Building Sustainable Development

By Jaclyn Snook

Poverty. This is a word with many meanings. It’s a word that touches the lives and hearts of every nationality, country and city. Poverty. This is a word that no one wants to have attached to their name and in many cases is a word that turns many away with an instant onset of fear. Poverty touches the lives of people I call my dear friends and family. What does poverty look like? That is a question that would take weeks to even scratch the surface of. Poverty is mostly seen as a lack of basic needs such as food and water. But poverty can also be relational, a lack of personal loving relationships.

My heart burns to see every person old and young have the same opportunity to reach their full potential in life. It’s my dream that children all around the world grow up with the opportunity to get an education, have food in their belly and someone to love them. This is what we are trying to do at Kuamini. We are helping children in desperate need of assistance to go to school and have a meal to feed their belly and mind. This fills my heart with so much joy knowing that a child who would otherwise become just another statistic is given a chance. They will be world changers.

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We at Kuamini strive to promote sustainable development in all the areas of our work. We have a desire to give a hand up not a hand out. We desire to end the cycle of poverty in the lives of the people we reach and create a relationship with them not just mechanically “help” them with our magic western ways.

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Creating Sustainable Development

If my last statement sounded harsh…I’m sorry. I just have seen the richness of the culture and beauty amongst the poorest of poor. I’ve seen people with absolutely nothing give with so much generosity and love than people who have it all. This challenged me and still does every single day. A woman raising her children alone, living in a mud hut with nothing gave me 5 yards of fabric because she cared for me. This woman who sewed her heart out to put food on the table and send her children to school sacrificed so much to show she cared. This woman lived in material poverty but was one of the wealthiest in spirit I have ever met. She didn’t need me, I needed her. She didn’t need me to buy her material goods I needed her to teach me about generosity and love. As a charity we strive to look deeper than surface level when we assist those in need. We want to help but only if it will help someone help themselves.

What does this look like? Buying and raising chickens, buying a brick maker, providing a meal for hungry students, helping children go to school so they have a chance at a future. It looks like life partnership, also known as friendship! I wouldn’t mindlessly feed a friend’s addiction or weakness. I would love and partner with them to see that they reach their full potential. This is what we stand for at Kuamini – serving others through sustainable development.

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2015 in Review

In 2015, we started blogging more actively, but there is definitely room to grow! We want to share with our readers what Kuamini is working on, our vision of our charity’s future and about us as a team. Look for even more growth in Kuamini in 2016!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 520 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Bon Voyage, Jackson!

Our President, Jackson, will be travelling to Kenya to meet with our team there over the next month. We wish him a safe journey and that his trip will be productive!

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He will be meeting with and encouraging the children we are sponsoring to go to school, as well as those who are part of our school lunch program. He will be bringing much needed school supplies, equipment and clothing to the community.

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A large part of Jackson’s trip will be speaking with the community in Butere, Kenya and listening and observing the needs that they have, such as clean water, sanitary latrines, school fees for children, hunger and poverty. We are looking for practical and sustainable ways that we can work to eliminate extreme poverty in rural Kenya.

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We are excited to hear more updates about the difference that Kuamini has been making in rural Kenya. Stay tuned for recaps of his trip!

Joining the Global Goals Movement

Yesterday, the United Nations made a landmark announcement. They presented 17 Global Goals for world leaders, countries, organizations and communities to come together and to achieve by 2030. These 17 goals work together to achieve three things: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. You can read more about the UN’s Global Goals here.

 

Twitter was all abuzz about the #GlobalGoals. I was very inspired reading and watching the global community come together online and say, “Yes, we are committed to making the world a better place.” There are thousands (probably millions) of people around the world who are committed to giving back to their communities, to inspire change.

I think that so often when the issues of extreme poverty, hunger, lack of education are discussed, they can seem insurmountable. I think it can be easy to say, “I’m just one person, how much of a difference can I make?” There are so many great organizations that are already doing wonderful things to change the world. Yes, the issues are huge, daunting and far reaching, which is why it takes all of us. We all need to work together to achieve the goals that will change our world. Some of us focus on making governments more accountable to their citizens. Some of us work on providing clean and accessible water to every community. Some of us focus on injustice and inequality. Some, like us at Kuamini, work on providing access to education, food and sanitary latrines for children and their communities.

We are a new and growing non-profit organization that is excited to be a part of this movement. We are ready to get to work and do what we can to make the world a better place for everyone! We encourage you to join us on our journey.

Working as a global community to make the world a better place.

