10 Ways To Change TheWorld

1. Invest in Education

Education is a human right that is often treated as a privilege. When my friends and I started Seeds For Hope, we had a dream to provide access to those if given just a small chance, could change their world, and the world around them.

Angela’s story, above is just an example of how education can turn a life around. It’s not just about earning a degree, but the confidence that is instilled in a person through their achievements will last them the rest of their lives.

2. Connect Young People to the Arts

Music, poetry, dance, theater: are all mediums for self and collective expression. Joy, pain, sorrow, fear, and celebration are all expressed through the arts. Young people are often not shielded from the tragedies of this world, and art can be an outlet, and a tool for youth, to work through their experiences. SFH’s Arts for Life program, connects arts professionals with Kenyan schools, in order to use music, art, poetry and theater to teach skills, and help deal with the challenges of the world around. The video above is the result of one of these workshops. “You Might Think” is a powerful piece were students expressed in their own words their true identity vs. the way others may look at them.

3. Get out and see the world!

You can only learn so much about the world around you from books, magazines, and reality TV. There are many misunderstandings between people in the developing world and people in the west. Despite our access to social media, you can only go so far with a tweet. SFH connects students with others abroad, through volunteer programs and workshops. The collaborations and dialogue that result from these programs encourage understanding, compassion, and a greater sense of our connectedness on this planet. The video above is a short film about one such collaboration between a NYC rock musician, and a girls school in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. Watch the trailer above, or the entire mini-documentary, to see how this collaboration impacted everyone involved.

4. Invest locally

Investing in students through a scholars program is just one part of the equation. It’s important to invest in local organizations, in order to see a sustainable changes in a landscape. Local organizations have the most effective means to impact a community. They have the history, network, and most importantly, the relationships, in order to make change happen! Seeds For Hope also invests in local organizations who possess a model for sustainable growth and positive impact in their communities. Kibera Girls Soccer Academy is just one of these organizations, where our initial seed funding helped launch the school to great heights. Learn more about our partners here.

5. Be loyal. Foster relationships.


While we have over 200 alumni of our SFH Scholars Fund, for us, education and scholarship is not a numbers game. We are a small organization, having large impact in the lives of individuals. One of the things our students have told us that have made the most difference, is that we have committed to each one through the duration of their academic program. Not just on an organizational level, but even as volunteers, donors, we give a little then depart, which sometimes is the only thing we are able to do, with the demands of life. But making a conscious choice to invest in an organization or individual for the long run, we leave the realm of “charity” and enter into the realm of interdependence and mutual respect, which is so much more transformative than any hand out can ever be. When we invest in a student, we don’t just commit to them for a single term or year, but rather, once a student is granted a scholarship, we are committed to them for the duration until they complete that particular level of schooling. With each of our students, we offer guidance and mentorship and other support, so that all barriers to the learning process can be removed in an effort to increase their chances at success. Learn more about how we work with our scholars.

6. Invest In Career Oriented Programs

Survival based employment is a common way of life for many young people. In places like Kenya, young people will drop out of school as young as 12 years old, to begin working as a day laborer, to earn pennies for hours of work. With education being costly past primary school, families would rather have their children work than continue their education. Many charities out there, will help teach young people skills that are not marketable outside of large factory environments. Having hard skills is important for income, but career oriented programs are all about the big picture.

Our scholars are encouraged to not only do well and complete their education, but in addition, know themselves and discover their dreams, so that when they finish, they can begin following them.

80% of our grads have moved away from this mindset of employment as a survival technique but rather, have put themselves on career paths towards making their dreams come true.

7. Invest in girls FIRST.


There is a saying that when you educate a girl, an educated girl becomes an educated woman, and an educated woman, can become an educated mother, and an educated mother will have educated children, which leads to the transformation of a family, a community, and even a whole society. Seeds for Hope gives priority to young women. In the developing world, women are very much at risk, and at the same time, crucial to the eradication of dependence and poverty.

