[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ere’s a daunting question: how can we positively impact the lives of the many disadvantaged children of this extraordinary planet? We can start. At a point, any point. As long as we begin. United Hearts is a Mama Hope project committed to educating & supporting the children of Awutu Bawjiase in Central Ghana. Their initiatives include the building & maintenance of a Children Center for homeless & abandoned youth, a Community School for families who cannot afford education, as well as efforts dedicated toward self sustainability & sufficiency.
We had the privilege of speaking with Juliane Brosowsky-Landau, global advocate of this foundation about the goals & future of the project. Before we support the event and listen to outstanding music courtesy of DJ/producers Sepalcure & Jubilee, along with resident Coralcola, let the promise of these children’s laughter remind us how we used to be!
Georgette Bibber: Tell us more about the goals of the non-profit you are a global advocate for, Mama Hope.
Juliane Brosowsky-Landau: Mama Hope works in close partnerships with local organizations in different countries in Africa to transfer the resources needed to transform their communities with projects that focus on clean water, food security, health care and education. At Mama Hope we do not believe that one solution fix all problems, that is why we have different projects in different communities accordingly to their specific needs and always respecting their local culture. We believe that the communities’ leaders are the experts and that they know what is best for them. So our job at Mama Hope is really identify these communities that are thriving to improve their way of living, we listen to their stories, we evaluate their ideas and connect them to resources for them to achieve success. Our goal is to invest in human capital and directly improve communities across the globe for generations to come.
Also, Mama Hope launched a few years ago the campaign “Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential.” (see videos). We were tired of seeing other non-profits portraying the African continent as a hopeless land, when the reality is that there is so much more going on there. People are smart, funny, happy and really hard workers. Our goal is also to change the way Westerns see Africa, and give African communities the opportunity to show their potential.
How did your involvement extend to the United Hearts School? What do you hope to accomplish?
To be able to realize all these projects (as today we have sites in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana), Mama Hope has this amazing fellowship program that basically connects young professionals to advocate for these African communities. I am one of these advocates and was lucky enough to be placed within the United Hearts in Bawjiase, Ghana.
Mama Hope connected with them some time ago and so much was done since then. First was the construction of the United Hearts Children Center, an orphanage for 27 kids, that now has electricity and flushing toilets. Now, advocates have been raising funds and the community has been working on the completion of the United Hearts School. My work with Mama Hope is centered on assisting the United Hearts School with a School Bus, for what I’ve been fundraising since last June. My goal is to raise $20,000 and so far I raised over $12,000. Although United Hearts has proven its ability to deliver quality education, the school still faces great obstacles in providing children in the surrounding areas access to education because of the lack of reliable transportation. The School Bus will give more than 100 children from community access to school and the opportunity to grow, learn and realize their full potential.
Describe the community of Bawjiase:
Bawjiase is a rural town in the Central Region of Ghana, about two hours from the capital Accra. The population is about 10,000 people. Half of the residents are farmers and the other half are in sales and in the service sector. The most common languages spoken are Twi, Awutu and Breku, but a lot of the people also speak English. The United Hearts School’s goal is to be able to create a future of self-sufficient adults, committed to the future development of Bawjiase.
Have you partnered with music events in order to fundraise before? Has that angle been more successful than other efforts?
We had a couple fundraisers music events in San Francisco where Mama Hope is based. We partnered with Surefire Agency and we were able to bring in some awesome DJs, national and international artists. Together we raised more than $5,000.
When you are fundraising is all about knowing how to best use your network. Because I am married to a booking agent my life in San Francisco is about being around music, most of the DJs playing at these parties are friends and one day crashed on my couch. So reaching out to them seemed to me like the obvious move.
It is my first time both fundraising and throwing events though and at first I didn’t know what to expect. Now I am just so amazed by how much everyone is willing to cooperate and help on this amazing cause.
Are you excited to possibly work more with the Boston/Cambridge arts scene?
Yes, because Mmmmaven is a locally focused DJ and producers school, partnering with someone locally that feels the same way about education and giving everyone opportunities to learn, whether in a music studio or just to read and write was really important to us.
Music, as much as any kind of art expression, is moved by passion. At our other fundraiser music events you could feel the love in the room just multiplying. You are having all these amazing artists doing what they love most, putting their hearts into their work, and their are doing it for an equally passionate reason. I don’t expect any less from this upcoming event in Boston. I am sure it will be a beautiful and successful event and I am so thankful to Mmmmaven and the whole community for giving us the opportunity to expose Mama Hope and United Hearts’ work. By forging a partnership, we hope we will inspire others to connect across cultures and change lives.