Every week we write this column to share updates on who was awarded one of our coveted daily grants this past week. This week, while thinking about the people we funded, I thought about all the things many of us take for granted. Food, light, clothing, shelter, physical safety, education. Millions of people around the world do not enjoy these luxuries. Hopefully with the support of The Pollination Project this week, seven extraordinary grantees will take small steps to providing access to these things we so easily take for granted.
Veganism in Los Angeles, Ca. Patricia Hollander is a dedicated vegan who is promoting healthy living in Los Angeles, Ca. Patricia wants to see plant-based healthy food be accessible to all. She is launching Sip It Live, A Farmers Market Beverage Stand at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. Sip it Live serves fresh, live, raw, organic beverages and also offers free health coaching sessions. Soon, Patricia hopes to purchase a food truck in order bring her message of healthy vegan food and lifestyles to even more people in her area.
Women's Education in Kenya. Lila Kiwelu is the founder of Mdada, a company that produces and sells ethically-produced clothing and apparel promoting Kenyan women's education. While working with Oxfam Kenya Lila was surprised by the large number of young women not enrolled in schools, which was directly related to their families' ability or inability to pay for school fees. Mdada's profits will pay for school fees for young women and give them the access to education they deserve.
Youth Art Classes in Chattanooga, Tn. Charlie and Iantha Newton are the co-founders of SPLASH, an organization that offers free art classes to underserved youth in College Hill Courts, a housing project in Chattanooga, Tennessee. SPLASH encourages art education, entrepreneurship, , introspection, and creativity among children from age 4 to 17 while providing a safe place for young artists to grow and express themselves. Additionally, murals and works of art created by students at SPLASH are used in the beautification and revitalization of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Super Food for Malnourished Children in Cameroon. After years of studying abroad, Marcel Kwedi returned to his native Cameroon with a desire support his community. When he returned to his village, he found desertification and rising food costs, which led him to launch NUTRIMAX, a moringa-based food supplement for malnourished children between 3 and 12 years old.
Swimming for Muslim Women in Kenya. Nandi Blanchard is working in the predominantly Muslim community of Shela Village on the island of Lamu, Kenya. Most women in Shela Village have never learned to swim due to culturally held beliefs regarding women's modesty. When local leaders invited Nandi to provide swimming instruction to the women and children of the village, she gladly accepted but needed to find culturally appropriate swimsuits known as burkinis, as well as swimming caps and goggles for the women of Shela Village. Nandi has now secured the budget for local women to enjoy swimming- an activity has only been open to men up until this point.
Peer-Counseling for Young Men in Detroit, Mi. Clifford Cheeks is the founder of the Male Youth Enhancement Program in Detroit. This leadership training project serves young men between the ages of 10 and 19 in area schools and Foster Care Facilities. Project participants engage in peer-to-peer exercises such as Yoga and group activities designed to teach them how to empower each other while eliminating self-defeating behaviors, teaching students about personal accountability, and developing methods of positive self-expression. Over the next year through the Male Youth Enhancement Program, Clifford hopes to support over 100 young men in Detroit.
Gardening Program for Children with Special Needs in Cooper, Fl. Claudia Jones has been a Special Education teacher for 30 years and committed to curriculum that emphasizes everyday skills. Claudia's project, the Growing Green Garden at Cooper City High School, aims to teach students how to design, create, and maintain a garden on the school's campus. Students will learn where food comes from, practice practical math as they use measurement skills, and use the produce they grow to prepare meals. Ultimately, Claudia hopes to bring her students closer to nature, while allowing them to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.
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