Dear Kids of Saints John and Paul School,
Just writing to say a Big thank you for your support of the Kids over in Kenya & collecting $81. You have done a wonderful thing to step and help people who, through no choice of their own, were born into extreme poverty.
Imagine an 8-year old girl in Kenya is typically cooking for the family, tending to the goats, and babysitting her siblings.
Four year old ‘Hustler’ as he’s known in Lodwar gets up each morning from one mattress that he shares with seven other siblings and he leaves the house to beg for breakfast. He walks around the village alone till he finds someone who’ll feed him. Sometimes he does not return home until 9-pm at night when he simply goes back to the mattress and lies down to sleep. His mother works a whole month before getting $9 for her leaning job. With that $9 in Kenya she can barely afford to put vegetables on the table for her eight kids. Thus they have learned to beg.
They never chose this life; and with the kindness of people like you we are able to change lives in Africa. So thank you for caring!
My best to you
PS- Here's a picture of Hustler:
MY DAY HAS BEEN MADE!!
Big thanks to Axel & Kjell Ove & Teekay Shipping of Norway! Tusand tack min kompisor; du ar jatte snall. Otroligt bra for Shoe4Africa! Grattis. They are on the Shoe4Africa 2013 NYC Marathon team and are storming away with fund raising.
Here is the waffle sale that made $1300-- inspiring huh?
And here is a wonderful check donation of $3350... unbelievable, and unbelievably great!
I had dinner the other night with a business man in New York City. He has a heart for Africa. I asked him, "Have you ever been in Kenya?"
His reply, "Yes, I was in Nairobi once. I got robbed."
This man gives a tremendous amount of money to charities worldwide and is still giving. He asked me, "How much have you raised so far for this children's hospital?" I told him so far $1.7 Million dollars, but considering the four schools the money spent, or hallmarked for Kenya, has been now well over two million US dollars.
So he asked, "What percentage has come from Kenya? Business or individuals. How much?" I told him about $3,000.
So he has thrown me a challenge. "I'm willing to step up for the Kenyan people. Are they willing to step up with me? If someone, individual or business, pledges $50,000, I will match it."
So for the last two days I have been writing letters, emails, call outs to Kenyan's, and also to American friends who know wealthy Kenyans. Let's see, the response has been zilch.
A picture from a month ago... three cups of Ethiopian coffee from one of my favorite restaurants in Nairobi. It is called Smart Village and it is cheap too with wonderful Ethiopian food. You can feed three for about $10 so it makes for a great meeting/eating place. I did not really know that pop corns go with coffee but there you go you learn something new everyday. As for the food I like the big Mix plate that gives you a variety of Ethiopian food and I like it spicy. That is what comes of having Bangladeshi food as a kid.
Right now in the Shoe4Africa Towers (ok my Harlem studio) I am planning the next trip to Kenya which of course will have a lot to do with the hospital of course. And also we are building the MARATHON team for November 2013 - now is the time to email in if you want to join the squad. We have 38-runners I believe who are wishing to run with us... and we'd like more.
Other news - does anyone know what is needed to start a bakery? Beyond the ovens! I believe it is in the blood, the baking part (maybe the stomach?) Anyway, that is another plan I am working on right now... and oh yes, a big thanks to the students of Princeton TEAM U who raised $5,000 for us at the Rutgers Half. Proud of you! And thank you personally to all who have donated to my personal marathon page - it'll be my first since 2011
I'm sorry - I am at it again... begging! If you go to www.shoe4africa.org/toby and make a little donation you'll make me so so happy because I am really, really hoping that one day this 'little' project will be done and completed! Please. I am off to a good start - On day one I am at $6,200
The exciting part is the matching gift - nothing like a motivator to get me going! I love it; thank you thank you
The 2013 elections, and ensuing Supreme Court case, were superbly smooth. So different from 2007. The country is booming along with hope for a bright new era. Because of the court case work slowed and our hospital workings are a little behind, but this is something you don't want to worry. The architects drawings, staircases, ramps, roof, placement, basement, driveway, ground, first, and second floors are all done. Now we await the Quantity Surveyor's digits. Hoping, hoping things will move swiftly and the contractor will be in gear in May.
Although I am back in the USA I already have my plane ticket for the next trip, coming soon, still lots to do.
On the American side it is back to fund raising, writing letters and making connects. I want to explore new ways to generate income apart from relying on marathon runs. So far I have not managed to break in to the circle of 'charity funding' large in part due to the unique way in which we operate. Making S4A more 'uniform' by getting a staff/office/budget of expenses would probably help.
Meanwhile am thinking of a bakery, in Africa - why not! Otherwise also want to thank the runners of Team U - mostly from Princeton U. who are currently doing a run for Africa this month. Thanks so much!
In a day I will be flying back to the States. How many trips have I made? I have long lost counting, but this year we have had 95-days and 44-days have been in Kenya. I am sitting in a small Catholic mission bed & breakfast, the place I always stay when I am in Nairobi. It is very peaceful, quiet and the cheapest place I can find. The location suits too. i have just had a fab day doing the third part of a Feeding Fun Day series with Kenya's supermodel Ajuma. It started out in Lodwar Turkana for the first part (reaching school kids), then we moved to the elderly of Turkana, and lastly today we went to the main general hospital in Kenya [Kenyatta] to the Children's Cancer Ward and did a project there.
