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AFRICA NEWS, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION

Loved people love people

Loved people love people
A note from Mocha Club President Emily Blackledge.

 I often get asked why I do this work…why Africa?

My answer is simple: loved people love people. And for me, that answer is not specific to Africa. Sure, I work at an NGO that focuses on Africa, but I have a lot of hours in my day that aren’t spent at work. I serve at my church, I care for a family, I volunteer in the inner city.

In each case, my “why” is always the same: I am loved, so I love.

Being loved is an asset. It’s a gift that I have been given. And I don’t believe we are given gifts for ourselves alone. I have been loved, and I have been loved well. So out of that love, I have much to give.

I see that modeled so well when I travel across Africa.

Places and people who do not know me, welcome me in, offer me food and drink, give from what they have. Why? Because it has been done for them. Somewhere along the way, someone loved them, offered them food and drink, welcomed them in.

It’s a mark of humanity that I want to champion in all parts of my life. I can only give from what I have – and love is my best asset. The love of Christ compels me.

Loved people love people.


Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be showcasing the ways we see loved people love people across our network. We’d love to hear from you! Why do you give or volunteer? How have you been loved? Share your story with us online — hashtag #LovedPeopleLovePeople & #mochaclub and we’ll send you a Mocha Club magnet!

AFRICA NEWS, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, Orphan Care

War, poverty…and thriving?

War and poverty have written much of Congo’s story.

But there’s a church in the countryside taking back the narrative. They are rewriting their story as that of a thriving community.

How? Your everyday generosity allowed Pastor Jean to dream of a new reality for the children in his community. Then you gave him the chance to learn how to make it happen.

Your support of Mocha Club helps equip local leaders like Pastor Jean.

What was this community like before? Pastor Jean explains, “I saw in the streets many kids. Children filled our church every morning. Some wept. They’d never smile and would get aggressive. Joy was missing and it was difficult for me to see. I tried to help them, bring joy to them with songs and dances, but it was not enough.”

Pastor Jean dreamt of helping the children in his community, but he didn’t know how.

 Thanks to you, he received training in child trauma-healing. He learned how to help children thrive despite the trauma around them.

“It was a blessing. It opened my mind and made me strong in this ministry, which is not only a pillarto my church but that will help many children in this place. We’ve become friends with these kids and have helped them commit their lives and pains to Jesus who can take care of us. Now I know the trauma these children live with and how to lead them. Now they can get healing in my church, in my family, and in our environment.”

In a place where thriving seems impossible, Pastor Jean is changing the storyline. His church has become an agent of change for traumatized children, a place where the next generation can heal and grow and thrive together.

He has been the difference to his community, and you have been the difference to him. Together, we are building Africa’s dreams.

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, Uncategorized

Learning your A-B-C-Ds…

We sat down with Mocha Club President, Emily to discuss the strategy of how Mocha Club educates local leaders in Africa & it’s all about your A-B-C-Ds:  Asset-Based Community Development. Through many years of working with African friends, we have seen (and learned) how powerful it can be when you look at what you have instead of what you lack. And it’s a good way to look at life, in general!

Read along with our conversation with Emily…

How do you use asset-based community development to think holistically?

Asset based development starts with what you have instead of what you lack. It’s a perspective, a mindset, a way of thinking about the world and your place in it. This mindset creates a positive posture from which to approach any topic or situation. And its open-ended question of “what do I have?” naturally allows you to explore answers from multiple angles. Not only do you create a list of things you know intellectually, but you also use your passions as strengths and consider what you can do with your hands. This question and mindset allows you to bring all of yourself to a situation or  problem and create the most holistic response.

Why focus on assets instead of problems?

Both are important. Problems arise by knowing where you want to go and what stands in your way to getting there. Equal to the creation of progress is knowing what you have to work with. “Assets” is just a fancy word for what you have. So when we choose to focus on what we have instead of what we lack, we can begin to see where we currently are and all the avenues for moving forward. It propels progress. Progress brings development – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

What transformation happens in a community when you start to look at what you have instead of what you lack?

