Browsing Category

FROM THE FIELD

ARTISTS, EVENTS, Uncategorized, Women at Risk

Volunteer with Mocha Club & Matt Wertz!

IMG_5103Mocha Club is heading out on the #GUNSHY tour with Matt Wertz this Fall! And we are looking for volunteers to help out at each show. Help support our friends in Africa by volunteering at the Mocha Club table!

We need 2 people to work the Mocha Club table and Matt’s merch table at each of the concerts listed below.  Would you be available? It will be a fun night sharing about Mocha Club and welcoming new people into our community. We can’t do this without you!

A fun bonus is that Mocha Club table staff get free admission to the concert!


GUNSHY FALL 2016 TOUR

September 14: Bryan, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 15 : Austin, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 16 : Dallas, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 17 : Waco, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 18 : Houston, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 20: Phoenix, AZ // VOLUNTEER!

September 23 : Hollywood, CA // VOLUNTEER!

September 27 : San Francisco, CA // VOLUNTEER!

September 29 : Portland, OR // VOLUNTEER!

September 30 : Seattle, WA // VOLUNTEER!

October 4: Salt Lake City, UT // VOLUNTEER!

October 6 : Denver, CO // VOLUNTEER!

October 8 : Lawrence, KS // VOLUNTEER!

October 9 : St. Louis, MO // VOLUNTEER!

October 19 : Orlando, FL // VOLUNTEER!

October 21: Charlotte, NC // VOLUNTEER!

October 23 : Charlottesville, VA // VOLUNTEER!

October 26 : Washington D.C. // VOLUNTEER!

October 27 : Allston, MA // VOLUNTEER!

October 28: New York City, NY // VOLUNTEER!

October 30 : Philadelphia, PA // VOLUNTEER!

November 10 : Ferndale, MI // VOLUNTEER!

November 11 : Grand Rapids, MI // VOLUNTEER!

November 12 : Chicago, IL // VOLUNTEER!

November 13: Minneapolis, MN // VOLUNTEER!

November 15 : Madison, WI // VOLUNTEER!

November 16 : Indianapolis, IN // VOLUNTEER!

November 17 : Louisville, KY // VOLUNTEER!

December 2 : Atlanta, GA // VOLUNTEER!

December 3 : Birmingham, AL // VOLUNTEER!


We’re looking for people who are…

  • Friendly, passionate, responsible, & organized
  • Able to take initiative in introducing Mocha Club to people
  • At least 18 years old

What Mocha Club table staff will need to do at the concert:

  • Arrive approximately 1 hour before the show to set up the Mocha Club table (instructions will be provided).
  • Explain Mocha Club to people who approach the table before, during, and after the event.
  • Be responsible for Mocha Club table items throughout the show (do not leave table unattended).
  • After concert, answer questions and help people fill out Mocha Club signup form.
  • Safely pack up all items at the end of the show and make sure completed signup forms are Fedex’d to us **no later than the next business day following the concert.**
Education, FROM THE FIELD

Happy Graduation, Denish!

Denish was a promising student in his primary school – receiving high marks and passing all his exams.  The next step should seem simple but for many children in Nairobi, Kenya, the journey ends here.

Denish is one of 9 siblings and for his father, this is quite a household to keep up financially.  Even working in the neardenishby Runda estate of Nairobi does not provide enough, and in this case, not enough for school.  When Denish heard of his passing scores from primary school, he was so excited to share the good news with his family. Unfortunately, the good news fell short when Denish’s father shared that he could not afford the school fees to send his son to school the next year. Denish wept.

The only thing that his father could offer him was encouragement to pray to God and trust that His will be done.

The next school year came and as Denish joined his dad in the labor business, he watched his fellow students from the previous year walk to high school in their new uniforms. Denish felt sad and jealous. But one day he saw something else: bright yellow school uniforms to another high school in the area.  He asked his dad to inquire about this other school and his dad didn’t hesitate.  The following morning, Denish’s dad walked into the office at New Dawn Educational Centre and shared his son’s passing test scores. The staff was impressed and admission for Denish was granted!

Thanks to New Dawn and it’s partners like Mocha Club, Denish was not only able to open space for him to learn but the financial means to take care of his fees.

Today Denish has graduated high school and looks forward to the opportunity to further his education at the university.

“When Jesus say yes, nobody can say no. To this far I have reached, I’ll never be a shamed to say that its all about God, and Glory to Him in the highest.”

FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

Women at Risk: Healing From the Inside Out

When thinking about organizations in Africa, you may be thinking, “How are people selected to be in these programs?”

The process of selecting women to be apart of the Women at Risk program is not a quick or easy process. The women are chosen based on their desire to leave the prostitution industry and their desire to leave it in the past. Here is a closer look into the process of how women’s lives are being changed.

2W2B81002W2B8073

First, social workers visit the women on the streets and in bars during the night, hoping to talk to them and build relationships with them. During the night visits, the social workers look for women who are desiring to leave prostitution and find a way out.

The beautiful thing about this is that the women are met right where they are. In the streets. In the bars. Just as they are. 

The social workers get to know them right where they are and invite them to come to the center for more relationship building. Finally, if the desire to get out of prostitution is authentic, they are invited for a final interview.

2W2B8213

2W2B8224

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, twenty women are accepted into the program and begin structured counseling. Many of the women receive one-on-one counseling to make their rehabilitation a success!

During this counseling, the women are loved on and cared for not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.

2W2B8311 (1)

In the final phase of the program, skills training, the women choose a skill to pursue and grow in. Trades include designing and tailoring, food preparation, and hair styling. Eight of the women also chose to start their own businesses and employ themselves. Training in finance was provided for these women, so they can learn the necessary skills to be successful.

One of the most impactful parts of this program is that during the rehabilitation process childcare is provided! In the Nazareth Project in Nazareth Town, Ethiopia, there are 54 children and mothers being cared for. Out of the 54 children, 11 of them are under the age of 4. The children receive day care and participate in a summer camp.

Without the help and care for the children, the mothers would not be capable of going through the full process of the Women at Risk program.

2W2B8139

Women at Risk is not only just for women, but it also helps children receive the loving care they need!

So when you participate in giving to The Mocha Club, you are not only helping women change their lives for the better, but you are helping families become whole again.

#mcjourney2016, Economic Freedom, FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

“I know the best is yet to come this is just the beginning.”

Geni has attended the counseling program at Women at Risk and completed it after five months. Currently, she has moved on to the skills program & is using her talents & new-learned skills to move forward to economic freedom.

dresses

Geni chose to take training in tailoring at the center for three months and has shown very good performance in her work. She started sewing different cloths in different styles to sell. Her friends and other people around her in the project encouraged her by buying her products. Fortunately, everyone liked her products and Women at Risk decided to buy her a sewing machine so that she can start a small scale sewing business in order to generate income by her own!

Geni has started her small business in a rental house and is doing well! She has already started saving money. Moreover, Geni’s child moved on to grad one in school with good grades and she is very happy about it.

Geni said “I know the best is yet to come this is just the beginning”. She thanks Ellilta Women At Risk and YOU for renewing her hope.

Support women like Geni

Receive a FREE item from the Mocha Club store when you join!

 

#mcjourney2016, FROM THE FIELD, MERCHANDISE, Uncategorized, Women at Risk

NEW! LIMITED-EDITION : Ethiopia Necklace

The Mocha Club store has a beautifully new addition to it’s inventory : the Ethiopia Necklace.

20b

Last month, a team from Nashville traveled to Ethiopia and Kenya on the #MCJourney2016. While in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, the team stopped by to visit our project partners at Women at Risk. These women formerly worked on the streets in desperate circumstances to take care of themselves and their families. Women at Risk came alongside them to provide food, care, and ultimately, a new way of life. One of the opportunities of employment is through jewelry making.

26b

When you buy the Ethiopia Necklace, you provide counseling & job skills training to a woman in the program. You are also helping to support her family through your purchase.  Made from re-purposed artillery & scrap metal, you can take a piece of Africa with you.

This is a very limited-edition piece with only a few in inventory. Purchase this exclusive piece today and share the story of Mocha Club with a friend.

Get this necklace as a FREE gift when you join the Mocha Club at $18/month!

 

 

FROM THE FIELD, Orphan Care, Uncategorized

Potato, Potahtoh.

Working in a place like the DRC takes patience and vision. Assess the circumstances alone, and you might just leave.

The success of any work relies on building relationship first.  Without a direct connection to and investment in the people at work in Africa, efforts fall short.

