Summer, time for most of us to kick back, relax and enjoy the sun for a couple of weeks of well deserved vacation. This free time might also give us the opportunity to pursue our interests, start something new or read an amazing book or three. Some books which have inspired us are discussed below. Time to "stop and smell the coffee" is also time for ideas, creativity and development!
With Gratitude and sincere thanks for the life and inspiration of Mama Telle
We are sad to say goodbye to Mama Telle, (beloved mom of our board member Silvia) who passed away in April after a long battle with lung cancer. Mama Telle's giving heart, strength and humanity directly inspired the creation of this
foundation. Ten years ago, in a spirit of gratitude
for the blessings in her own life, she decided to
bring some Christmas cheer to children living in a small impoverished village in the Peruvian Andes. Our philosophy at Gracias continues to be influenced and energized by the idea of giving from a place of gratitude and the positive benefits of this, to ourselves, our local and international communities.
We are still accepting donations in memory of Mama Telle, which will help Gracias empower and support women and children:
Our dear friend and volunteer Olga recently received an award for the most active PayPal employee in the UK office in the first quarter of 2013. Her hugely successful campaign, "Project Embrace", supporting vocational training for HIV orphans living at our partner organization, AHOPE Ethiopia, led to this accolade, a trophy, and donation to a children's home in Ethiopia.
Our warmest congratulations and grateful thanks, Olga!
Maisha kids and volunteers on an outing in one of many costly rented vans
Coming soon, a new van for the Maisha Community
Thanks to Giulio's fundraising campaign and his generous donors, we'll soon provide sustainable transport for the Maisha staff and kids. We'll be traveling to Nairobi later this summer to select the van and get it upgraded with better tires and suspension to handle the bumpy, muddy roads around the Maisha home.
We are really pleased that three of our volunteers (two of whom are eBay employee's kids) presented at this event and spoke so positively about their
experiences and what they learned.
Sacha, 11th Grade student at the International School of Berne, talked movingly about working and spending time with the kids at Maisha in Kenya. She thinks about her time there often, and four-year-old
Sammy has a special place in her heart. "It actually
changed me!"she exclaimed, explaining how she
now values her relationships with family and friends much more.
Jack, a 10th Grader at the same school, showed his movie, giving a taste of life and work at Maisha.
He wondered at the positivity of kids who had experienced the death of their parents and life in the slums before coming to the Maisha Home.
Olga, who volunteered at AHOPE Ethiopia, in Addis
Ababaexplained "I learned so much from the kids,"
talking about their inspirational thankfulness,
sense of community and creativity. She also
explained the "circular time concept" she
experienced, how things that don't get done
today will be done tomorrow, and how it is good to
step out of the rushing, stressful mindset.
Thank you to Chris Reichenbach and eBay for hosting this event.
Inspired? Gracias has a number of short and longer term volunteer opportunities available, plus there other ways you can help:
Board member Bence inspires graduates at Syracuse University's iSchool
We are proud to report that our newest board member, Bence, gave the Convocation Address to the graduating class of 2013 at Syracuse University's School of Information Management (iSchool). Drawing on examples from his own career, he told graduates that each of them had something unique which could inspire fulfilling working lives: "Show the world what makes you special and suddenly what was once known as work becomes your purpose". He encouraged his listeners to take risks and create something, stressing
entrepreneurship as a way to do this.
Check out our eco-cards - Give and Grow Hope!
We love our seeded paper cards! If you make a donation of $35 or more,we will send a card with a hand-written message detailing your gift to your loved ones . The whole card can be planted to grow beautiful wildflowers. So you gift an attractive card and blooms to the recipient and dignity and opportunity to vulnerable women and children!
Available for Birthdays, cards for upcoming Holidays and Weddings coming soon!
Looking for a good book? Here are some suggestions which have inspired us:
Half The Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Through stories of individual women we are drawn into a world of violence and oppression but ultimately see how these women are challenging expected norms and changing their communities. Ultimately uplifting and hopeful, this best-seller explains how unleashing the power of women can challenge global poverty.
You can also check out the two Half the Sky documentaries which bring more stories to life.
There is No Me Without You - Melissa Fay Greene
Ethiopian Haregewoin Teferra was heart-broken by the death of her daughter. Approached by a local charity, she was asked to give a home to a child orphaned by AIDS and living on the streets. Unable to turn away the growing number of babies and children referred by charities or left at her door, she converted her home into an orphanage. The author (a journalist and mother to two adopted Ethiopian children) weaves together a beautiful narrative and hard facts, creating a deeply moving and educational book. Our partner, AHOPE Ethiopia - a children's home for orphans and vulnerable children with HIV/AIDS, is also referenced in the book.
For more summer reading ideas, check out ourbookshelf.