighttime security guard (home per month): $341

    Nighttime security guard (school site per month): $341

    The total to make these two sites secure and provide peace of mind is: $1027 per month

    If 99 people commit to $11 per month we can rest easy

    If 50 people commit to $21 per month we can rest easy.

    If 25 people commit to $42 per month we can rest easy

    To provide this safety system for the children, click here

    And thank you! And onwards.

    Thomas Keown

  2. I’M GOING TO BE GRUMPY. JOIN ME?

    By Thomas Keown
    Originally posted at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/thomaskeown

    I’m going to be grumpy. For most of 5 days.

    I’m an often self-indulgent man who will not be able to indulge. And people are going to notice. And that’s half the reason I’m joining people around the world on the Live Below the Line challenge of living on less than £1 ($1.50) per day to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2bn people who don’t have a choice.

    And I want people to ask why. I want them to ask me what I ate today and why I’m not having a real meal and why am I whining so much and not being as funny as usual (my little joke there)…I want them to ask so I can tell them. Because it will make them interested. And my friends are talented people. Get them interested and they can do great things.

    Growing up in the UK or the US we all think we are ‘aware’ of the world and ‘aware’ of the issues affecting people. But really we aren’t so aware. Very few of us know what it is to be hungry. Really. Very few of us really have to count our change at the grocery shop (or more commonly in my case the restaurant) to buy what we want to eat. Our life is utterly unusual in a global context.

    After 6 years working in Kenya, I’ve seen how going there and seeing life there has made my peers not just more aware, but actively aware. And eager to shift resources from where they are, to where they are needed. And that’s the second half of my reason for doing this madness…by inviting people to sponsor my challenge I don’t just just have an answer to the ‘why are you doing this go on have a pie’ but I can invite them to help provide an answer to the causes of hunger and injustice by equipping Many Hopes staff on the ground to do justice where it is needed.

    Not everyone has to go to Kenya to see things. The Live Below the Line challenge is a powerful way to help us right here at home to see and talk about the choices that most of the world faces every day. And we don’t have to leave our chair.

    1.2 billion people live on less than £1 per day. They have no choice. I have all the choices in the world. I choose to ask you to join me in standing with them for a week. And see what happens.”

    If you are up for taking the challenge with me…go here and join me by signing up with other Many Hopes volunteers: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/uk/partner/manyhopes - See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/thomaskeown#sthash.bSeWqvoK.dpuf

  3. Live with me on £1 a Day for 5 days?

    By Thomas Keown, Founder, Many Hopes

    I’m going to be grumpy. For most of 5 days.

    I’m an often self-indulgent man who will not be able to indulge. And people are going to notice. And that’s half the reason I’m joining people around the world on the Live Below the Line challenge of living on less than £1 ($1.50) per day to raise funds and awareness for the 1.2bn people who don’t have a choice.

    And I want people to ask why. I want them to ask me what I ate today and why I’m not having a real meal and why am I whining so much and not being as funny as usual (my little joke there)…I want them to ask so I can tell them. Because it will make them interested. And my friends are talented people. Get them interested and they can do great things.

    Growing up in the UK or the US we all think we are ‘aware’ of the world and ‘aware’ of the issues affecting people. But really we aren’t so aware. Very few of us know what it is to be hungry. Really. Very few of us really have to count our change at the grocery shop (or more commonly in my case the restaurant) to buy what we want to eat. Our life is utterly unusual in a global context.

    After 6 years working in Kenya, I’ve seen how going there and seeing life there has made my peers not just more aware, but actively aware. And eager to shift resources from where they are, to where they are needed. And that’s the second half of my reason for doing this madness…by inviting people to sponsor my challenge I don’t just just have an answer to the ‘why are you doing this go on have a pie’ but I can invite them to help provide an answer to the causes of hunger and injustice by equipping Many Hopes staff on the ground to do justice where it is needed.

    Not everyone has to go to Kenya to see things. The Live Below the Line challenge is a powerful way to help us right here at home to see and talk about the choices that most of the world faces every day. And we don’t have to leave our chair.

    1.2 billion people live on less than £1 per day. They have no choice. I have all the choices in the world. I choose to ask you to join me in standing with them for a week. And see what happens.”

    If you are up for taking the challenge with me…go here and join me by signing up with other Many Hopes volunteers: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/uk/partner/manyhopes

  4. Making an Impact

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    We are often approached by supporters and volunteers on how they can become more involved in our efforts in Kenya. And, while we would do encourage visits to Kenya and our community, not everyone can find the time and resources. So … how can you make an impact? 

    There are ways, tangible ways, to become more involved right from your computer. 

    Read More

  5. Volunteer Interview: Kristen Giambusso

    Q: Tell a little about yourself and what you do for a living.

    A: My background is in public health, more specifically global health and development. I am currently working at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland as a project manager and research coordinator. I hope to shift my career back towards international health in the near future.

    Q: Do you have a specific role within the Many Hopes SF chapter? 

    A: I don’t have a specific role other than volunteer. We are a small group in San Francisco so all the volunteers kind of do it all. 

    Q: How long have you been involved, and how did you become introduced to Many Hopes?

    A: I became involved in November 2011. I attended grad school with someone who was involved with the Many Hopes Boston chapter (Cristin Marona). When I told her I was moving out West, she put me in touch with the Many Hopes SF crew, which was pretty new at that point.

