Browsing Category



Share the Good News!


I think we all realize that, for the most part, when it comes to news stories about Africa, they are all pretty negative, and do not display Africa as a play that seems like it could in anyway be improved. However, in the shadow of the more prominent, often depressing news stories about Africa are events, people, and knowledge that can be shared as good news for Africa!


We wanted to take a moment to point you in the direction of this great article by Ian Bremmer for 2W2B9043Time magazine entitled “These 5 Facts Explain the Good News About Africa.” In his article, Bremmer shares five facts that shed a lot of positive light on Africa for the reader. He includes facts like demographics (the fact that Africans will make up half the world’s population by 2050), and the increasingly, strong civil society growing in Africa, along with the introduction and moderate, yet growing, use of technology in everyday lives. Furthermore, Bremmer notes that events like issues with politics and civil wars, that are usually huge problems for African countries are dwindling. This proves that Africa is moving out of its negative state and into a more positive era! We think that the article is worth your while to read, and will lift your spirits about the state of Africa.

While they still need a great deal of our help, it is important to communicate that their situation is not hopeless. It is just different from hours, and we want to do all that we can to make it better!



A Stylish DJ & The Master of Cool

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 2.52.40 PM

DJ Zinhle has risen to the top in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has been one of the only females to reach that level of stardom as a DJ in Africa. Growing up in a rural area of Africa without running water or electricity, Zinhle was determined from a young age to make a difference for herself and others in the world. She began her career as a DJ in 2004 after graduating from the University of Johannesburg, and discovered that she had a true talent, one that she enjoyed and was moved by. Zinhle now mentors to other aspiring DJs, particularly young girls, who view her success as inspiring and one of a kind. On top of her success as a DJ, Zinhle has created her own brand of watches called “Era by DJ Zinhle.” Everytime a girl or woman orders a watch, she sends a note to them telling they to take advantage of the time that they have to follow their dreams and take charge of their lives. In response to her success and her powerful message, and what she plans to do next, DJ Zinhle responds, “We’ll see where the world takes me.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 3.04.32 PM

Atang Tshikare is an artist who specializes in adding his own unique touches to other people’s creations and talents. He defines himself as a “visual creative,” someone who transcends the boundaries of art, and tries to create things that are unique and thought-provoking.  For instance, he hand-painted his bike – taking something that has already been created,and giving it a slightly different edge. One of his favorite things to add uniqueness to are shoes. Check it out!



End the stigma now!

It is not just the physical deterioration of the HIV/Aids epidemic that makes it so painful but a HEKO3more emotional and spiritual attack that takes place that most people don’t know about.  To be affected with HIV is to be outcast.  Teenagers and young adults who are affected either from hereditary reasons – their parents passed on the infection at birth – or they were involved in at-risk behavior that led to the spread are dealing with a heavy stigma & discrimination that they must deal with alongside their physical health.

“As a result of delayed treatment and the overbearing stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV positive, about 29 percent of all new infections are among adolescents and young people according to a survey released by the Ministry of Health on World Aids Day this year on 1st December 2015.

As a result, HIV-AIDS related complications are the leading course of deaths among the adolescents and young people with 9,720 adolescents and young people dying of such in 2014 alone.”

HEKO2Our partners at HEKO – Heritage Kenya Organization – work with HIV+ members of the community. Peter, founder of HEKO, shares his insights from his many years of work in the field. The stigma and rejection from their community and peers “makes it challenging to attract and sustain their focus on maintaining their health, particularly for those with chronic illnesses and this explains why those infected with HIV would rather stop taking ARVs than keep answering questions on why they are on pills.”

Sarah*, a 17 year old high school student was invited to speak during World Aids Day. Born with the HIV virus, she has been on ARVs (antiretroviral medication) since her childhood. When her time came to address the gathering, her message was very simple, “end the stigma and discrimination”. She did not ask for a great deal but instead something every human being could afford.