Education is a gift that continues to give. Many of our scholars will have the ability to put their own siblings and children into school because of their ability to increase their income. What happens is, a family becomes no longer reliant on charity but is now self sustaining. Educating one person can lead to freedom for a whole number of people. Because Our program leads to graduates being proactive in the lives of others breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence.

8. Invest in small businesses


Investing in community groups and local businesses can achieve longterm economic empowerment through income generating activities that are locally owned and lead. Syana Nzeo (which means Good Children in Kikamba) is a group of elderly caregivers caring for 150 AIDS orphans in the Ukambani province in Kenya. In 2012, They approached us to set up a poultry business that could sustain the educational costs of their children. It proved to be very successful and this business supports education and other household expenses until today! Read more about it on our blog.

9. Invest in programs that promote education on relational and sexual health.

Despite our modern access to information, young people all over the world are still at a crossroads in the decisions they have to make, regarding their relationships and themselves. HIV is still an epidemic in many parts of the world, where young people don’t have all the information they need, that can protect them. When a young person is educated in the realm of sexuality and relationships, they get a better understanding of how to take care of themselves and their partners.

10. Remind a young person that they CAN make a difference


Through 11 years of working with SFH, one thing that we noticed most, is that our scholars are now part of a generation of people who want to influence the coming generation of dreamers; many of our scholars will volunteer and mentor current students in the program. Read about some of our scholars, as they describe these transformations in their own words. We see clearly that investing in education not only changes the course of an individual’s life, but creates a ripple effect from the student to the world around them.

Seeds For Hope is a 501©3 Non-Profit organization, registered in the United States and Kenya, whose mission is to promote holistic development among underserved children and youth in Kenya through integrated health and social programs that expand access to education, health services and economic opportunity transforming them, their households and their communities at large.

Our vision is for a world where access is a right, not a privilege!

Help us make a difference!

We are competing for a grant with Microsoft, the Upgrade Your World campaign. Cast your votes on Twitter mentioning @seedsforhope with #UpgradeYourWorldKE and #Vote.. We’ve created some great tweets for you here: http://seedsforhope.org/2015/09/13/11-reasons-to-vote-sfh-for-upgradeyourworldke/

You can also make a tax-deductible donation here: http://seedsforhope.org/donate


Hacking Ebola

Not your typical Friday. Back from a sushi dinner, long overdue, with a close friend. And I’m remembering the first thing I saw on my computer this morning when I opened Chrome:Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 10.22.50 PM


My trusty Momentum Chrome Extension was quite adept  in forecasting the course of my day, first of all, with a photo of the Bay Area, the only photo from US soil I’ve seen in weeks, and then the quote by Margaret Mead which reads:

“Never underestimate the ability of a small group of dedicated people to change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Nothing could have been more appropriate or prophetic for what was to lay in store for me that evening.   At 5pm, in a conference room in downtown Oakland, I sat in a room with a lawyer, a technical leader, a healthcare professional, a design thinker, a freelance engineer, a biotech hardware engineer, a techno-cultural community organizer, a marketer, an investor, all brought together by what I would describe as a renaissance man, musician and technolgist, CEO and Founder of Feykena, Dwalu Khasu.  Who has a razor sharp determination to accomplish one goal with this small group of individuals: Eradicate Ebola from the planet.    I’ve never in my life participated in the discussion around something so grand, however I was not overwhelmed, but completely and utterly inspired.    In a few weeks, the plan is to hold a Hackathon in San Francisco, to create practical, and innovative solutions to the various concerns of people on the ground: healthcare workers, those infected, and those who are not.    While Silicon Valley remains silent,  and CEO’s wives pour money into the CDC, there is a small meeting of the minds, but these are not just any regular people, but I felt I was sharing a room with giants.  The brain power, passion, compassion, resources, and influence in this room, just humbled me.

I hear the voice of Boromir: One does not simply walk into Mordor.

One of the very first things that needs to happen, is to change the narrative, stop the fear mongering, and become a voice of calm and reason, and where we can: help and educate.   Keep your eyes peeled, I’m not sure where this is going, but the call has been answered.

This kind of irreverent boldness is necessary in times of crisis.