Positivity. More than anything else, when you start a conversation with what you have – you begin on a positive note. This alone can help spur progress and development. Just like all elements of confidence and assurance, when you look at your surroundings and can see something positive – or at least start with something positive, you invite progress and development. When you consider the circumstance from all of your assets – you think holistically about the circumstance – you often notice elements of yourself or those around you that you might have missed otherwise. That knowledge can bring transformation.

Where can ABCD be used outside of a community in Africa? (relationships, self care, school, etc.)?

YOU can use this concept of asset based in anything – your relationships, yourself, your job. I am always shocked where I find it. For example, I was recently reading a course book on trauma counseling where they spoke specifically about using asset based tests to work with their clients on what they have to bring to their circumstances, not only focusing on their need or lack or trauma. I’ve talked with college students about using ABCD when determining how to split up a group project. Wouldn’t you rather ask the person who LOVES numbers to be in charge of the budget or numbers doc than the person who can write sheet music?! And with children – it works really well to build self confidence to start with what they can do and what they love to do than what they are struggling with in school. How do you work with what you have to solve the issues that keep you from getting to where you want to go.

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

Using Your Gifts to Make a Difference

It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to the bigger problems in the world. You may look around and see all that’s wrong, and want to help, but feel unsure of where or how to begin. You may even dream up a solution, and then your brain interrupts…but I don’t have x, y, or z, so I can’t. You may think you lack what you need to make a difference. That’s a normal thought.

But it’s not true. Through asset-based community development, you can make a difference right where you are.

What’s asset-based community development?

Asset-based community development is working with what you have, rather than being hindered by what you lack.

A community in Africa might lack clean water. The multitude of issues that arise from that one problem — water borne diseases, girls missing school to gather water, and more — make it seem even more complex to address. Installing a clean water well is expensive and time consuming, creating an overwhelming hurdle for many African communities.

However, asset-based community development allows you to look at these problems in a new way.

In Africa, our leaders are trained to look for their assets first. When you partner with Mocha Club leaders, you help this important work happen. Leaders may find they have a community member trained in water engineering, or maybe they discover easy access to piping, or are able to connect with a local storeowner willing to donate a water tank. By educating community members on the direct benefits of clean water, many may volunteer their labor. Leaders may even find that stones, sand, and construction tools are all readily available locally.

Little by little, you help a practical and doable solution take shape.

This is how Mocha Club operates all our programs. You may see poverty around the world and think, I don’t have the money or the time it takes to make a difference. But what might be possible when you consider your assets?

Do you have a passion to help others and the determination to follow through? Do you have some spare change you can set aside during the week? What specific gifts do you have that can be used to tackle poverty? Do you have friends who can combine their efforts with yours?

You are uniquely gifted to make a difference.

So, what would happen in your world if instead of getting stuck in …but I don’t have x, y, or z so I can’t, you reframed your thinking to …I have a, b, and c, so let’s get started?

Consider your assets. You may find you’re closer to making a difference than you think.

Not a member of the Mocha Club giving community?
Join Today!

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Women at Risk

Are you listening?

Quick – think of a country dealing with trauma.

Where is it? Probably somewhere there is war. Somewhere the trauma is tangible and palpable. The kind of place you hear about on the news. Right?

That wouldn’t be wrong. But your mochas helped us address trauma in peaceful Malawi.

Why? Because when we listened to our Malawi Country Director, Leonard, here’s what we heard:

“Gender-based violence is a big problem in Malawi. Probably around 40% of women and children face it. It retards development – women are not willing to take up leadership positions because they are filled with fear due to trauma that results from gender-based violence. Many girls are being raped by those who are supposed to protect them and remain quiet for fear of reprisal, resulting in poor performance in school and dropping out. It is taboo to talk about in the public. Right now there are many women and girls dying in silence. Most people have not reached a point of gathering courage to report these matters to police.  

