Goodmakers Films and Flying Kites Oasis

About half of the blame for our crazy schedules can be placed on Goodmakers Films, an incredible organization that is arriving in Nairobi on August 2nd to film the Oasis Program and four of its Member Homes as they prepare for a large community music festival which will take place in Kibera on August 20th. View a preview here! By producing documentary films for non-profit organizations, Goodmakers helps charities visually communicate their message throughout the world.

We could not be more thrilled about this amazing opportunity; not only will the Oasis Program reach audiences worldwide, but the children who will be featured in the documentary will have a chance to share their story with the world. We’re all eagerly awaiting the performance of Silas, an inspiring 5 year old rapper from an Oasis home, Children’s Garden. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited that we’re so busy preparing for this project and we couldn’t be more grateful to Goodmakers Films and one of the Executive Directors of Flying Kites, Toby Storie-Pugh for throwing themselves into this project with such vigor.

Silas doing his thing at the Flying Kites International Day of the African Child celebration in front of thousands of fans

Silas, the incredible 5 year old rapper from Oasis Member Home, Children's Garden

TackleAfrica, Goodmakers and Alive&Kicking

In addition to the music festival, Goodmakers is faciliating a partnership between Flying Kites Oasis, TackleAfrica and Alive&Kicking. TackleAfrica uses football to reach young people in Africa to increase their understanding of HIV/AIDS and enable them to live safe and healthy lives. Alive & Kicking believes that by combining social entrepreneurship with sport’s mass appeal, lasting economic and social development can be achieved in Africa.

On August 25th and 26th, these organizations are coming together to run a football
clinic and tournament for over 300 orphaned and vulnerable children from Oasis’ Member Homes. The event, filmed and produced by Goodmakers will
bring international attention to Kibera and to several organizations that are
working within Kenya to improve the lives of its poorest children.

International Volunteers

The rest of the blame for our busy schedule can be laid at the feet of our volunteer program; another thing we’re grateful to be busy managing! While our inaugural volunteer season has been modest, we appreciate the time and flexibility it’s given us to figure out the best way to manage the volunteer program. We’re learning to strike the right balance between how to communicate what the Oasis Program is and how important our work is while at the same time encouraging our volunteers to form a bond with the homes they are volunteering with. The Oasis Program has set itself apart from other international volunteering programs by how we structure our fees. Aside from a small administrative fee, which is required for Frannie and I to continue doing our work here and in Brooklyn, we send 100% of room and board and volunteer fees DIRECTLY to our Member Homes. Other international volunteering programs keep the majority of the funds from the volunteer and send over $1 or $2 dollars a day for the orphanage to feed them. A breakdown of our costs is available here.

Samantha Holcombe, an Oasis volunteer at Day Love

Oasis stresses the importance of running a children’s home like a business; it’s the only way to break away from the dependence on well wishers and individual donations, which are sporadic at best. We aim to share our experience at FKLA with our homes. Volunteers not only provide their skills and an extra set of hands, they provide a source of income for a children’s home. By ensuring that 100% of the volunteer fee goes directly to the children’s home, we are creating an income flow that many of them have never had before. Many homes have successfully hosted international volunteers in the past, and while the contributions they made can’t be underestimated, the director’s are shocked to learn how much the volunteers pay and how little of that money they ever see. We strive to be very honest with what we do with the money the volunteers send over to us – and hopefully the volunteers this summer are seeing firsthand how the money they’re bringing in to their assigned home can be used in so many important ways. You can find out more information about our volunteer program here.

In addition to the all purpose volunteers we have this summer, we have a team of 6 med students from the University of Texas who are currently spending a week at Good Samaritan, one of our Member Homes. Next week they will be spending their time at Jenracy, another home in our program. The volunteers are using the week to help implement sustainable health programs at each home which include lessons in proper hand washing techniques, oral hygiene and sanitation. Additionally, the team will be compiling medical records for each child in order to streamline the healthcare process within the home. This is a partnership that holds such promise; the team leader, Lisa already has plans for an April and July 2012 trip during which they will revisit Jenracy and Good Samaritan as well as work with additional homes in our program. Please take a moment to read through their team blog here: http://uthoustonstringsattached.wordpress.com/

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