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Bekka Ross Russell
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Bio: Bekka Ross Russell is a twentysomething mother of two, and the founder and executive director of The Small Things, a nonprofit bringing together people from all over the world to help orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania, build families for those that don't have them, and keep kids in families wherever possible. They have recently received funding for phase one construction of the Happy Family Children's Village in memory of Amir Visram, from the Visram family and Happy Family Brands. She currently lives on the ground in Tanzania with her husband, son Saimoni, and daughter Zawadi, and can be reached at

Entries by Bekka Ross Russell

Coming Full Circle -- Echoes of the Holocaust in International Development

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 3:03 PM

My grandmother, Hilde Goldberg, is a Holocaust survivor. Orphaned at eighteen, she spent the war smuggling children to safety despite her own life being in constant danger. Later she was with the Red Cross when they liberated Bergen Belsen, searching for her parents and finding instead my future grandfather, a...

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The Color of Volunteers' Skin Isn't the Problem: It's Their Attitude

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 3:28 PM

The problem with little white girls and boys in the international volunteering community has nothing to do with the color of their skin; it's their attitude. There is absolutely a place for young adult volunteers within international development work, it's just not a place most voluntourists actually go.


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The Sisyphean Task of Building Families

(2) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 6:17 PM

In early 2011, I visited the most amazing place -- a children's village in Karatu, a remote area of Tanzania, where orphaned children were living, laughing, playing, learning, and creating families. This was after months of physically and emotionally exhausting orphanage work, with children who were slated to go to...

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Love, Adoption and the Kids Left Behind

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 5:18 PM

Love is a funny thing. I fell in love with my daughter Zawadi the first moment I saw her big head perched precariously on her shrunken little body, sitting with five other babies being fed in turn from the same spoon. She was my baby bird, delicate but could she...

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