So what we are doing now is helping fellow Malawians by training and equipping pastors on trauma issues so they are able to assist those who are traumatized. The good news is that people in Malawi trust pastors and church leaders most and are able to share their secret stories with them. We also are encouraging pastors to break the silence in their churches by talking about issues of gender-based violence. Trauma-healing isn’t only needed in war torn countries like South Sudan and Congo. It is needed everywhere.” 

40%. Can you imagine almost half the women and children you pass by today experiencing this kind of abuse? Would you have imagined that you had the power to affect change for them? Because that’s what you did.

Mocha Club believes that change is possible and it starts with investing in the right people. By helping one person lead well, you can help an entire community prosper. So we listened to Leonard, who was hearing a very real need in his community – and that’s how you, Mocha Club member, paved the way for local leaders in Malawi to learn how to listen, respond, and offer safety in instances of gender-based violence.

Haven’t joined the Club yet? For less than $1/day you can educate world-changing leaders to build healthier, more sustainable communities in Africa — just like the ones in Malawi combatting gender-based violence. Join us today.

JOIN US.

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, INSPIRATION

Who do your mochas support?

Now that you know the how, why, and where of Mocha Club — who do your mochas support?

Mocha Club works with local leaders. We believe they are in the best positions to know the needs of and effect real change in their communities. So we work through education, offering these leaders the tools to identify, address, and fulfill the needs of their communities.

Who are some of these leaders?

They are Budete in Rwanda, coordinating cooperatives with women living with HIV/AIDS to grow their financial security and independence.

They are James in a South Sudanese refugee camp, who adopted three orphans after they showed up to the camp without families.

They are Denis in Congo, working to address the trauma children in his community have experienced.

They are Richard in Uganda, who started a nursery and primary school for children whose parents were abducted by rebels.

They are Chipiliro in Malawi, starting an orphan feeding program through his local church, as well as a nursery school and Bible study for HIV+ women.

They are Henry in South Africa, ministering to and mentoring alcoholics in the townships.

There are over 60,000 graduates of our education program – leaders just like these — across the continent, over 5,000 currently enrolled. Your mochas are providing an education that gives them a framework to turn these dreams into real and sustainable change in their communities. And that’s just what they are doing.

AFRICA NEWS, Economic Freedom, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, INSPIRATION, Women at Risk

New Leadership at Women at Risk : meet Nebiyu!

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Nebiyu, the new Director of Ellilta Women at Risk. Started by Serawit “Cherry” Friedmeyer twenty years ago, Ellilta has helped over a thousand women break free from the sex trade. As Cherry began to contemplate retirement, Ellilta’s board of directors began a succession process that led them to someone who can carry on her legacy, someone with a deep understanding of the program, someone dedicated to ensuring Ellilta remains open to all those desperate to leave behind life on the streets. That someone was Nebiyu.

To help introduce himself, Nebiyu has written a letter to you…

Hey friends, I hope you all had a nice Christmas and New Years celebration!

I am Nebiyu Haile and I am serving as the Director of Ellilta Women at Risk. Though it has just been about two years since I started working here as a Program Manager, I have been in touch with EWAR for more than three years before joining. When I was working as a director of a faith-based organization, we had a project that aimed at helping women in prostitution and we approached EWAR to help us design and implement that project. Such contact helped me to know more about EWAR and the great work it has been doing to help women in prostitution get out of that business and start a new lifestyle. As a result, when I got the opportunity to join EWAR, it did not take me too much time to decide!

When I was a kid, I got the chance to join an assisted child development project which was being implemented in one of the local churches around our area. As I look back, being part of that project played a great role for the person I am today. It’s through this project that I came to know about Jesus Christ which led me to accept Him as my personal savior. And passing through this project also helped to develop an interest towards charitable and social works. Thus, I consider myself very lucky to have the chance to serve at EWAR!

Working with women who have a distorted self-image is very demanding and needs lots of effort. There are also other external factors which make our work difficult, but when I look at the vision of EWAR, the commitment of the staff and teamwork that is part of EWAR’s culture, it helps keep me going. Seeing the hope of the women we are serving be renewed and their lives brighten are some of the things that bring me great joy!!

