Archive for February, 2011

Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped

The Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped is an organization that rescues mentally disabled people from their poor environments where they are unable to be treated properly for their conditions. They are in poor environments based on the lack of funds to pay for hospital visits, being too much for their families to deal with, the stress they get from neighbors, and the lack of places to confine these people from hurting themselves and others, or simply running away.
Due to this organization, thousands of children and adults have been taken out of confinement, neglect, and abusive encounters and brought back to their families in better mental conditions. Although The Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped has helped many, they have reached less than 1% of the population living with mental disabilities. Restrictions to helping more individuals are some of the following, listed on the KSMH website:
• Lack of early identification and assessment services for children with intellectual disabilities.
• Inaccessible basic & specialized services especially those needed by mothers and families of persons with intellectual disabilities.
• The presence of insensitive & discriminative legal and institutional policy frameworks
• High poverty levels that has increased the incidence of intellectual disabilities in the country and affected its management.
• Deeply entrenched social, cultural and religious stigma associated with intellectual disability.

The CEO, Edah Maina, has been working toward the goal of ‘actively promoting identification, acceptance, inclusion and equal opportunities and all rights for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families in Kenya’. Although it has been hard to implement these rights into government form, the organization is continuing to aid those with mental disabilities and bring them back to their families for a more stable and humane lifestyle.

To demonstrate the extremity of the poor living environments and suffering these mentally disabled Kenyans go through for years, here is a inside story from CNN reporters.


Gamal Ilrahim of Egypt named his newborn daughter ‘Facebook’. He wanted to name her in honor of the great contribution this particular social media network made to Egypt’s revolution. Along with Facebook, other forms of social media such as Twitter were used to organize protests. Followers on Twitter were able to update, communicate, and stay informed by using hashtags such as #cairo, #jan25 and #suez. With protesters in Egypt reaching two million, it is without a doubt due to the correlation between individuals and the internet. The amount of exposure the internet provides creates an opportunity to come together and make an impact.

How often do you see products brought to you from China no doubt from very low paid workers? Almost every time. But Tal Dehtiar is trying to change that with his socially responsible business, Oliberte.

Oliberte is the first international company to market shoes made in Africa. Paying these people with minimum wages and respect, they will soon be able to lift themselves out of poor living conditions and into a more developed middle class.

These shoes are designed for men and women that are looking for quality as well as to stand for something. Although the prices of these shoes are higher due to the respectful wages paid to the Nigerian workers, this is a price Dehtiar is willing to pay.

Even though Dehtiar is manufacturing in Africa where the costs are nearly 130% more than they would be in China, people are getting the message he is sending out and Oliberte is being supported by a growing amount of businesses. His vision of employing workers at higher wages to help build up an Africa middle class is coming true as people are becoming interested in buying responsibly

This is such a great idea. Investing in an area that not only creates job opportunities for the community but sparks an interest in consumers to support a good cause is genius. Although a large majority of people would rather pay low prices for certain products such as socks, pencils, clothes hangers, etc, when there is an opportunity to directly support a good cause for a higher price, we tend to do so. With people like Tal Dehtiar opening these doors, we can open our eyes to helping the world together.

“If you want quality footwear, if you want to pay people right, if you want to treat them with respect, use good product, then come to Africa.” -Tal Dehtiar

Make a difference, buy from Africa.

I have always been a large fan of reading the CNN Heroes stories on the CNN website.  Their stories are truly touching and their determination to help the world is amazing.  I feel it is so important that these people are being recognized for acting out their passions and making a difference.  Given my great interest in Africa, Amy Stokes story really stood out to me.  Amy Stokes created a non-profit, Infinite Family, that helps and supports children left orphaned from AIDS by providing them with a mentor through the internet.

Through Infinite Family, mentors can interact and establish relationships with children to help build futures for orphans that have lost the adults in their lives due to AIDS.  Amy gives these children someone to look forward to talking to; a caring and supportive adult in their life.  Learning basic computer skills to communicate such as typing will benefit them in getting a job in the future. Infinite Family gives these children a reason to believe that their life is worth investing in.

Amy Stokes was a CNN Hero in 2010 but will always be a hero to the world…

Inspire yourself with Amy’s story

My Passion

I have always had a passion to help others and a deep appreciation for those that act upon it. I really want to focus on those people and their efforts…