Winning Silver at the Deauville Green Awards for our Sustainable Mission and Message!

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It’s not enough to have a story to tell, it’s how you tell that story. At Kitechild, we truly believe in creating change, not charity. In helping communities rebuild from the ground up – literally and figuratively with our agricultural based projects, and with our emphasis on supporting at risk children and empowering them with the tools they need to thrive.

 

We were able to share our mission in a beautifully visual, compelling way in the form of our film “Kitechild Kenya – Greenhouses for Good”. This short film takes viewers on a colorful, green, inspiring journey through our various projects in Kenya, the community members who run them, and the children who are at the heart of it all. From a 6 greenhouse farm in Nakuru valley feeding over 250 children, to a 4 greenhouse farm in Migori from which produce sales fund local schoolteachers in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, our projects are highlighted in a visually compelling way that inspires viewers to be a part of a growing movement in development and sustainability.

View it NOW!

 

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The children remain the heart of it all, as it is for them that we create our projects for. For their schools, for their families, and for the orphanages that they often must live in as they are placed in better living situations including foster care or adoption. Our projects are changing the way that people are able to support orphan children, those living in orphanages or shelters. We are raising the level of transparency in donating to an orphanage, going beyond the sponsor a child model, and really focusing on sustainability and long term change, as our film depicts.

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To our wonderful surprise and delight, our film was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Deauville Green Awards, held in Deauville, France. We ended up taking home a silver award, out of over 370 entries in the competition. We could not be more proud of our work and are grateful to the film festival for the opportunity to share our important message with the world.

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Credits: The film was shot in June 2016 throughout Kenya, and was produced by Kitechild, InDigital Media, and Christoph Siegert. Executive Producer Jacqueline Herrera Levi, Director Christoph Siegert, Production Crew Tobern Averkorn, Music Composer Jeremie Levi Samson, and our on the ground Kenyan crew Kenneth Mugo and Martha Maina.

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!

Better Data Is Needed on Vulnerable Children

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Photo: Lumos

As an organization working with vulnerable children around the world, one of the major obstacles we encounter is the lack of reliable data on children in many countries. When dealing with children living in orphanages or outside the home, information is sparse, and yet so vital to making meaningful change. Accurate information is needed to best serve the needs of these vulnerable children, and there is now a movement urging the UN to make sure these children are included in the statistical map. Read the open letter from JK Rowling’s foundation Lumos and support fixing the data gap on vulnerable children: http://goo.gl/OEB5CB

 

Bringing Light to Women: Gloria Steinem

By Jacqueline Monet, Social Media Manager, Kitechild

Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Random House

Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Random House

It’s Gloria Steinem’s birthday today and as part of Women’s History Month, we couldn’t think of a better time to honor this pioneer of equality. At 82 and still going strong, the feminist icon has said that one of the fundamental issues of the women’s liberation movement has still gone unresolved: violence against women. Steinem has worked tirelessly to bring attention to this important and sad reality, which affects women and girls all over the planet. 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, according to the UN. Most of the time, women who experience violence, do so at the hands of an intimate partner. When children grow up seeing violence against women in the home, it becomes normalized. “Certainly the question of violence against females is deep and urgent, not only for women but for everybody, since it turns out that violence against females is the biggest predictor of all other violence,” says Gloria. A culture of violence against women, also perpetuates the idea of ownership over women, which contributes to sexual trafficking and child marriages. The abuse of women’s bodies in this way also leads to children that they cannot care for, due to unwanted or forced pregnancies. So, this epidemic also adds to the number of vulnerable and orphaned children in the world.

 

Photo: Suzanne Gamboa

Photo: Suzanne Gamboa

Another important issue that Gloria continues to be at the forefront is the fight for immigration reform. She has spoken out about the economic and gender issues at hand within the immigration debate, as the majority of people crossing into the United States are women and children. “There is no such thing as a border that is proof against poverty, or against the natural migration of workers back and forth. We are simply asking that we have rules that recognize reality so that we do not declare righteous human beings to be criminals,” she said.

Photo:Leigh Vogel/WireImage

Photo:Leigh Vogel/WireImage

Gloria has helped to bring feminism into the mainstream consciousness and along with it, to stop making the word something to be afraid to use. As Gloria says, “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”For all her work she’s done over the years, she received the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, who said it was to honor her “fight for equality and social justice for more than four decades.” It was there that she was asked what advice she has to impart onto the next generation of women. She had this to say: Don’t listen to me. Listen to yourself … People often ask me ‘Who am I passing the torch to?’ First of all, I’m not giving up my torch, thank you! I’m using my torch to light other people’s torches. If we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light.”

This kind of empowerment is what is needed to bring equality and change to the world, which is what we strive to do. Following Gloria’s lead, we work to empower women to make the best choices for themselves. Our projects support women and girls through education, nutrition and community, which allows women to make their own family planning choices, which leads to less vulnerable children and happier families. We each do have our own torches and it’s up to us to use them to bring more light into the world. And together, we can.