Will you help welcome him to our community? Introduce yourself, send a quick “hello,” or share some encouragement with Nebiyu here!

Every day, Nebiyu helps women stuck in the sex trade build restored, healthy, and hopeful new lives. Every month, by giving up a few mochas, you too can give these women a chance to receive counseling, life skills, and job training.

Will you do your part and join the Mocha Club community today?

JOIN US!

AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water, Education, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, Orphan Care, Women at Risk

Imagine all we can do together in 2018!

Behind everyday generosity is the belief that the little things we do on a daily basis can add up to make a big difference. A mocha here, a mocha there — sometimes it’s easy to forget the big picture and hard to imagine how those sacrificed mochas add up over the course of the year. So we decided to take a step back and look at some of the impact Mocha Club members had this year.

The everyday generosity of Mocha Club members in 2017 turned into:


CLEAN WATER
200 households in Mvera, Malawi have access to clean water (and electricity!) after developing a community-driven solution to the problems caused by a lack of clean water in their village — low school attendance among girls, high rates of waterborne illnesses, and more.


ECONOMIC FREEDOM
Over 40 women stuck in the sex industry in Ethiopia received counseling, medical care, and skills training, pulling themselves out of life on the streets and creating a sustainable, healthy future for themselves and their families.


EDUCATION
95 students in Nairobi’s slums were able to receive a secondary-level education, something vital to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Kenya.


HEALTHCARE
More than 30 children in Addis Ababa whose mothers are recovering from being trapped in the sex trade were provided with medical treatments and care, as well as nutritional support so they learn how to create healthy habits for themselves.


ORPHAN CARE
224 orphans and vulnerable children in Congo were counseled through the trauma they’ve experienced because of war and violence and taught life skills that will help them cope in the present and have hope for the future.


 

We can make an even greater impact if you commit to making your mochas matter in 2018!

Will you join our community today?
Join Today!

AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water, FROM THE FIELD, HQ, PERSPECTIVES

3 Reasons Your Mochas Matter

A word from Mocha Club President, Emily Blackledge:

You’ve heard us say it over and over: you can make a difference simply by giving up the cost of a few mochas a month. But we’ll be the first to tell you – there’s no comparison between what you give and what you get.

While your lack of caffeine is temporary, your impact is not. Why? Because Mocha Club is dedicated to making sure your mochas matter long-term. Here’s how:

1. Collaborative Relationships : “We” is our favorite pronoun.

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If you have been engaged with an organization or visited some of their work and you only hear “us,” “them,” “theirs,” or “mine,” it is a telling example of a group divided. Without shared values, a common vision and dreams, the work being done belongs to only part of the group. In the long run, these projects and partnerships tend to end poorly. Mocha Club’s strategy is different. Your mochas help provide education for local leaders in the form of a community development course of study — a course co-created by representatives from multiple African countries that takes these leaders through the process of identifying, prioritizing, and addressing community needs. The local community development class in Mvera that proposed the water project we told you about on World Water Day spent months surveying neighbors, friends, family, local businesses, schools, and more to get to a consensus on the greatest need in their area. Not the greatest need for one part of the village or the greatest need to one segment of society or even the greatest need as assessed by Mocha Club the greatest need for the community as a whole, identified by the community as a wholeA community ceremony was just held to lay the foundation stone for the new water project. Here you see traditional leaders, church leaders, police and the Malawi Defence Force, government officials, and local residents. All turned out to collectively celebrate the beginning of the project. Mvera’s original well was built by missionaries and not owned by the community. This time around, “we” is who owns the project – everyone was involved in naming the need and finding a solution, each household will register to use the water and contribute a monthly fee to pay for upkeep and maintenance, and a local committee will be nominated to oversee the project’s continued success. When Mvera residents are still enjoying clean water decades from now, it’s your mochas that made it so.