“we the young people are the most vulnerable group. We are one of the segments most at risk of HIV”. “We need prevention strategies tailored and testing campaigns-focused especially on adolescents”. “Many of us are dying young because we do not know our status or because we are of the stigma and discrimination associated with the HIV virus!” Sometimes our parents think we are too young to know our status or to know about the sex and or HIV. Nobody wants to discuss these things with us! They mistakenly think they are protecting us by not disclosing it to us on how it is spread! Yet some of us were born with it and yet still HIV and sex amongst the youth and teenagers is a reality. The earlier you know your HIV status the better because then you are put on medication and you will protect yourself and others”.

Our friends at HEKO are dedicated to not only bringing nutrition education & health care HIV+ women but also to inform the community, friends, and family that the discrimination needs to stop. Your support of this health care program through Mocha Club allows for this important message to be shared and for eradication to come quickly.


Before working as part of the staff at the Mocha Club, I joined as a member back in 2007 supporting the health care projects and HEKO. And this summer after 9 years of support, I will get the chance to go visit Peter and Monica at HEKO and see this life-changing work first-hand. Will you join me? For some of you, traveling to Africa may not be the call for you. But maybe joining me to support these women for $9 a month is – we can’t do this work without your help!

End the stigma now!

Written by: Fallon Klug

*Out of respect & safety of our partners, names have been changed.


African artists hope to bring peace with their music

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

American Grammy Award-winning artist and R&B singer, Ne-Yo, is collaborating with artists in Africa and recently visited Kenya. He will be performing in Uganda live this coming fall.

He recently Tweeted “In Kenya recording a mashup with 5 artists from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria & Uganda… #CokeStudioAfrica”

Some artists that Ne-Yo is working with include Ice Prince, Alikiba, Wangechi, and Dama do Bling. Many of these artists, including Wangechi and Dama do Bling, are working on promoting peace in Africa. They have a single coming out in honor of Peace Day at a festival in Rwanda this September and hope that it will bring the youth in the region to promote harmony within their communities.





Sierra Leone is celebrating little victories!

Sierra Leone has released their last Ebola patient from the hospital. The country is beginning the 42-day count down to see if the disease is officially terminated. The World Health Organization cannot declare the country Ebola-free until 42 days has passed without a new case.

Adamah Sankoh is the last patient to be fully cured and she is seen in this video dancing her way out of the hospital with the staff celebrating beside her. While the disease has taken many lives, including Sankoh’s son, there is still hope that there will be no new cases. There is joy on her face as she puts her handprint on the wall of survivors outside of the Ebola care center.

Officials from the National Ebola Response Centre are still being cautious and are adamant about hand-washing and screening because cases are still being found in bordering countries.



HEKO Stories: Spreading Compassion

Esther Nekesa is a single mother of four that lost her husband to HIV/AIDS related illnesses in 2002. She was also positive for HIV/AIDS herself and ended up bedridden with no hope. She had no husband, no way of taking care of her children, and no strength or health to live.  Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.07.21 AM

Mocha Club and HEKO began to take care of her by providing food vouchers and giving her education to sustain herself. With their patience, Esther felt their love and kindness being poured into her.

From the ministry, Nekesa says that she learned the importance of being compassionate to those with the disease. She says that she now loves to encourage and help others who are discriminated and abandoned because of HIV/AIDS. She wants to show them that they are important and can be loved.

What are you doing to spread compassion to the people in your community? You can start by joining Mocha Club to impact thousands of people in Africa!


5k in Uganda Raises Money for Cancer



Last week a Rotary Cancer Run was held at Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, Uganda. This was the fourth time people have gathered to run this race to support efforts to build new cancer facilities. Over 1,500 kits were sold and thousands showed up to participate in the Pepsi-sponsored event.





The proceeds from this 5k run are being used to build a cancer ward at the Nsambya hospital and a new blood bank at Mengo hospital. Rotarian, Dennis Jjuuko, says that they hope to set up more cancer wards and to create a greater awareness of cancer to Africans in the future.



Changing Autism in Africa

Irene Tongoi, founder of New Dawn, did not plan to open a high school in her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya. Similarly, Zemi Yenus became a teacher despite her plans of becoming a beautician. Both are stories of talent meeting opportunity and making a big and lasting impact for others.