 

 

References:

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/26/451862822/at-81-feminist-gloria-steinem-finds-herself-free-of-the-demands-of-gender

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/gloria-steinem-quotes-feminism-gender-periods-equality/1/626400.html

http://nbclatino.com/2013/11/19/feminist-gloria-steinem-gives-immigration-activists-a-pep-talk/

http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures

http://fortune.com/2015/12/22/gloria-steinem-feminism-turning-point/

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2013/11/20/gloria-steinem-receives-top-national-honor/

http://www.blogher.com/why-gloria-steinem-supports-immigration-reform

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925120/

Look For The Good

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Cartoon: LeMonde

It’s only been a few months since the Paris attacks and we find ourselves once again grieving for the families of loved ones lost in a terrorist attack. Even as the horrors unfolded, people jumped into action to help one another, offering shelter, transportation and aid to complete strangers by tweeting #OpenHouse and #IkWilHelpen. There is more good than bad in this world, and together we can create a world of peace.

Read more about these everyday heros: http://goo.gl/VCfvc7

 

12 Steps for Gender Equality

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Photo: Solo Imaji/Barcroft Media: A human rights activist in Indonesia on International Women’s Day

 

The Guardian recently released a list of 12 steps we can take to achieve gender equality. One of the first things we can do is include women and girls in the discussion of policy-making. Other steps to take is to make education gender-sensitive and to encourage girls in technology and the sciences. Read the rest of the steps: goo.gl/7prlFJ

Maintaining the Spirit of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was this past Tuesday, but one day is not nearly enough to honor the achievements of women around the globe. The IWD is not just a time to celebrate all that women have done, but to talk about the work that still remains for the world to reach gender equality.

Honoree Malala Yousafzai attends the 23rd Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Malala Yousafzai at the Annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Nov. 11, 2013. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

One major component of achieving equality will be securing education rights for girls. 31 million girls should be in primary school and 32 million girls should be in secondary school, but are kept from receiving their education, according to the UN. But, more and more people are standing up for the right to an education. Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for boldly going to school. She has since gone on to speak up for the rights of education and became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. As more people follow in Malala’s footsteps, education will become a given right for girls, which will lead to healthier families, less violence and more economic stability. For us, this issue is very important because more educated women leads to less poverty and poverty is the number one reason why children live in orphanages. And as women gain education, marriages are delayed, which helps to eliminate unwanted pregnancies, which is also a contributing factor to children in orphanages.

In this Aug. 9 2011 photo, Gloria Steinem laughs during an interview with The Associated Press, in New York. Four decades after she helped found the women's movement, the feminist icon is in a reflective mode, writing a memoir and participating in an HBO documentary on her life. "Gloria: In Her Own Words" premieres Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, on HBO. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Gloria Steinem during an interview with the Associated Press on Aug. 9 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Thanks to women like Gloria Steinem, we have come a long way on the road of women’s rights. We have more opportunities than ever to become the women we want to be. However, there are still problems that need to be addressed in the workplace. Women are still left behind when it comes to pay equality, earning only 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. Furthermore, America is only one of three countries that does not have paid maternity leave laws (the other two being Papua New Guinea and Oman). As we near the 2016 presidential election, hopefully further legislation will be passed to protect and support women.

Indire Ghandi.

Indire Ghandi.

Violence against women is still an epidemic that needs our attention in order to be eradicated. 4.5 million people are victims of forced sexual exploitation and nearly all (98%) are women and girls. Around the world, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence, according to the UN. As Indira Ghandi’s quote points out, we cannot have a peaceful world while violence is still a reality for so many. The UN and other organizations are working on fixing this through educational initiatives and working with men and boys to bring an end to gender-based violence.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks after receiving the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The New Hampshire-based human rights organization awarded its highest honor to Clinton for her efforts to promote human rights for women and through Internet freedom. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton receiving the 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize  on Dec. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

This year was the 105th International Women’s Day and looking back, there has been so much achieved in the name of social justice and civil rights in the past century. We currently have a woman in the democratic primaries and women now earn the majority of college degrees. Reflecting on how far we’ve come, I can only imagine what strides will continue to be made, as the world becomes more just and equal for all people. This year’s theme for IWD is “Pledge for Parity,” and that’s a pledge well-worth making.

 

Resources

http://fortune.com/2016/03/08/international-womens-day-trivia/?xid=soc_socialflow_twitter_FORTUNE

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-saloranta/building-a-planet-5050-by_b_9385690.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erica-diamond/international-womens-day-_32_b_9409482.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/08/africa/iwd-uganda-child-sex-worker/

http://www.one.org/us/

http://mashable.com/2014/03/08/quotes-international-womens-day/?crlt.pid=camp.sSKhte5VSQZh#_LjXHSpyxSqS

http://www.unicef.org/education/bege_70640.html

http://www.biography.com/people/malala-yousafzai-21362253#synopsis

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/whats-really-behind-the-gender-wage-gap/462363/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/paid-family-leave-obama-work

http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women

http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/prevention

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/11/women-are-dominating-men-at-college-blame-sexism/