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Posts Tagged ‘orphan’

 

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The first booth I encountered at the Art and Artisan fair Saturday was promoting a charity called Vision of Hope Zambia.

Co-founder Meg O’Brien had been a student at Berklee College of Music when a missionary friend in Zambia asked her to lend her musical talent to uplifting girls who lived on the streets.

When she visited Africa, Meg must have been shocked by what she saw: young girls, often orphaned, often HIV positive, who had no place to get a meal or even take a shower. She flew into action, co-founding Vision of Hope Zambia with Chitalu Chishimba.

Meg’s mother and aunt also flew into action, creating a craft initiative that donates 100 percent of proceeds to the cause.

The two artisans not only sew with skill — baby bibs, changing blankets, aprons and the like — they also are good at selling, promoting Meg’s charity while highlighting various features of their products.

Meg’s aunt saw me talking to my grandchildren and immediately pointed out the colorful array of child-size aprons. In the end, though, I bought an adult-sized apron for myself.

From humble beginnings in 2009 (“weekly meetings in the backyard of the Girl Scouts building underneath a tree”), the organization is now able to provide housing and education for many girls as it continues to grow.

Photo: Vision of Hope Zambia
Girls at Vision of Hope proudly show off their hard work in rug making.

 

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When I think of Russia and the words “big brother” together, I don’t ordinarily picture the charitable organization that partners adults with kids who need role models. Roman Sklotskiy has altered my mental model.

Last month, Diana Kultchitskaya interviewed Sklotskiy for the Christian Science Monitor.

“Roman Sklotskiy, a former businessman and a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, didn’t dream of having a career in charity. In the early 2000s he was a pioneer in the telecommunications industry, testing applications for mobile networks.

“But then he was invited by a friend to be the administrator of a theater for deaf actors – a charity project launched by a group of professional actors and directors. He was so inspired by the experience that he decided to pursue charitable work.

“In 2007 he learned of a nonprofit group trying to bring a United States-based mentoring program to Russia. Big Brothers Big Sisters International is a volunteer program that helps orphans and children from troubled families find mentors who provide them with a role model and help them build a healthy relationship with an adult.

“In Russia this kind of volunteering was a new idea. Mr. Sklotskiy decided to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia team and became its director, spending six years developing it. …

“The selection process for people who would like to participate in Russia’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program is strict. … Those who are selected receive training. Psychologists work with them and explain the unique demands of communicating with an orphan. …

“Alexandr Gezalov, an expert on child adoption and orphanages, says that the project is very successful.

“ ‘I’ve never seen a more effective format for communicating with an orphaned child,’ Mr. Gezalov says. The success of Big Brothers Big Sisters should be shared with other organizations, he says.

“Today Sklotskiy serves as director of charitable programs at the RVVZ Foundation. But he’s stayed involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters as chairman of the board. And he thinks it still has great potential to grow and help even more children. Currently Big Brothers Big Sisters is operating in Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

More here.

Photo: Svetlana Balashova for the Christian Science Monitor
Roman Sklotskiy longed to do charitable work, and he found his calling in developing Big Brothers Big Sisters of Russia.

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Lately, it seems that lot of young people want to make the world a better place and are starting nonprofits to do so.

Marian Daniells writes in the Boston Globe about one young activist, who attends Northeastern University.

“Mike Behan spends six months out of the year in Njabini, Kenya. But it’s no safari vacation. Behan, 21, is the cofounder and CEO of Njabini Apparel, a nonprofit company selling handcrafted accessories made by landless and handicapped mothers in the Kenyan settlement.

“A rising senior at Northeastern University, Behan first visited Njabini in June 2010 as a volunteer with Flying Kites, a nonprofit group that supports orphaned children in Kenya. With Flying Kites’ help, Behan then started Njabini Apparel with Tom Mwangi and marketing director Erin O’Malley (both volunteers with Flying Kites) in August of that year. By October, they were selling hats and scarves. Most of Njabini Apparel’s sales are done online, or by volunteers for Njabini Apparel and Flying Kites. …

“Participating mothers are able to immediately earn four times the average national income (equivalent to $780), which is then driven back into the local economy.” Read more. It will make you feel good.

Lucy Wanjiku at Njabini Apparel, a nonprofit cofounded by Mike Behan that sells handcrafted goods made by landless and handicapped mothers in the Kenyan settlement. Photograph: John Deputy

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