Doing Good with Greenhouses

Greenhouses are something you may not think much about… especially when it comes to promoting social justice. But, in many parts of the world where food and finances are scarce, greenhouses can provide a sustainble food source, as well as income generating opportunities. These small glass buildings are designed to optimize plant growth and grant communities access to fresh produce throughout the year. We’ve created several greenhouse projects in Kenya, which have been successful in providing vegetables and generating funding for children, and we’re currently setting up another one.

Here’s our greenhouses being installed in Kenya.

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Nearing harvest time with the tomatoes grown at the greenhouse.

In Nakuru, we installed six greenhouses, which grow lettuce, cabbage, onions, kale, spinach, green peppers, and red beets. By growing their own fresh produce, this children’s home has been able to save thousands of dollars that was normally spent on food costs. Some of that money has been reinvested into the project, through the implementation of a drip line system. The drip lines save water waste, as well as cost and time from the gardeners. Through selling the extra vegetables in the market, they’ve also been able to purchase cooking charcoal for the meals of the over 200 children who live at the home.

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The plants are flourishing at our greenhouse.

We also setup a greenhouse project in Nairobi, which has been producing thousands of pounds of vegetables. Among the varieties of produce grown are lettuce, tomatoes, kale and spinach, all of which go first to the 57 children who live at the home benefitting from the greenhouse. After that, the surplus produce is sold in the markets and the profits then cover their educational costs. In Kenya older children have to pay school fees to continue their studies… and with this greenhouse, these kids can!

A teacher at the home educating the children in Nairobi.

A teacher at the home educating the children in Nairobi.

At another location in Nairobi, we’re working on a greenhouse project that will provide food for 43 children. Like the other greenhouse projects, this one will first guarantee access to fresh, health vegetables to the kids everyday- something many of us take for granted. After that, the excess produce will be sold for profits, which will guarantee the children’s education. Also like our earlier projects, this greenhouse is environmentally friendly, and sustainable, as the income generated covers the cost of maintenance and gardeners. Find out more about this upcoming project and how you can be a part of a green revolution that puts food on the table and keeps kids in school.

 

Lighting Up Lives

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We recently replaced 44 light bulbs for LED lights in Kenya. This small change will have a big impact, as it will allow the home to save on their electric bill. What this means is that they can use more electricity for less money. So the 70 children that live there will now have lights during the evenings to do their school work. More lights and more chances to study- all while saving 90% on their electrical costs!

 

 

You Can Make A Difference This Week

it's in your hands

 

“It’s in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” -Nelson Mandela

It’s the start of a new week and a fresh start to make a real difference. One person really can change the world- all it takes is believing in yourself and going for it! How can you start bringing about positive change? 

We Honor Earth Day Today and All Year Round

Today is Earth Day, a day to open up some very important conversations regarding the responsibilities and commitments we all have to take on, for the future of our planet. From solar panels to aquaponics, we are working to make sure that our projects not only help children, but help care for planet Earth.

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In Honduras, we have an aquaponics project. Aquaponics is a sustainable food system, which uses traditional aquaculture (the raising of fish) in combination with hydroponics (raising plants in water). By raising tilapia in a symbiotic environment that also grows vegetables in the water, a complete sustainable ecosystem is formed… as the farm breeds tilapia while the veggies grow in the surrounding pond, and the pond then fertilizes the farm. And aquaponics uses only a fraction of the water that traditional farming uses! Learn more about how we feed 27 children fish and produce in a sustainable way.

led bulbs good samaritan

In Kenya, we recently replaced over 40 traditional light bulbs with LED bulbs. Did you know that by simply switching to LED bulbs, you can save over 90% of a current energy bill. LED bulbs also last 20 times longer than normal light bulbs, which means less waste and less pollution from the manufacturing, packaging and shipping of light bulbs. In addition to helping the environment, this project also saves money, on energy bills which goes towards the improving the quality of life for 70 children. Find out how these eco-friendly lightbulbs are changing lives.

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Also in Kenya, we have two greenhouse projects and have another in the works. Greenhouses are a great way to grow plants all year round, without using electrical heat. By growing your own vegetables, you cut down on the pollution caused by transporting produce to supermarkets. Also, by not using harmful, polluting chemicals, we can keep feeding children without harming Mother Earth. Check out our latest greenhouse project.

