Category Archives: JB Dondolo

One man’s dream

When I say the name Martin Luther King Jr., certain things come to mind:
• Black vs white conflict
• Race riots
• His famous “I have a dream” speech
• And his assassination

What doesn’t come to mind, for many people, is the concept of what it is like to experience feeling like you don’t fit in. That experience doesn’t only come from being a different color than the person next to you. It also comes from differences in your parent’s parenting style, from the culture that they come from and pass on to you, from the church that you attend (or not as the case may be), the language you speak for example.

MLK’s dream wasn’t just about making things better for African-American people. It transcends the question of what color your skin is. It was (and is to me) about seeing each other as human, and sharing common experience. It is about equalizing opportunities for everyone to have access to education, medicine, and to aspire (and be able to achieve) their dreams, whatever they might be.

What this all comes down to is the concept of equality of all peoples. We are all human. We all have needs, wants and desires. When we recognize this, we are able to support each other so that all may have access to common resources and needs:
• Food
• Water
• A place to call home
• A people/culture to belong to
• Where they can feel safe and loved.

Does MLK’s dream still have value now? Besides the race conflicts that are happening in places like Flint, Michigan, I say that it does… and it compels us to help support others who suffer from persecution, or who are in need of those essentials for life.

It is my dream, and that of JB Dondolo, to help the community of Igusi have access to medical services to support the community. But for that to happen, we need support from our community in America and in Africa. We need financial donations to cover the costs of the materials we will need to do our repairs. We need volunteers to help us renovate and restore the Igusi hospital, to replace the crumbling roof, to remove asbestos, to ensure there is safe drinking water in the hospital and nearby school, and to be able to provide safe ways to remove waste.
To donate, click here.
To volunteer, click here.
Help us make this dream come true.

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One man’s trash…

One man's trash
One man’s trash

While cleaning your home this spring, take a moment to honestly evaluate the usefulness of your “throwaway” before you throw it in the trash. Many of the things that North Americans put into the garbage are not only functional, but also have a lot of uses to them.

Those old pajamas, underwear and t-shirts that you’re fond of tossing in the trash can be turned into cloth rags for cleaning at home, or for other organizations to help under-privileged earn a subsistence income through using them for cloth crafting.

Items such as loose leaf pages of paper, construction paper, crayons (broken and whole), markers, pens and pencils are perfectly useful in so many contexts. Not only can they be used by those who don’t have the funds to purchase them for themselves, they also make great tools for the eternal crafts person who doesn’t mind if the blue crayon melted into the purple crayon just a bit.  They can also provide much needed school supplies for a child whose parent(s) can’t afford the things they need to succeed in school.

Even items like hotel soaps, samples of shampoo, conditioner, sanitary pads, and toothpaste come in handy. Many organizations which serve the poor in your community ask for these items, as impoverished people don’t have the money to spend on soaps and things when they need to eat. Having these small personal care items can make a huge difference in how under-privileged people feel about themselves, and give them the boost they need to be more successful in life.

In October, JB Dondolo will be holding a fundraising gala to benefit our programs in Africa and in the USA. When you’re spring cleaning, consider donating your mint or excellent condition items to help us reach our fundraising goals. With your support, we will be able to help people in our local and international communities!

What good is a gala?

When many people think of a gala, they think of lavish dresses and fancy clothes, expensive dishes and tiny serving sizes, a whole lot of gratuitous back-slapping and lots of fake people. They think that the only people who benefit from a gala are the organization and the “important people.”

The thing is that, while this is what it looks like, who really benefits are the many people that the gala is for.
A fundraiser gala, in particular the Equanimity Awards Benefit Gala taking place on October 10, 2015, is one that has the opportunity to do a lot of good for many people, from all walks of life.

  • The small business that wants to get more high-end clients can give a gift to auction off at the gala, or might choose to become one of the sponsors of the gala.
  • The company that hosts the gala will support the local economy.
  • The person that volunteers, who perhaps hasn’t been able to get a paying job, is able to get some much-needed work experience and a good reference.

A gala celebrates the dedication and service of others to a common goal – in this case, the goal is to help JB Dondolo achieve its goals of providing education programs to underprivileged youth (in America) and to complete the work on the Igusi hospital (Africa). Through various fund-raising efforts ranging from sponsorship to ticket sales to donations, the organization is able to obtain the funds to achieve their goals.

In October 2015, Equanimity magazine will be holding its first Gala celebration to benefit the JB Dondolo Inc. charity.
“It raises awareness of the charity’s current programs and projects in the local and global community while acknowledging and rewarding individuals and companies for their efforts in the community. Hard work and effort should never go unnoticed or unacknowledged. We want to bring compelling stories to others’ attention and reward those who are telling them,” says organizer Lumbie Mlambo.

The Equanimity Awards Benefit Gala honors individuals through awards in various categories including media partners, social media players, lifetime achievement, humanitarian, champions, best story told, most liked storyteller (writer), and more.

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Some of the celebrities who have already agreed to be part of our celebration include CNN News Editor Joel Sutton, Pavlina Osta from the Huffington Post, long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte, celebrity wedding planner Donnie Brown, American country singer Mickey Gilley, Chithra Kannan and actress and singer Gloria Loring.
For more information about the gala, and how you might become a sponsor, visit the webpage below.
http://www.equanimitymag.com/awardsbenefitgala.aspx

Volunteers Make Things Happen

An organization is made up of many different people. There is the board of directors which is comprised of at least a president, a secretary and a treasurer. There is the administrative staff who takes care of everyday things that have to happen to keep an organization running smoothly. They take care of correspondence, answering calls, and sending cards. Some of these are volunteers, people who give their time in order to benefit the organization, and to help the organization accomplish its goals.

