BLUE SKY IDEAS
The other day I had a bad scare. On National Public Radio I heard the owner of a spa for adolescents talk abut how important her work is. She’s teaching youngsters the importance of caring for themselves: to pay attention to stress and detoxify their lives. That indeed is an admirable value. She then waxed eloquent about the virtues of a $60 chocolate facial.
Have you ever known a 13-year old who needs a facial? That value, in that context, frightens me. Come on, we can do better than this! Helping another is the best stress-buster I know. How are our kids learning to think about those less fortunate than themselves?
Here are some novel and fun suggestions for teens, and for adults. They are projects I know will work--good projects, necessary, and they will have a serious long-term impact on lives in
If you need a bit of encouragement, give me a call. Or watch “The Wizard of Oz” again and be reminded of your own power. If you tell your kids they should help starving children in
1. PROJECT GEMINI
Wherever I go in
I know there are people out there who would do this for children they know and love, and can you think of a better way of globalizing compassion, making friends, and teaching good values? I guarantee I can find an orphan for any day of the year, including February 29. Donations might be a one-time thing, or could lead to more—whatever people are comfortable with.
If you are really touched, you might like to adopt management of this orphans project. It requires some planning, record keeping, promotion, emailing the coordinator in
Does this idea pluck at your heartstrings enough to pick up the phone and call me? 708 983 4159. Any old time is fine. After you call me you can call Oprah….
2. PROJECT MEMORY BOOK
This one is too sad to be gob-stopping fun, but I promise it’s rewarding. Maybe 15% of those infected with HIV in
Who wants this one? You can commit to a little or a lot: write a page of ideas about what should be in the book. Gather supplies for one book, or a dozen. Come with me to
3. BUSINESS PROJECT
This one is a no-brainer, but it takes guts and business skills. The HARAMBEE microeconomics projects are successful, but they could be vastly more so, especially regarding sustainability. Most of our women have a high school education and are quite bright, but they do not come from a culture where knowledge of business is common. I need someone to grab a passport and malaria pills and spend two or three weeks in
4. PROJECT MOON
Okay, here’s one for a thoroughly modern woman: Again and again I heard that adolescent girls miss a week of school every month when they have their period. The outcome is predictable: they fall behind and leave school in a year or two. You may have seen the Always commercials about this; I witnessed it firsthand. We could buy them pads, but I think we can do better than that and here’s why: if we buy pads, they are dependent on us and that’s a bad idea. Secondly, trash disposal is something we take for granted. In
HARAMBEE could finance the beginning of a nice small business for the school, making and selling disposable or re-usable pads (http://www.newmoonpads.com/pads.html. Think of the impact this will have on girls in
5. PROJECT ROOM TO READ
6. INTERNET MAVEN
Are you an educator? A nurse? Full of creative ideas? How about designing a project that we can use to connect people in two countries via live web-cam? We now are live in
7. PROJECT P.R. COORDINATOR
Do you have a hidden ham? Does your inner child crave attention? Do you have an inquiring mind and a pushy personality? Let it all run loose for HARAMBEE! Help us get our name and work in the papers, on the radio, help us find speaking engagements, manage a HARAMBEE booth in a craft fair. Pretend you are Brenda Starr….for
There are many more simple solutions to problems that are small for us, very big for
“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world;
that is an idea whose time has come.” Nation
Other ways you can help
Consider scheduling an informational--and inspirational--talk and slideshow for your church, civic, school, or social group with Dr. Harrison. Phone (708) 983 4159
Introduce your child’s school and classroom to global sharing & caring, social justice, & community development by suggesting a slideshow talk or Kenyan craft sale.
Donate frequent flyer miles for a student volunteer to get to
Suggest that your organization have a holiday “alternative giving fair” with nonprofit organizations. Beautiful handicrafts from around the world make exotic gifts and bring profit to deserving people with no cut to corporate middlemen.
Give a goat or chicken. Don’t family members have enough sweaters, ties, afghans, knickknacks to last through the next millennium? For birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, give an animal…or a beehive. You’ll receive a lovely gift card, and get an even lovelier response both in your heart and from your family (guaranteed). And…you will go down in history. Who ever gave a goat as an anniversary present?! See our fliers and cards. TEACHERS LOVE THESE GIFTS! They represent the values they hope to transmit to their pupils. Does hand lotion do that?
Sponsor a child. $700 will literally save a girl’s life by providing boarding school education, food, clothing, and medical care for a year. You will receive letters and photos…and a special place in heaven. www.matanyashope.org or www.upendovillage.org
Help us market breast cancer pink ribbon pins. They are hand-made by Kenyan women in the Maasai style. Here are two groups of women across an ocean… both fighting for their lives. Support both! (See bookmark with attached pin, $5, discounts for large quantities and for breast cancer support organizations.)
Give us two hours a week of your time. We always desperately need more help!
Donate money: Easiest, always effective. Our website has PayPal.
Donate goods: We have to be judicious about what items we accept because sometimes it’s difficult or not cost effective to carry them with us to
Spread the word: You never know who is listening.
And…many thanks! We are doing a lot, and none of it is possible without your help.
Kathleen Harrison, PhD
POB 1724 North