Editorial credit: Caroline Coppel
A private U Street-area home was an apt setting for a dinner for One Home Many Hopes, a non-profit dedicated to housing and educating children in Kenya. The event, which kicked off OHMH’s nearly month-long fundraising drive, had the feel of a house party, except everyone arrived on time and was very well behaved.
Guests brought homemade appetizers and desserts, and chatted politely before a brief presentation and Q & A session with the organization’s founders, Thomas Keown and Anthony Mulongo. Keown said that the goal of this year’s drive, called “Breaking Ground 2011: Beyond the Classroom,” was to raise just under $300,000 to finish a school in the coastal Kilifi region of Kenya. Last year, OHMH built 24 of the school’s classrooms; this year, they hope to add amenities such as a library, computer lab, kitchen and medical center.
Mulongo said the school would provide children with an education that was significantly different from the kind typically offered around the nation. The school’s curriculum will focus on teaching concepts and skills, rather than teaching to an exam. This method of teaching, he said, was the key to solving Kenya’s systemic, pervasive poverty.
“If we take the children, be patient with them, give them the education they need, then in 15 years they will be able to do something about it,” he said. “We will empower them to sort it out themselves and bring lasting change.”
Mulongo, a former journalist who started OHMH in 2007, also discussed a possible mentoring program, which would connect Kenyan students with other children around the world.
Currently, OHMH runs a home for girls that was completed in February 2011. The organization plans to open the school in January 2013, and expand it in the following 4-5 years.
The presentation ended not with calls for donations, but requests for people’s time. Keown said that OHMH wanted to increase its network of volunteers, as a team effort made fundraising simpler and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Find out how to get involved with the Breaking Ground campaign here: http://www.breakinggroundkenya.org/.