A mission trip (in March of 2012) to work at an orphanage in Kenya stirred the hearts of the Churchills (Clay, Amy and their children) and Wilde (Alastair & Geanna) families so much that they came back home and founded a charitable organization to continue and expand the work they had begun. Just One Africa was born.
In two short years, their impact is evident on the orphanage and beyond. These families have dedicated countless hours to identifying a source for simple, cheap, but effective water filters. They have purchased and provided farm equipment, animals, and have taught efficient farming methods. They sponsored a bread making project, providing all the required equipment. They mobilized volunteers into a formidable, income generating bracelet project. They have shipped school books and supplies, clothes and sanitary kits. In partnership with another organization, Serv International, they have distributed tens of thousands of meals. The list is impressive. And they invested even scarcer personal time in formal education on the best way to organize and run a responsible and successful non-profit organization. All this was accomplished while they maintained their busy careers, and raised their families.
The villages that Just One Africa support in west rural Kenya have viable water sources flowing from Lake Victoria. However, those sources must be used for everything: bathing, washing clothes, waste disposal, and unfortunately also, for consumption. Ill-health follows swiftly on the heels of ingesting contaminated water, and is particularly damaging to young lives, whose immune systems are not fully developed. Medical care is sporadic and difficult to access. The portable, military grade Sawyer water filters that Just One supplies to families and communities cost only $65 each – a miniscule cost compared to the lifelong water-borne disease prevention each filter represents. Each filter is guaranteed for 1 million gallons, which is enough to provide clean water to 25 people for life. To date, over 800 of these filters have been provided by Just One: Africa. That is over 800 million gallons of clean water, and 20,000 lives impacted.
Many of the villagers are widows, having lost their men, the main bread winners, to AIDS. Amy and Geanna noticed that these fascinating Maasai women were making beautiful beads from recycled paper, stringing them into necklaces. An opportunity was seized to expand the cottage industry. Just One: Africa purchases hundreds of these necklaces in all available hues. Back home in Alpharetta, Amy organizes amazing crews of volunteers from corporations, elementary, middle, high schools, and other civic groups. These enthusiastic teams restring the beads into bracelets of all sizes and color combinations. Packaged in appealing natural fabric pouches, and sold for just $15, each equates to 200,000 gallons of life saving water, for 5 people for life. The popular bracelets provide a compelling story, and an even more satisfying purchase, with 100% of the profits from this project reinvested in the purchase of water filters. It also allows young people and others the opportunity to be a part of something that truly is changing the world, just one bracelet at a time.
Everything Just One Africa does is in keeping with their vision of providing sustainable solutions for self-sufficiency to the communities they serve. While the need is overwhelming, the philosophy is to start by helping JUST ONE. On December 2nd, Giving Tuesday, you can be One helping One. Shop for unique bracelet gifts, or make a one-time, or ongoing donation through their informative website www.justoneafrica.org.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill (yes, he’s a distant relative.)
Guest Post by Marcia Fullwood – Link to her blog