I’m With the Band

Every week, three times a week, there’s a new noise coming from the New Dawn campus. It has a beat. It has soul. Yup. It’s a…band! The school has partnered with a local volunteer who is loaning the instruments temporarily and also instructing the students on playing drums and trumpet. At some point soon, they’ll need new instruments. For now, the students are enjoying a new element of their education that you support. Play on!


No one got Ebola and malaria is down 50%

We’ve shared that the water well you funded in Sierra Leone was that community’s ONLY source of clean water during the Ebola outbreak. Well, the one-year evaluation of the project is in, and the results are amazing. First off, not a single Ebola case was recorded in the community, partly due to the presence of this well. That means that nearly 550 school kids could get fresh water. When they came back to school after the Ebola hiatus, they were able to keep clean with water from the well and chlorine tablets and soap from the government.

In addition, 225 community families are accessing the well on a regular basis, and 70% of those families are practicing better hygiene because the well is so close.

And it’s the people who use it who are maintaining it and making sure it works. Even during the height of Ebola, they constructed a high perimeter fence with a padlock to keep the water well safe. Local leaders on the ground said this was necessary because rumors circulated that people were purposefully infecting wells with the deadly virus.

Finally, malaria cases decreased by 50% as a result of bed nets and the well.

We could not have asked for a better outcome, and look forward to seeing the community continue to invest in its well, and possibly even help other communities nearby dig a well.


HEKO believes in every life

In Kenya, 1 in 5 teens has sex before age 15. Nearly 10,000 young adults died of HIV/AIDS in a year. That’s why HEKO is so important. Believing every life matters, they are working with these young adults to keep them healthy, educate them about the risks they can avoid to reduce their chance of getting HIV+, and what to do if they are.

From April – June of this year, HEKO:

  • Helped 38 women gain occupational skills and go through group counseling, all while keeping on anti-retroviral medication (ARVs) to keep them healthy.
  • Gave food to 57 more people who are HIV+ and taking ARVs to keep healthy.
  • Taught 57 people about ways to stop the spread of AIDS through the “Prevention with Positives” program.
  • Provided 123 people with sports and recreational activities, as well as group therapy, to help them cope with their disease.

This is hard work. So many organizations around the world are combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Cheers to Peter and his team for so directly impacting the lives of people learning how to live with their disease.


He can help because he’s been there

Mayo is 23. But he’ll never forget his childhood. His father was killed during the Rwandan war. He fled to Congo as a refugee. His home was burned and all his family’s belongings taken. His relatives killed by machete. Believe it or not, there’s an upside to this tragedy. He still has faith in God who, as he says, “gives me the heart to love his word. In each kind of circumstance, the word strengthens and encourages us to know there is a God who loves and has a good plan for us.”

“In fact,” he continues, “I have great joy and God blessed me with a compassionate heart to help and to love those who grow up as I did and those who are in the same conditions.”

So Mayo is helping guide the children we told you about in Goma, who have lost parents, seen unspeakable violence and been abandoned and abused. He’s being trained to counsel them and help them realize that they matter. Their lives make a difference and are worth so much to their communities and to God.

We hate that Mayo experienced what he did. But we love that he’s using it to help others in a way that only he and people with his background can.

FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

Mary* is trying to break the cycle of prostitution

This update comes directly from our leaders at Ellilta Women at Risk in Ethiopia. Every time you give up a mocha, you change a life like Mary’s.

Mary* was born and raised in Adama town and she lived with her parents.

Her mother worked as a prostitute to fulfill the basic needs of the family but Mary was unhappy to see her mother in the sex work because she had the fear that she and her younger sister might end up doing the same thing if her mother stops the sex work.

When Mary turned 21, her parents decided to commit divorce and this was challenging for Mary that she could not agree with her step father so she decided to run away from home. By this time, Mary met up with some friends who were involved in prostitution and when she saw the amount of money they make per day she was tempted to start working with them. After a while Mary started working in a bar but she was not happy by what she is doing since she was subjected to violence and abuse from her clients.

After working as prostitute for seven years Mary finds out that she is pregnant from one of her clients but when she tell him about her pregnancy he deny he is the father of the child so she continue working the sex work until her third trimester of her pregnancy to save money for the coming baby.

After delivering a baby girl Mary turns to the sex work since she has no other option and one night as she was on her way to the hotel she meets with counselors from Ellilta Women at Risk and they talk to her and gave her the address to come if she want to change her life.