Taking one’s struggles and turning them into successes is what promotes growth, and it’s exactly what Zemi Yenus did upon finding out her son has autism.

Zemi Yenus returned to her home of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1996 with her two sons in tow after a successful career as a beautician in Los Angeles. She brought her work back with her, creating the Niana School of Beauty, which drew in nearly 6,000 students. While her work life was successful, it was her home life that was full of struggle as her son Jojo wasn’t doing well in school and was developing at a rate slower than his younger brother, Bilal. Because of this, Jojo no longer could attend several schools and his private education was hurting the family’s finances. Yenus wanted to get to the root of his behavior problems that hindered his learning, so she took him to the UK to get tested, where he was diagnosed with autism- a shock to her as she was never told this while living in the US; she was only told he was a late talker. In Ethiopia, and Africa in general, there is little to no special care for those with autism so Yenus was faced with a difficult decision: to return to the US or do something about the lack of care. Ultimately, she chose to do something about it.

Summary by: Maddie Murphy

Source: CNN African Voices


AFRICA NEWS, Uncategorized

The One Reason I Come to Work Comes from the Congo

by Emily Blackledge

Emily Blackledge leads our work on the continent of Africa, spending her days interacting with local leaders on the ground. She’s seen a lot…but Congo changed her. Take a look at how this trip gave her new perspective on work she’s done for more than a decade.

I’ve been traveling in slums and refugee camps for 13 years. But nothing prepared me for Congo.

On my first trip to the DRC last year, I was overwhelmed by the heat and the rain and the volcanic ash and the smells. I could not escape the constant feeling of being dirty and the despair of the harsh reality of a life smashed between active volcanoes and lakes, and surrounded by rebels. I just felt overwhelmed, the deepest expression of hopelessness I had ever experienced.

So I came home and wrestled… with God, with my spirit, with my job. Where was, where is, the Gospel in a place like Goma? When God kicked us out of the Garden of Eden, Goma became our reality….

So where do we go from here? How do I live? How do I work? How do I reconcile my passion for supporting the local church and question if it can ever truly work in places like Goma?

Since that trip, God has graciously wrestled with me and led me to the redemption of the Gospel story: the truth that the Gospel is ALWAYS at work, will ALWAYS win, will ALWAYS wash over the people and places in the world that exist like Goma.

And he has blessed this wrestling with people like Denis Hangi.

Amidst my wrestling, God overwhelmed my world with Denis who, in turn, has splattered the Gospel all over me. In the midst of the harsh Goma reality, Denis fights everyday to sing the truth of the Gospel to everyone he encounters. He stands in the rain, the heat, the volcanic ash and builds bedrooms for orphans who need to know there is a God that loves them so desperately, they will sleep dry and safe tonight. He hurries through the muddy roads and smelly slums with his camera to document the progress of the plants now growing through ash for food for widows and orphans, and sends me those photos so I may celebrate our God along with him. He laughs and patiently explains in broken English the things I didn’t understand from an email written in French.  And he loves… lavishly, on those orphans, on the widows, on me.  Then, he reminds me why we must celebrate, why we must sing… for the Gospel is true in Goma. How can I not be undone and forever changed by this work? For its the Gospel, working and changing in the most dirty and hopeless of places. And it’s splattered all over the life and ministry of my friend Denis.

This is the ONE reason why I come to work… The Gospel in Goma is true and strong and real.  I can’t imagine anything other than toiling alongside my friends, mourning the dirty and broken, and celebrating every moment where green plants grow in the ash and where white washed buildings protect the least of these.


Why listen?

Our Belmont students continue their work with Ellilta to make sure it can grow with the increasing number of women who seek help today…and will seek help in the future! The team continues to focus on business practices that simply need some updating. What’s the biggest lesson? It’s not the number crunching or the systems building. It’s the idea of listening and understanding that what works in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily work in Africa. It works best when we take a step back, learn from one another and then move forward. Good lesson for life, right?