IMG_6868Sister Alvera leads the Flame of Love Orphanage.  She has cared for these children for a long time because, while this group of orphans is small, their lives are significant. Last fall, we invested financially in the immediate need for a new dormitory and kitchen.  Construction has concluded.

 

Months back, Sister Alvera and DRC Country Director, Denis championed sustainability efforts IMG_6876and assessed the purchase of farmland to both teach students agricultural skills and grow produce to sell.  Denis and Sister Alvera are determining that this agricultural program could make enough money to significantly reduce the orphanage’s overall operations costs.

Today, the orphanage is growing a potato farm that helps feed the orphans in Sister Alvera’s care!

Orphan Care

Meet Amana

African girl portrait.I am 13 years old, I have 3 brothers and I am the only girl. My dad died when I was 8 years old.

Deep Trauma…

When my dad was alive, I was his only daughter and he cherished me. I was in a good school, well dressed, and enjoyed family time. When he died everything suddenly changed. There was no food and no money to pay school fees or buy clothes. Life became very hard. My aunts and uncles came and took all of our inheritances, sold our home for money and took my brothers and me, not to help us, but for selling. We suffered a lot. I was able to escape with one of my brothers and return to our mom. When I woke up each day, I would see my dear dad in my broken heart. I would remember a good time and I would begin to weep.

New Hope…

One day, I was selected to participate in a workshop about trauma healing. This was a great time for me, to get a new direction to my life.  There, I met with other orphans living in the same or worse situations than me. It was a good time to heal my wounded heart.  At the end they gave me a precious gift, which is now my new friend.  When I feel alone my gift, my Bible, speaks to me. When I read it, it comforts me, gives me hope, and brings light to my future. It shows to me that I am not alone. I am with Jesus Christ, a great friend and a Dad for orphans.

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

Overcoming our circumstances

Driving through the urban areas of Ethiopia, rain is flooding the streets. Houses are made of mud and straw, there is little shelter, and the water runs into homes and businesses as they try to salvage what they can, hanging items on clothes lines and stacking on their shoulders and heads. I can’t help but to think about the struggle in that! Who knows how long it will rain, everything is soaking wet, once it is finished, they have to re-patch walls, hang up clothes to dry, and find a way to make up for the time their business was slow due to people taking shelter.

IMG_4393We allow our odds to define us, to tell us how we should feel, and how our actions will look. When one thing goes against our will, against our plan, interrupts our day or our lives, even if everything else is going our way, our moods change. A scowl forms, and we no longer feel a sense of joy. We lack understanding, want immediate answers, and refuse to look up until we do.

An Ethiopian woman is walking across the rock covered railroad in the rain with no shoes, sopping wet, but is grateful for rain water to clean herself off with when she reaches her destination. An Ethiopian man is ankle high in mud in the fields, praising God for the rain in order for his crops to grow. The Ethiopian Shepherd has a smile on his face as his flock now has water to drink from which provides energy to keep moving. And the Ethiopian children are splashing in the rain puddles, covered in mud and all you see and hear is a vibrant smile and innocent laughter. Where we see odds, others see blessings.

Written by: Brittany Mullins from Beneath The Skin

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, Women at Risk

#MCJourney2016 Day Four : Women at Risk

The Mocha Club Journey team has landed back home safely in the States – back to the same work week but not back with the same heart posture. Each project partner we visited left us with a change in knowledge, perspective, & joy. One of our team members, Lizzie, shares about one such encounter…

 

From the Shadows into the Light: Renewing Hope for Women and Girls in Ethiopia

FullSizeRender

As we drive down the streets of one of Addis Ababa’s red light districts, dozens of young girls stand in the shadows against concrete walls, faintly illuminated by the cold glow of fluorescent streetlights. Girl after girl, with only a few feet separating one from the next, flash past us as we make our way down the rows of rundown shacks and dingy bars. Nebiyu, the program manager for Ellilta Women At Risk, takes us from one location to another, each street lined with dozens of sex workers waiting for their first customers of the night. I try to count how many there are, but quickly find it’s impossible – there are too many to count. In disbelief, I asked Nebiyu if there’s always this many girls out here. “No,” he explains, “it’s still early, and it’s a Sunday. There’s usually much more.”

This is life for thousands of women and girls in Addis Ababa. Figures estimate that there are as many as 150,000 prostitutes in the city alone, and the number is rapidly growing. Here, the price for sex runs as low as 10 birr, which is equivalent to less than 50 cents in US dollars. Women and girls who have entered into prostitution are marginalized, exploited, ignored; they are regularly victims of abuse, often living in poverty. So it’s a valid question to ask: Why would they do it?