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We will continue to create sustainable projects and to honor our mission of caring for the environment, while working to improve lives around the world. How are you going to go green today?

 

Inspiration from Anne Frank

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Monday Motivation from Anne Frank, a child wise beyond her years. Even though her life was tragically short, her writings have inspired generations. May we all take her advice to heart this week and not let another moment go by before we start making positive changes and serving others. 

Bring Back Our Girls: 2 Years Later

Photo: Unicef Canada

Photo: Unicef Canada

Two years ago, the world witnessed the brutal abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Nigeria, who were simply studying for their classes, when their lives changed forever. While we still don’t know where many of those girls are today, at least 57 have successfully and daringly escaped. There is new hope that at least some of the girls are alive, from a video released by the terrorist group. None of the girls have been rescued and hundreds may still be in danger. The world came together to protest this gross injustice and we have to use that energy to keep moving forward in the fight for human rights.

Photo: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo: (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s a heartfelt video from one of the mothers speaking to her missing daughter. It reminds us that we all love the same way and that we need to make this world a safe place for everyone.

 

We work to care for vulnerable children around the world, who are often living in orphanages. Never has this work been more needed, as we now have so many children displaced from their homes. It’s estimated that 30 million children have been displaced due to war and conflict, which hasn’t happened since the end of World War II. Like the girls kidnapped from Nigeria, many vulnerable children are robbed of their chance to go to school. Our mission is to elevate the quality of life and break the cycle of poverty for children, and an essential part of that is education. Education is the key that opens up a world of possibilities to children and can be the difference between staying or overcoming poverty.

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We’re currently fundraising for a project in Kenya, which involves the refurbishing of 4 greenhouses on the property of the St. Catherine’s Children’s Home. Those greenhouses will allow the home to grown fresh produce, which will then be given to the 43 children living there, as well as sold in the markets. The profits gained from selling the vegetables will help pay for the school fees for the older children. Since the home is in Kenya, higher education is not a free service for children. We’ve done similar greenhouse projects to cover educational costs at the Watoto Wema Home and the Fiwagoh Home, both located in Kenya. To help these children receive the education they deserve, please visit our project site.

 

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/world/africa/nigeria-boko-haram.html?_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gordon-brown/bring-back-our-girls-anniversary-boko-haram_b_9692818.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/14/africa/nigeria-chibok-girls-reaction/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/r-evon-idahosa/mothers-of-girls-stolen-by-boko-haram_b_9695826.html

http://reliefweb.int/report/world/30-million-children-displaced

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boko-haram-chibok-schoolgirls-new-video_us_570f965fe4b0ffa5937e4768?utm_hp_ref=world&utm_hp_ref=world

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gordon-brown/bring-back-our-girls-anniversary-boko-haram_b_9692818.html?slideshow=true#gallery/351963/6  

Ending Hunger with an App

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There’s a new app that is addressing an issue that is prevalent around the world and central to our work: ‪#‎hunger‬. Companies can use the Copia app, and if they had an event, for instance, the leftover food would be picked up and donated to a food pantry or homeless shelter. Our current greenhouse project in Kenya is also attempting to address this problem, by growing fresh produce for the children of St. Catherine’s Home: http://goo.gl/ahdROZ

While we work all over the world, even in America 1 in 6 people live in food insecure homes. Copia has already helped 700,000 people by delivering to them 800,000 pounds of food. Read more about Copia’s tech-forward program: http://goo.gl/d6GxRt

Technology and Human Rights

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Photo: Micah Farfour/DigitalGlobe

Here’s a cool story about the merging of technology with social justice. Now satellites are being used to expose human rights violations. This is really important because lots of places where these violations are occurring don’t allow outsiders. But, now with this new technology we can have a better idea of what’s happening in the world and how we can help. Read more: goo.gl/x957Fx 

Paid Parental Leave Now a Reality in SF

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Photo: Jim Wilson/The New York Times

San Francisco is now the first city in the US to mandate paid parental leave. We’re hoping this is a sign of things to come. Parental leave is really important to the quality of life and for giving people agency over their family-planning choices. This new law applies to all families, regardless of gender or whether they are adoptive parents. It’s a big step towards equality that will help parents not have to make the choice between losing their job or having a child. Read more!