 

Mouthwatering Homemade Mandazi – Kenyan Doughnuts

One of the items that we sold at our yard sale were Kenyan doughnuts called Mandazi They are also known as Swahili Buns or Swahili Coconut Doughnuts. Mandazi are a type of fried bread which is a popular snack in Kenya. They  can be eaten as a side dish with fruit flavoured dips, with chai (tea) or as a snack on their own.

Mandazi are very similar to a yeast doughnut, and is similarly then fried. One thing that makes them stand out is that often include a few teaspoons of spice such as cardamom, cinnamon, allspice or ginger. This gives them a sweet and aromatic essence to them. Some variations might also include adding coconut milk to add some sweetness or some chopped peanuts or almonds to add texture and flavour.

They are quite simple to make and when you taste them, you will understand what makes them so popular! Give this recipe a try and let us know in the comments or on Facebook how they turned out!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp spice (one or more of the following to total one-quarter teaspoon: cardamom, cinnamon,allspice, ground ginger)
  • 2 tbs butter, margarine, or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup warm milk (optional)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for deep frying
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. All pastry ingredients should be allowed to come to room temperature if they have been in the refrigerator. When using yeast: mix the yeast with a few spoonfuls of the warm water (105-115 F).
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, and spice (cardamom is most common in Eastern Africa). Add the yeast. Mix the water, butter (or margarine, or oil), milk, and egg together. Gradually add this mixture to the flour while kneading into dough. (If not using milk and egg use additional water as necessary.) Knead until a smooth and elastic dough is formed—fifteen to twenty minutes. Place dough in a clean bowl, cover with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place (such as on oven that has been heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit then turned off) for an hour or more.
  3. Divide the dough into several hand-sized pieces. Roll or press the pieces into circles about one-half inch thick. Cut circles into halves or quarters (or whatever you like). Some cooks (when using yeast) place the dough on a cookie sheet and let them rise a second time.
  4. Heat a few cups of vegetable oil to 300 degrees Fahrenheit in a skillet or deep pot. Fry the dough in the hot oil, turning a few times, until they are golden brown all over. Fry only as many together as can float in the oil without touching one another. Place on paper towels to drain. Serve warm.
  5. Dust with icing sugar if desired

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(Recipe courtesy of http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Kenyan_Mandazi)

(Header photo from Goway Agent News)

Our Second Annual Yard Sale was a Success!

On September 12, 2015, Kuamini held its second annual garage sale in Burford, Ontario! This was a huge success and we thank everyone who brought pre-loved items to be sold and who stopped by our sale. At the end of the day, we raised over $1500, which was more than last year.

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We were wondering what the weather would be like, since the weather reports were calling for rain all weekend. But other than a few moments of drizzle, we had a rain-free day, which contributed to making the day much more enjoyable and successful!

In addition to selling used items, we also had a small bake sale with items brought in from our volunteers. Our president, Jackson, also made Kenyan doughnuts called mandazi, which were a huge hit! We will upload a recipe in our next post for you adventurous chefs to try! If you make some, send us a photo and show us how they turned out!

Mandazi-recipe

Kenyan Mandazi (Doughnuts)

As well, we featured some beautiful artisanal crafts brought back from Kenya. The artisans there make beautiful bead jewellery, artwork and figurines. We still have a few pieces left over, so look for them at our next fundraising event!

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Our Kenyan Artisanal Crafts

Not all of our yard sale items were sold at our sale, but they did not go to waste. Everything that was left was donated to another local charity, Pennies for Freedom, who are dedicated to fighting human trafficking.

Finally, we would like to thank all of the volunteers that make Kuamini a possibility. We have a dedicated team that worked tirelessly on collecting items, transporting them and setting up for the sale. They are the driving force behind our organization!

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Jaclyn, Jackson and Jennifer

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Kuamini Yard sale 2015

Jackson telling customers about Kuamini’s projects

Exciting Milestone Reached!

Kuamini is proud to announce that we have received our official charity registration through the Canadian Revenue Agency! This has been a goal of ours since the idea of Kuamini first was created. This is an exciting milestone in our organization!

Kuamini began in May 2014 with a small group of educators and humanitarians who wished to make a difference in the world. Throughout the past year we have watched as our organization grew. We have grown in the number of our volunteers, our vision and our outreach in the community.

In establishing a new charity, we have had bumps along the way as we organized fundraising events and worked to bring awareness to our organization. But through each experience we have grown as a team and we have worked to meet our goals.

Being registered as an official charity is the first of many goals to be reached. We invite you to join us in our journey and see where Kuamini goes in the future!

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