In our culture, there is a common misconception that prostitution is a choice. However, I would argue that in most cases, prostitution actually arises from a lack of choice. In Ethiopia, many women come to Addis from rural areas across the country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Over 80 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in the countryside, where the average income is less than $1 per person per day. Desperate for work, girls will leave their rural homes and make the journey to Addis. However, without education or job training, many will eventually abandon hope in ever finding work and resign themselves to a life of prostitution with the belief that they have no other option.

For other women, sexual exploitation may be the only life they know. A vast majority of girls on the streets were victims of sexual abuse as children, with estimates ranging anywhere from 75 to 90 percent. Others are the product of intergenerational prostitution, where mothers involved in sex work will raise their daughters to follow in their footsteps. So the women we see standing on the street may not have been trafficked from another country, chained to a bed, and sold to strange men; but is there ultimately a difference between physical chains and psychological ones?

Regardless of how it begins, the outcome is often the same: frequent and often severe physical abuse, sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and addiction. One study found that 68 percent of prostituted women met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which falls within the same range as combat veterans and victims of torture. Women who are in prostitution also have a significantly higher death rate than women who are not.

It is apparent that the dangers are incredibly real but many perceive them to be inescapable. In a study conducted across nine countries, 89 percent of women involved in the sex industry are desperate to escape, but feel they are unable to overcome their circumstances due to economic necessity, addiction, a lack of employment options, coercion, or access to basic human services such as a home, education, job training, counseling, or treatment. This is where organizations like Ellilta Women at Risk step in to break the cycle of exploitation and abuse. Through their programs, Ellilta Women at Risk has renewed hope for over a thousand women, giving them a life of freedom and restoration.

ABOUT ELLILTA-WOMEN AT RISK

The Program:

Ellilta Women at Risk (EWAR) is a holistic 21-month program for women who want to escape the commercial sex industry. Throughout the entire program, women are given access to free childcare and a monthly stipend, which frees them from the financial pressure to return to the streets to support themselves and their children. The first six months are dedicated to counseling, nutrition, and treatment. The following six months provides the women with training in a marketable skill, job placement, and any assistance if they wish to start their own business. After 12 months, the women will have successfully graduated from the program but will continue to have monthly check-ins for an additional nine months as they begin to search for new jobs or start their own business.

Ellilta Women at Risk has a partnership with Ellilta Products, which is a company that provides additional job training and employment to women in the Women At Risk program (to learn more about their story, visit www.elliltaproducts.com).

Intervention:

To ensure that their children are cared for throughout the duration of the program, EWAR also covers any school fees and provides daycare services, after school tutoring, psychosocial and medical support, organized activities, and summer day camps. This provides children with a safe place to live, play, learn and grow.

Prevention:

During a field study conducted in local schools and churches, EWAR found that the average age that a person enters prostitution is age 12. At this age, children who have grown up in an atmosphere where sex work has been normalized begin to view their bodies as a source of income. To prevent and protect these children from sexual exploitation, EWAR meets with local schools and churches to educate the community on the risks and damaging effects of prostitution.

From victims to leaders:

90% of the women who graduate from the Women at Risk program never return to prostitution. These women transform themselves from victims into survivors, and from survivors into leaders. Many go on to start new businesses, and often return to support and train other graduates. Relationships are renewed, families are transformed, and hope is spread through the entire community. EWAR has been so successful in their work that grassroots ministries from over a dozen African countries have duplicated their model and are now transforming the lives of thousands of women all across Africa.

The morning after the night drive, Nebiyu drove with us to the Women At Risk program center in Nazareth, a city about 2 hours outside of Addis. Our van came to a stop in front of a colorful gate surrounded by high walls. The dark images in our minds of countless young girls hidden in the shadows melted away as the guard opened the gate and we walked into a bright courtyard filled with lush greenery, mango trees and orange hibiscus flowers. Several stations with sewing machines and vibrant fabrics were set up in the sunshine, and we were instantly met with warm smiles and the sounds of laughter. It was immediately obvious to all of us that this place was a safe haven; a world away from the life that these women once lived.

