Starting today, every Monday on this blog we’ll be taking a look at some of some of the charities we’ve previously featured on the Love+Water website!
This week we’re going to focus on Kageno. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it was the featured shirt for our Holiday Countdown discount last week!
The word “Kageno” means “A Place of Hope” in a Kenyan dialect; the goal of the Kageno organization is to transform impoverished African communities so that they can thrive and sustain themselves through education, healthcare, sanitation, and income generation. Member of Kageno work with local leaders to build schools, pharmacies, and community centers with training programs, learning tools, and internet access. They also specifically target villages that suffer from AIDS and genocide aftermath, as well as a host of other problems such as limited access to clean water and resources.
Currently Kageno has programs based Rusinga Island and Mfangano in Western Kenya, and in Banda Village, Rwanda, and they are looking to expand! Since their inception in 2003, they have created 600 local jobs, founded nursery schools, planted thousands of trees, and have opened up clean water filtering stations and health facilities. They also work to provide orphans of HIV and AIDS with the proper medical care, education, and attention that they need.
Rachel: Child Starvation (anywhere in the world) Can Be Stopped!
I wish it was easy to summarize the issues around child malnutrition but want to share a few highlights with you. In Kenya (as in most of East Africa,) more than 40% of children are malnourished, 21% suffer severe acute malnutrition which means their brains suffer brain damage from the lack of calories and nutrients. These rates are even worse during the drought season, which is now! Crops fail, food prices go up and real families struggle to live day to day, to provide their children the most basic foods like boiled maize meal.
What’s worse is the growing malnutrition throughout the 1st world. That’s right… more than 16 million children in the US are malnourished. And while almost 25% of American children are obese, that does not mean they are well nourished. Even more shocking more than 40% of the US lives in a food desert and isn’t growing anything to feed themselves at least not anything fresh, healthy and affordable.
So … we’ve learned food aid is a never ending cycle … what you may not know is that the food does not exist for most aid agencies to purchase to supply to emergency regions let alone “stable” countries. So what’s the answer.. that’s right .. FARMING! We must grow more food – more efficiently which means reducing the waste of nutritionally dense crops. This is at the hart of the Backpack Farm whose new sister “ROOTZ” Rising has translated into a program to build school gardens. We provide schools the green, ag inputs and training to make themselves completely “food” self-sustainable within 2 years We’ve just stared this organization so hope you will help us learn and grow. (*yes, education and community will be the keys to success!)
This is where a team like Love & Water Designs come in! They help us translate and bring exposure to these issues that more people can consume… sound’s simple but a T-shirt! I’m always amazed at seeing how artists can translate their talents into a powerful way to help social missions communicate. With that said, here’s Alex’s food for thought….
Alexis: The Designer behind the “ROOTZ” Rising T-Shirt – Love & Water Designs
Phil Pierre-Louis was born and raised in Queens, NY. His mind is that of an artist: he sees the world through a soulful perspective that is constantly adjusting and shaping the way he thinks about his experiences, which he then translates into unique and eclectic illustrations, most of which express his life as a native New Yorker. Everyone who sees his work gets the sense that he has grown up in this urban environment that vibes with the pulse of city youth and a fervor for living strong, which his heart truly beats for.
But when Phil learned about the project for ROOTZRISING and discovered the mission behind the charity, his focus was immediately on the power behind making this incredibly strong community of women and girls masters of the craft of farming for their own livelihood. His vision was clear that planting a seed in the right place can grow a harvest so large that it can feed millions. And he knew that he wanted as many people as possible to understand this mission.
This is why his design for ROOTZRISING was chosen by the Love and Water Designs community to be printed on a limited-edition shirt. Because people around the world saw it, and understood that ROOTZRISING is planting the seed that is empowering women and children, changing the face of Kenya, and the people of Africa as a whole.
NOW IS THE TIME TO SUBMIT DESIGNS FOR kageno SO WE CAN DONATE 50% OF ALL PROFITS TO THEIR KENYA AND RWANDA PROGRAMS!
|Abena Koomsom Performs at the kageno Harambee from the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Musical Fela!|
On Monday, November 1, kageno held its annual Gala event: The kageno Harambee 2010: “A New Decade of Hope” at Espace in New York City to benefit the Kenya and Rwanda programs. Harambee, meaning “pulling together” in Swahili, is an East African tradition of community self-help events that have long been important in parts of East African culture as a way to build and maintain communities.
|Michael Kavalus, Founder of kageno Frank Andolino and Alexis Fedor|
Alexis and Michael were there to learn about the INCREDIBLE projects they are raising funds for, including a new school and community center, and to see how passionate everyone was about supporting this incredibly effective organization.
WE have an opportunity to help as well! This month, when you submit your designs for the Monthly Featured Charity Project, you have the chance to help us sell shirts and donate 50% of the profits directly to kageno.