Mary was so happy to find a way out of prostitution. Thus she came to Ellilta the next day and she was accepted in the rehabilitation program.

Currently Mary is one of the active beneficiaries who is striving to rescue her younger sister from prostitution and be role model for others in the sex work.

We praise God for Mary’s success!!!
*We have changed Mary’s name to protect her journey.


“Family life is a corporate work.”

Hallmark says it’s Father’s Day in the U.S. this Sunday. But aren’t we always thinking about our dads? Here are a few thoughts from some of our project partners – Tito in South Sudan and Asrat in Ethiopia – who are also dads. Amazing how the feelings are universal…

Tell us about the moment you first saw your first-born. How did you feel?
Tito: When I saw her, I was filled with joy and one of the nurses said, “Are you the father?” and I said yes, while smiling. Then she said, “Is a baby girl” and I said Praise the Lord. I stood and gave thanks to the Lord for the gift of the baby.

Asrat: I do not have word to express my feeling but like joy and surprise.

What is a piece of advice you would give to other fathers?

Tito: Make sure you take time to teach your children to obey God in their life. There is no short cut in teaching children. Family life is a corporate work. Each person has a responsibility to play.

Asrat: More than anything else to raise born again children. Most of the time we concern for their school and about their future but the first thing we should look seriously should be their relationship with God, if they have Jesus they have all !!!


Be inspired : Kiely + Ashley from “So Common. So Rare.”

Our team at Mocha Club loves working and living in Nashville, Tennessee – a place known for it’s community and the inspiration from it’s members. These individuals are the best in their craft and we want to share them with you!  This blog series features locals that inspire us through their unique/beautiful/innovative…we could go on and on..approach to life, business and community.  We love their businesses and  want to showcase them in this new series – where simply,  we want to inspire others by what inspires us.

Ashley Kaiser + Kiely Concannon :: So Common. So Rare

We’d been thinking a lot about how these days we are all looking for real connections –  how clicks and likes don’t actually satisfy our wants and needs for human connection. We started SCSR to open the doors of connection a bit more. To encourage others to share. We wanted to remind others that we can gather around a kitchen table and talk beyond what we do, about more of the things that have made us who we are. Each of us contains chapters: the good, the bad, the ugly.

Our growth is that we’ve been able to go from an idea to something that people are actually participating in. We hope that others pursue or engage in the variety of depths of the people around them after reading what it is we’re chasing.

We definitely couldn’t be doing it without our communities in Nashville. It’s such a small, closely connected town in many ways, and the support of the community has been crucial. From the artists who share their moments with us, to our friends who give their time and art, to random strangers who say our idea is worth pursuing, it’s an endeavor that has reminded us of the importance of community.

Yeah, absolutely. We are really inspired by reminding people that there is more to give or see than just the typical “what do you do?” “where are you from?” questions that come up so often. We are trying to contribute to a community that really sees one another. We often say “our stories are what we have in common, sharing them is what has become rare” and we really mean that. We are putting our efforts into something we believe fosters connection.

We love what we do because it gives people a chance to share the facts and stories that matter to them. In the process of sharing stories, a lot of what we learn about artists are the small things that don’t really make a story, but tell us more about who they are. The way they tell it—if someone is laughing, or in awe, it shows a lot about how they feel towards what they are sharing. Some of the details that we leave out (for the sake of flow) give us a fuller sense of the artist as a person. Even if every detail doesn’t make the site, these small facts help us tell the story more fully.

Well, we think it’s what ties us together. It can be really easy to separate ourselves, make assumptions about each other based on social platforms or quick encounters, but when we share stories, it helps us know others’ humanity. Stories allow us to say “me too” or “wow, that’s incredible,” and invite us to connect, be encouraged or refreshed through our collective experiences.


Love 2X, …er, 4X!

Meet Eva and Esther, Joshua and Jonathan. Two sets of twins who you support at Bringing Hope to the Family – one of our newest partners in Uganda. Bringing Hope makes sure that orphaned kids – like these little girls whose mom died in childbirth and these little boys who were abandoned – are taken care of. Thanks to you, they continue to grow!


The Best Place a Student Needs to be…

Kids in the U.S. may have just fled the doors of schools across the nation, but for kids at New Dawn in Kenya, school is in session throughout the summer – and they’re happy about it! Check out what Ochieng, a student in form three, had to say about her schooling: “This is the place I have been yearning to come because its environment is conducive and peaceful. It is the best place a student needs to be.” Ochieng wants to teach literature or be an author when she grows up. Thanks for helping to make her dream a reality!