Earlier were T shirt, and football gear give outs, and the Vibram shoes, and meeting the new students who have graduated from the Shoe4Africa Janeth Jepkosgei School and have now started secondary; Elvis, Jael & Nancy. AND... whilst this all goes on we move on with the actual major project - the hospital! Love it.
Y'know it all started a long time ago, when I came to Kenya with one goal, to run, and now I know that it was a run to something much more important, much bigger, far greater, than I could have ever guessed. So thanks Kenya for being the road, the vessel, the new beginning...
The last few days have been a whirlwind of activities - giving out school sports uniforms, giving out Vibram five finer shoes, going up to the north of Kenya and spending an amazing few days doing feeding projects first with children, then helping grandma's with the famous Kenyan supermodel who has worked on the make-up project with us - Ajuma! then today back into the swing of the hospital - we have a new office to use, finance plans being made - it is truly incredible all that is going on and still to happen.
Kamariny and Chebonet Primary schools were the first to get the vibrams, we had some running competitions up and down the fields and then also they received soccer uniforms thanks to Becky Lyne. The next day we visited three of our sponsored scholarship students - Jael, Elvis and Nancy who "won" 4-year terms at secondary after graduating from the Shoe4Africa Janeth Jepkosgei school. Great news the school continues to climb up the ladder in terms of achievement. Out of 18 it is now number 6!
Driving back to Iten was unpacking then re-packing before going up to Lodwar for the projects. Not sure which pic to post! So here's Ajuma in the hall trying to navigate her way through the kids as they were getting ready to perform songs, poems and dances before the food and the gifts came out. Once again, thank you to all who help us!!
Will add a picture when I able back in a good Internet access!
A few years ago the American Government got rid of surface mail - the ability to send mail by ship (much cheaper than today's airmail). This affected mainly charities who mail a lot to the third world and donations for postage are hard to come by - so it is with big thanks to all who are sending things over - I really appreciate it.
I am back in Kenya and have just been sorting through the boxes of shoes. Some boxes have no names, other have labels I can not read but I want to thank the following people: Tomoaki Uchiki of Japan, Urban Bettag of the UK, Koja Sports of Belgium, Duncan (first/last name?) of East 89th ST,NYC, Emily Taylor of Chasewood, Canada, Joyce Ray of zipcode 17202 (can't read the address), Kathleen McCormack of West 62nd St, NYC, Setterlund of S. Yarmouth, MASS, Taisuke Nakashima of Tokyo, Alexander Burch from North Dakota (sending school supplies), Will Hebbes sending soccer boots, UK, Kelly McClure of Denver, Colorado, Wasson of I am guessing Hauula, Hawaii, (very colorful newtons)... Also Gurpreet Mand for a big, big parcel. Also we have vibrams from China so I will be doing a hand out at a school event coming very soon.
Two more labels found - thanks Joy Dushey of NYC, and Lena Mueller of Cambridge Ontario!
I have decided I am going to try and update this blog once a week. Call it a late New Year's Resolution. Or a not so late Chinese New Years....
Having nothing better to post today I am copying a letter I sent to someone who took the time to write in to tell me they had chosen to donate to another charity, instead of S4A, because of our "in-effective" policy of not paying salaries. So I am writing this so if I get another case I can forward this blog post and save myself time, but it does help explain a bit better: (I omitted the names of the donor an their charity)
Thanks and I fully understand your choice; ___ are a great charity. Personally I am happy you are donating money to Africa. However your comments that Shoe4Africa is less effective as it does not have a staff, and “Other charities manage to have a staff without taking from donations” statement is a little misaligned.
I looked at your example: the charity you are talking about states-
“Your donation goes 100%, we have angel donors who pay our salaries.”
The basic rule for charities is 80% of donations come from 20% of the donors. When a charity gets a large donor the idea seen by some charities is to persuade that large donor(s) to be the angel funder(s) of staff expenses. Further reading on the website of this charity you will see this is exactly the case here.
At Shoe4Africa all our donations go to getting the job done; not a penny has ever been given to a salary.
Breaking down into two sets
A charity that collects funds using an American staff, then uses “partner’s on the ground” to implement jobs over in Africa.
Charity that one set of staff that does the work.
The problem with #1 is this type of charity is deceptively not as efficient as you may think. When looking at its “Pie Chart” of monies spent on projects, staff, “Africa” as many charities do on their web sites you must remember that this charity is just sending the “funds” now to a completely new charity/work team (partners on the ground) who will now dilute your charity donation yet again through its staff, office space, expenses etc.
Eg. Case in point your charity of choice has 48-staff members, then they engage another charity (“partners on the ground” – their words not mine), that has another staff
Africans for the most part live on less than a dollar a day. The average national salary for America is $984 per week. Although, as yet, we do not pay any salaries If we did we would keep salaries relative to the fact that to keep in balance with those we serve we would not do as say some charities who pay salaries so outlandish that their workers are 1000x richer than the people they serve. I have nothing against salaries at all!
What does Africa need more than “Aid”? It is education, it is training, it is jobs, and trade. Thus one could conclude if your charity was using and paying an entirely African team of “Partners on the Ground” this would be very commendable. Whether they are or not is up to you, the donor, to check on, and you to decide if relevant.
I hope this explains to you a bit better why we are slower (yup, I am the one answering emails too), but please don’t say less effective.