Stories

Room to Dream: A Reflection on Rwanda

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
What connects us to a family whose members were murdered, or an HIV+ single mother living in abject poverty? A lot, says a genocide survivor who just returned from a visit to the homeland she still loves. Guest post by Marie Kagaju Laugharn.

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We Have Seen What These Women Can Do

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
Today's guest blog post features Kathleen Colson of The BOMA Project. The BOMA Project is a U.S. nonprofit and registered Kenyan NGO with a proven track record, measurable results and a transformative approach to alleviating poverty and building resiliency in the arid lands of rural Africa.

Its Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) replaces aid with sustainable income and helps women to “graduate” from extreme poverty by giving them the tools they need to start small businesses in their communities. With this new and diversified source of income, they can feed their families, pay for school fees and medical care, accumulate savings for long-term stability, survive drought and adapt to a changing climate.

The BOMA Project has been named one of 17 “Lighthouse Activities” worldwide by the United Nation’s Momentum for Change initiative.

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Vittana's New Bold Move

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
As an organization faces success, it also has to grapple with strategic questions. Today we feature Vittana, who has had a lot of success with their mircolending program for students around the world. This post gives us insight into their decision-making behind their most recent change.

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I want more. Now.

Saturday, March 1st, 2014
Guest writer Katy Geisert is a stay-at-home mom living an ordinary American life . . . except for her extraordinary part-time work for an organization called Catalytic Women, that brings women and men together in a synergy of giving that just may get Katy what she wants.—Now.

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What Rural Africa Can Teach America About Healthcare

Friday, February 28th, 2014
"Ihangane" means "to be patient" in Kinyarwanda, the native language of Rwanda. This week we feature a guest blog post by Wendy Leonard of The Ihangane Project (TIP), a healthcare and enterprise nonprofit working in a rural village hard hit by HIV and malnutrition. TIP believes that "With patience, one person at a time, one idea at a time, one project at a time, we can make a lasting positive impact on the lives of many!"

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Partnering for Peace: V-Peace Scholarships Send Survivors to School in the U. S. and the World’s Most Dangerous Places

Friday, February 14th, 2014
Sometimes, in a world where as many as 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will be raped in our lifetimes, and 1 woman in the Congo is raped every minute, we feel compelled to do something. We wanted to help wage peace in a powerful, lasting way, so we collaborated with V-Day to turn survivors into students. Read what’s possible when vision meets trust.

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Lamb’s-Head Stew: The Local Treat That Got This Widowed Mom off the Street

Saturday, February 8th, 2014
One moment changed Eulalia's life: Her husband died of a heart attack at age 34. She had to deal with her grief as well as become the sole breadwinner and a single parent for her three kids. Seven years later, she's moved her food-selling business from a street cart into a restaurant of her own: Her specialty is a Peruvian delicacy: lamb's-head stew. Part 5 of our 5-part series from Peru.

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Big City, Big Dreams

Saturday, February 1st, 2014
Feeling like she's always running in circles, Anali runs a small weaving microbusiness, studies accounting at university, and cares for her partner and daughter at home. She left a rural village, population 400, in the Andes Mountains to pursue her dreams in the city of Juliaca, and Anali is already banking on a brighter future for herself and her kids. Part 4 in our 5-part series from Peru.

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"This New Health Plan Forces Us Women to Focus on Our OWN Health"

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Healthy workers not only feel happier, they work more productively to earn higher incomes for their families. Freedom from Hunger, an integrated-services microfinance provider, has led the way in connecting their clients to affordable healthcare. We check out a clinic in Juliaca with Irene, Sabina, and Mery to see how the plan works in real life. Part 3 in our 5-part series from Peru.

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Mentoring Mom: Home Handicrafts Business Expands to Hire Youth

Saturday, January 18th, 2014
A stressed, angry wife struggling to support a seriously ill husband and three children figures out a way to mechanize her output and produce four times as much merchandise in four hours a day. Now she's rebuilding her home, and employing three high-school kids. Her savings through the group circumvented a second family health crisis, because she had money in the bank to cover it when she needed kidney surgery. Part 2 in our 5-part series from Peru.

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Weaving Natural Resources into Family Wealth

Saturday, January 11th, 2014
Family breadwinners: Mother and daughter-in-law live and work side-by-side high in the Andes Mountains on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Using ancient pounding and looming techniques, they run a busy microenterprise and have earned enough to invest in their homes, computers, and education. Part 1 of our 5-part series from Peru.

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What’s Wrong with Working for a Nonprofit?