2. Meaningful Impact: We know who calls the shots.

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And it’s not the group of us sitting in offices here in the United States. One of the reasons Mvera has a water shortage is because it is in a hilly area full of rocks and the water springs dry out during the dry season. The other reason is man made. Mvera is in the Dowa district of Malawi – a district that Leonard, our local Country Director, tells us was “the first district in Malawi created by colonial masters” and means “a place of wild animals.” The well in Mvera was originally dug by missionaries. What was once 36 meters deep and fully functional turned into 7 meters deep and not at all sufficient for the community. Local Malawians didn’t determine its location, they weren’t trained on its upkeep, they weren’t involved at any point of the well’s life cycle. During its research, the community development class in Mvera discovered several potential needs during a social analysis – employment, education, health care. But because they approached the situation from a place of “we,” the community of Mvera determined on its own that the most pressing problem was the water shortage. It makes perfect sense — why would a group of people from a different culture, speaking a different language, be able to determine the best course of action for a community halfway across the world? How would my community know if the next best tool for the Mvera community is a grade school or a water well or a pig farm? Your mochas matter because the people calling the shots are the ones on the ground, the ones that know their communities inside and out.

3. Creative Solutions: We build with what we have.

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An accurate understanding of reality is important, but leading with the worst qualities doesn’t really inspire anyone’s participation. We already know that without everyone’s engagement, without “we,” development isn’t sustainable. When strategy is focused on what is working – assets to build on, tools that already exist – you can do things you had no idea could be done. For example, in researching the options for a water solution in Mvera, the local class discovered that they already had much of what they needed – river sand, rocks, quarry stones, manpower, and expertise. They consulted professional builders in the community, engineers, the local electricity supplier, a pipe company, and the local government. Once this project is complete, they’ve already dreamed of building on it and expanding access to more and more people. Building with what you have attracts others (and their talents and resources) to join the dream. Asset-based development makes your mochas matter long into the future.

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Community Update:

I am glad to report that the Mvera water project is progressing well. After the laying of the Foundation Stone, people in the community began the work and it has been very successful. Right now the community is mobilizing locally available resources for the construction of the tank (water reservoir). Here are photos showing the laying of the foundation stone and the actual work beginning.  – Leonard Chipangano, Malawi Country Director

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AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, INSPIRATION

Update from Adjumani Refugee Camp

 We’ve got another update from the Adjumani refugee camp where Mocha Club is providing zinc roofs for South Sudanese refugees! 

 Here, Tito, our South Sudan Country Director, shows Gabriel’s home in the camp. See the metal ridges on top of his house? Those are from members of the Mocha Club community — people just like you.

Ever doubt your mochas could make a difference? It only took one Mocha Club member to provide a roof like this one — each zinc sheet was $9. And we still need your help. Will you give up a few mochas a month to help continue our work with refugees?

 But let’s take it back to the beginning — why roofs? Don’t refugees need food, water, medical care? 

 Mocha Club works through local Country Directors — leaders like Tito who live, work, raise their families, and are well known in the communities they serve. When we asked Tito how Mocha Club members like you could best serve the refugees fleeing South Sudan, he said in Adjumani, he kept hearing one thing over and over: a longing for something sustainable and long-lasting in the midst of near-constant uncertainty. 

 So they asked for zinc roofing to protect their families from the elements as long as they had to be there — a year, ten years, or perhaps even the rest of their lives. And you stepped in and met that need.

 Through Mocha Club, you’re not just meeting physical needs. Tito recognized that the UN and other organizations were providing basic physical needs for refugees, but no one was focusing on their hearts.

 Tito is holding trauma-healing workshops in the camps, helping refugees process what they’ve experienced and begin to heal. And once again, you, Mocha Club member, are behind him. The resources and materials he uses in those workshops? They’re from our Mocha Club members.

 With solid roofs over their head and the community and resources to work through their experience, these families can truly begin to look toward the future. Thank you for your continued support of refugee families through Mocha Club. Your mocha matters.

We still need your help! Will you give up two mochas a month to help continue our work with refugees?

JOIN MOCHA CLUB