The transformative power of this program in the lives of these women, their families, and their communities cannot be overestimated. I will never forget these women, their stories, their strength or their bravery. I will never forget the smiles on their faces or their tears of joy. I will never forget the love they pour into their families and each other, or the love they have fought to pour back into themselves.

Partner with Mocha Club in supporting Women at Risk!

#mcjourney2016, AFRICA TRIPS, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

#MCJourney2016 Day Three : HEKO

IMG_3784

Four days have flown by already on #MCJourney2016, but somehow we’ve seen and heard more than words can summarize. We as a group have been talking about our experience so far, and we all relate to the beautifully frustrating struggle to communicate to our loved ones about this trip. Translating this mix of joy, despair, gratitude, conviction, grace, and overwhelming hope into words is no easy task.

I have to be the first to apologize to my friends and family for inadequately describing the nature of our journey as a whole. When asked in casual conversation why I was heading to Africa with the Mocha Club, I’d often say a quick response like, “To continue work with ongoing service projects” or simply, “With a non-profit.” Let me be so clear: this is no mission or volunteer trip. This journey is more like a learning trip or a listening trip; a let-me-know-your-story-so-I-can-genuinely-love-you-well trip. We joked today that it should be called a RelationTrip because that really is our whole goal. 

We are here to create and sustain relationships with African organizations who work within and through community members. We are here to listen to them tell us their greatest needs, and to hear directly from them about how to meet them in ways they know will best for the community. The “work” the Mocha Club has led us to do here exemplifies a quote I recently heard from Alexander Shaia: “Service is really going out with open hands and realizing that we’re standing in the presence of a magnificent other who is going to teach us.” Boy, we have learned so much in these four days. 

As a Mocha Club member, I had heard of each of the projects we would be visiting but I knew little about the stories behind them. What a gift it has been to sit down with founders of organizations like New Dawn Educational Centre and Heritage Kenya Organization (HEKO) to hear them explain, from the very beginning, how their visions came to life here in Kenya. 

IMG_3853

We spent yesterday afternoon at HEKO in the Kibera slum. Kibera sits in the center of Nairobi where over 500,000 people live in extreme poverty with little to no access to food, water, education, or physical/mental health care. Founders Peter and Monica Odero, residents of Kibera, recognized a growing issue specifically surrounding women with HIV/AIDS as the disease became more prevalent in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Societal stigma left many of these women abandoned by their husbands and completely shut out from family members who viewed HIV/AIDS as a (often inaccurate) reflection of immoral behavior or infidelity. Their homes were taken away, and these women were left with no way to feed their families or care for themselves. 

HEKO exists today to provide women with HIV/AIDS access to counseling to cope with their circumstances, nutritional education to ensure their medications work effectively, and physical activity to foster a community who moves and finds joy together. HEKO’s overall focus is to empower women with HIV/AIDS as they learn new skills to create products through which they earn a sustainable living.

DSC_0160

Listening to each woman’s story served as evidence of a yet another miracle in an unlikely place. Women receiving support through HEKO have seen major health improvements and some have even watched their children graduate from college. They have found light in dark circumstances, and community when they were once neglected and alone. And to think, this history of redemption all began when Peter and Monica chose to fight for a group of women who’d been told they were irredeemable.

Our time at HEKO was beautiful because it allowed us to peek into the darker corners of the lives of these women, particularly those who are afraid to share their diagnosis with neighbors and friends. But it also convicted me and begged to me to consider: Who am I overlooking? Whose gaze do I struggle to meet because I don’t “feel comfortable” loving them?  Instinctively, I want to wave my angry finger the families of these women — the relatives who left them with nothing — and tell them, “How dare you? How could you forget them?” But in truth, I have blindspots too. I’ll admit I have a hard time looking at the man on the corner with a handmade sign as he asks for help. I am fully aware of the thousands of people struggling to survive in my own community, and yet I carry on as if they’re not there. So many women in Kibera have a life and a hope because someone chose to seem them. What if we also made an effort to see those people and places we’ve kept behind our self-constructed walls?

If you have been moved by the work Peter and Monica Odero do through HEKO, you can contribute to their efforts today. Like right now! Peter assured us yesterday that the small sacrifice of one cup of coffee most certainly improves the lives of these women. More than this, when we empower one woman, we also guarantee a future for her children and we encourage growth throughout all of Kibera.

To learn more about how you can support this cause and many others, head to: http://www.themochaclub.org/journey