    Q: What made you get on board?

    A: I developed an interest in education in the developing world while studying for my Masters in Public Health. I was able to spend some time in Zimbabwe on projects related to education, which gave me a real-world view of the importance of educating children. After meeting with Michelle (Greer) and hearing about Many Hopes, I was compelled to help out. I liked the idea of it being a well-established organization but with a small presence locally, making it possible to get really involved and be a part of building the SF chapter.

    Read More

  6. Summer Reading List: Four Picks

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    By Amanda Makulec, DC Volunteer and National Strategist for Many Hopes

    My summer reading list tends to look a little bit different than the ones you find peppered around the internet: not too much romance, and a lot of development books. Navigating the Kindle store’s list of books on Africa, development, girls, and women can be tough, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites (including fiction & nonfiction) in case you’re looking for an insightful read for your next beach vacation (or metro ride). Any of these will give you some additional insights into the challenges faced by women and girls around the world—including our girls at Many Hopes—or into the international development world more broadly.

    I’ve ranked each from one sunshine (: light summer reading) to three sunshines ( heavy on politics, data, and more details). All are interesting, thoughtful & insightful reads.

    Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know

    David Bornstein and Susan Davis map out the history of social entrepreneurship (the idea of implementing projects and creating business for social benefit, much like what we do at Many Hopes), how it’s impacting lives around the world, and what you can do to be part of this era of global changemakers.

    The Poisonwood Bible ☼☼

    Set in 1959 in the Belgian Congo, The Poisonwood Bible tells the fictional a story of a southern Baptist missionary family living in Africa in an era of transition from colonial empires to local rule. While a number of books share insights into this period in history, I love this one in particular for narrating the story with the voices of the five women in the Price family to give different perspectives in each chapter. You’ll finish the book struck by the day-to-day challenges of life in rural Africa, and inspired by how differently challenging circumstances can affect different people within one family.

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    Read More

  7. Discover Host Committee Members Share Why They Chose To Invest In Her

    On June 19, Discover Many Hopes was held at the Altman Building in New York City and more than 650 guests attended the gala to learn why they should “Invest in Her.” 

    Billionaire Magazine recently shared the stories of two Discover Many Hopes host committee members. You can read the stories of Singer-songwriter/model Karen Elson and Miss Universe Olivia Culpo on Billionaire.com to learn why they decided to get involved and support Many Hopes.

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  8. What we Discovered

    By Thomas Keown, Founder 

    It’s a strange business. For me personally, the contrast between growing up raising sheep on the island of Ireland and being a grown-up raising money on the island of Manhattan, will always be a bit of a double life. But, the last three weeks have seemed so for the entirety of Many Hopes.

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    Twenty-one days ago Catherine Kawira, our child psychologist in our first four homes in Kenya, and I were touring the small rural schools and churches of Northern Ireland. She visited some of the folks, who have been supporting Many Hopes from the start and those in our grassroots chapters, who have brought us to where we are.

    Read More

  9. Gender Equality: Boys and men included in the conversation

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    By Brooke Prokopchak, DC Volunteer 

    Recently, this article about boys leading the fight against gender-based discrimination in Rwanda caught my attention. It talks about how some Rwandan males are enduring public ridicule for challenging cultural stereotypes around the roles of women in their society. Really, all they’re doing is sweeping the floors of their compound, but that’s enough to induce finger-pointing and mockery by their neighbors.

    There are numerous initiatives, both domestic and international, to fight damaging and often dangerous cultural and religious assumptions about the fundamental worth and societal purpose of females. But it doesn’t take much investigating to realize that most of these initiatives are spearheaded by women. Thus, most organizations working to address gender-based discrimination are quickly lumped into the category of “women’s issues,” but unfairly so.

    Read More

  10. How to Fundraise: Happy Hours

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    By Katie Meyer, DC Volunteer

    Often people think of networking when they think about Washington, DC. But how do all those networking opportunities happen? Happy hours.

    Shortly after arriving to DC and attending numerous happy hours to meet, socialize and network with people, I realized these are a huge opportunity for fundraising and also awareness about important issues. After the Breaking Ground campaign began last fall, I racked my brain to think of ways to include my young professional friends who had limited cash, but were very interested in supporting Many Hopes. I approached bars that already had strong happy hours and spoke to their managers about partnering with Many Hopes.

    While first gaining the approval and support from our sponsoring bar were critical steps, the real work came with marketing the happy hour event. Asking friends to bring their friends brought in the majority of the funds raised that night, but another a huge part came from explaining Many Hopes to the people who happened to be at Rock Bottom Brewery that night. We shared stories of how we each became involved in Many Hopes and why the organization was worthy of their time and money.

    Overall, the event was a huge success not only in the amount of money raised, but more so in the partnership we gained with our sponsoring restaurant, the renewed support from our friends, and the gained interest from strangers. The main lessons we took from this fundraiser were:

    - Utilize what you know: we went with the happy hour bars we knew best and relied on our friends to bring their network as well

    - Don’t be afraid to ask: we asked Rock Bottom for additional help and they welcomed further opportunities to market themselves and support our cause

    - Never miss an opportunity to share the mission: many of our friends came and brought more friends, but we did not miss the chance to tell others about Many Hopes and what it means to us