Saturday, January 4th, 2014
"At a nonprofit, no matter how effective your service is, your growth is continually dependent on the generosity of someone other than your client:" Our new social-entrepreneur board member, Elisabeth, lists all the reasons she resisted working for a nonprofit . . . then explains how she wound up working full-time for nonprofit Venture for America and volunteering part-time for our foundation.

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Analysis to Action: What's Next for Our Foundation

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
Testing our intentions against our outcomes just isn't enough. We asked ourselves at the close of an introspective year, how will we apply what we've learned?

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Impact Study: Can a Small Foundation Make a Difference?

Saturday, December 21st, 2013
Our mission is to end poverty worldwide by supporting self-help programs in education and jobs creation. As we approach our ten-year anniversary in 2014, we wondered if our foundation's effort and investments were getting us anywhere.—So, we spent 2013 on research to discover what impact, if any, we and our partners have had.

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Banana Farmer Saves Her 5-Pound Baby's Life, with a Garden

Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Fearful for her malnourished three-month-old son's life, single mom Geraldine enrolled in Gardens for Health International's three-month training program to learn alongside other families how to plant nutritious crops and cultivate chickens. She's reaped double rewards, learning to nourish her own body to produce rich breast milk for baby Cederic, who's rapidly gaining weight, on his way to becoming a thriving toddler—with an empowered mom. Guest post by Julie Carney and Jessie Cronan.

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Peace through Jobs: PBMR Prepares to Move Youth from Jail and the Streets into Employment

Saturday, December 7th, 2013
These young men on Chicago's South Side know they could earn $1,000/day selling drugs, but what they want is the chance to work an honest job at $800/month. Our partners at the PBMR peace program are finding ways to get their kids employed—and we're proud to be funding their new jobs-training initiative. Guest post by Father Dave Kelly.

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Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 4 of 4

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Ana, Arvin, and Alice again with her U.S. supporter Amy. Part 4 in our 4-part series.

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Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 3 of 4

Saturday, November 16th, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Daniel, Francisco, Joanna, Haward, and Timothy. Part 3 in our 4-part series.

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Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 2 of 4

Saturday, November 9th, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students: Neneng, Alice, Ruel, and Kathy. Part 2 in our 4-part series.

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Where in the World Is a College-Loan Bubble a Miracle?—Vittana Shows the Way, Part 1 of 4

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
College loans have exploded the market, and exploited our youth, in the U.S.; so why does Vittana work relentlessly to create loans for students in developing economies? The answer will surprise you. Get to know this scrappy, data-driven, crowdfunding education-equalizer, along with a few of their students. In Part 1 of our 4-part series, meet Wilmar, Lusiana, Segundo, and the Vittana leadership.

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Empowering Women: The Story No One Knows

Friday, October 11th, 2013
Whole communities change when women gain access to education and employment, and the resulting choices over family size, healthcare, and financial management. Behind the politics and statistics, there's a story not yet told, of who and what it takes to get there.

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The Karimu Kids: Building Bridges of Wood and Culture: Part 4 of 4

Saturday, September 28th, 2013
The last in our series takes you to this summer's building of bridges of all types: a modern footbridge for residents to traverse during the rainy-season floods, an Internet bridge to communicate with the world, and an intercultural bridge of learning that's changing lives on both sides of the Atlantic. Meet Karimu's American professor and students from California State University Long Beach, who've learned far more from Bacho villagers than they ever hoped to impart.

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The Karimu Kids: School Is Not Enough—We Want Healthcare and Jobs for Our Families: Part 3 of 4

Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Now that Bacho Village has strong resources to support their hard-working teachers and students from kindergarten through high school, the community addresses hygiene and healthcare for their most vulnerable: women in childbirth, infants, and HIV-positive members, and jobs-creation for the poorest parents through microcredit and farming collectives. Meet the teachers of Ayalagaya Secondary and two students: Florentina and Jackson.

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The Karimu Kids: New School Launches a Whole Village Revitalization: Part 2 of 4

Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Part 2 shows how the Bacho village residents used their new primary school as a base for the community to meet and plan to renovate the secondary school and create microenterprise jobs for the adults. Meet two girls: Patricia, who intends to stay in Bacho and be a pediatric nurse, and Happiness, who's going all the way to the Tanzanian president's office.

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The Karimu Kids: From Class Under a Tree to Their Very Own School: Part 1 of 4

Sunday, September 8th, 2013
Part 1 in our series from Karimu International Help Foundation in Tanzania introduces you to the dedicated teachers and eager students—including future pilot Andrea and wealthy politician Pascalina—at Ufani Primary School.

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