As a new non-profit organization, JB Dondolo, Inc. is doing its best to move from being an unknown in a world of many nonprofit organizations. It’s challenging to the get attention we need so that people will give to support the projects. One of the people who is helping us in this endeavor is the amazing, Ronda Bowen.

Ronda is a busy wife, mother of two, and writer by trade. She has been writing articles for Lumbie Mlambo’s Equanimity Magazine since 2009.  In 2013, Lumbie approached Ronda and asked if she would be willing to come aboard to help JB Dondolo charity achieve its dream for the Igusi Hospital. Ronda accepted the challenge, and is now our fundraising coordinator.

Ronda has been responsible for developing and implementing fundraisers for JB Dondolo through fundraising.com and YouCaring, as well as more traditional forms of fundraising. She has written grand proposal letters to corporations and government bureaus, fundraising letters to potential donors, and is currently planning a fundraising 5K race event.

Ronda confesses that it isn’t always easy to do this work, especially trying to balance work and family life. She had to figure out how to break down tasks into manageable bites that she could accomplish when her newborn was sleeping. Despite the fact that she experienced a bout of postpartum depression following the birth of her now 14 month old daughter, Ronda fought back. Taking “baby steps each day” she was able to track her accomplishments and feel more positive about her efforts. Thankfully, she says,  she has a “very supportive husband… and a teenage son who absolutely adores his sister…. (so she has) a team working to make sure all our goals are met.”

Thanks to Ronda’s family, we at JB Dondolo are thankful that we can count on Ronda to support us and help us reach our goals on the Igusi Hospital project. Thank you for all you do, Ronda! You truly are a Godsend!

What is Community

When I ask most people what community is, they think, first, of their neighbourhood. They think of the place where they live. They talk about the street where they live, their home, what is in it and surrounds it. They talk about the playground and parks, the schools that their children attend. They talk about places that they go to regularly; the coffee shop, the recreation center, the grocery store, their place of worship.

But community is more than just a place. It’s not just a building, or group of buildings. Community is about people. You can’t have a community with just one person. You need a group of people.

A common experience often brings people together, and creates a community. A common goal often brings people together to create community. Yet another aspect of community is that each member serves and is served by the community that it belongs to.

JB Dondolo is a community too. While some that Lumbie Mlambo is the public face to the organization, there are many others who are part of the community that makes this organization so powerful. Each one of us has special gifts, which we use to benefit the organization, and in order to achieve our common dream.

We are of one mind, one purpose, to refinish the Igusi Hospital. We do this so that the local people can have access to medical support and services that many of us here in North America take for granted. Birthing beds and post-delivery support for women, sanitary water for use in the hospital, a shelter that will prevent the rains from coming in, and that wont make people ill with the asbestos in the roof.

Some give their money to support us, and to those of you who are donating, I say Thank you! Others give their time; they provide administrative support, or help with the actual physical labor of tearing down and rebuilding the hospital. Some come from North America to help; others are already a part of the community that will be served by the hospital.

We are thankful for all the members of our community for their financial, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual support. In one of our upcoming posts, we’ll be featuring one of our volunteers and the work that they do to help us achieve our mission.

Reflection and Vision

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

The familiar lyrics to this song, long associated with bringing in the New Year, reminds us that 2014 has come to an end and 2015 is just begun. For me, this is a time to look back at the year that’s passed, and to look to the future.

2014 was an important year for JB Dondolo. So much has happened. First of all, while JB Dondolo was founded in 2013, it took until the third quarter of this year for us to get our 501c3 status. Because we are now officially a charitable organization, we’ve been able to register on Causes.com. So far, we’ve been able to raise $1,500 in cash donations and have been busy sending out grant inquiries and grant letters to help us achieve our vision.

That doesn’t happen easily. In fact, it’s taken a lot of time and effort to set up our campaigns online, to kick them off, create an e-Newsletter to communicate with our supporters, and to create a blog to educate people about JB Dondolo, Inc. as a charity and to spread our message. This has taken the effort of ten volunteers, and I am immensely thankful for their support.

In order for us to take care accomplish our first mission, we will need another $9,500 and many more volunteers to help us. Once we raise these funds through donations, we’ll begin with painting the walls, replacing windows, doors and the roof of the Igusi Hospital. Only then can we install a clean water system for the Hospital.

One way that we’re raising funds is through sales of our charity bracelets and t-shirts. When you purchase our bracelet, you show your support for our organization. Wearing our bracelet can also encourage conversation, and makes it possible for you to “Tell One – Save Lives” by telling one person about the meaning of the bracelet and asking them to buy one and tell a friend to do the same.

2014 has been a fabulous year for me personally as well. I’ve been featured on CNBC.com, Bloomberg Businessweek, Black Enterprise, Yahoo Finance and the Boston Globe. I hope that your 2014 has been everything you wanted it to be.

As we begin the New Year, I’d like to wish you a very Happy 2015. Please, take a moment and share with us one of your highlights from the past year and one of your dreams for the new year.

Making Wishes Come True

wish

“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”(Walt Disney)

How often have you wished for something? Maybe it was a new car, or a new house. Maybe you wished you were healthier, thinner, sexier. Perhaps you wished for wealth, companionship, or family. Whatever your wish, chances are it was a selfish wish. It was one that was focused on something that you truly and deeply desire.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to do so. What I am saying is that we spend a lot of time wishing things for our self and not for others. Not wishes like “I wish so and so wasn’t so nasty” or  “I wish this person would drop dead.” I mean wishes like “I wish health for my sick uncle” or “I wish we could all just get along.”

Some people might call these wishes prayers, and for many people, prayers and wishes might be seen as one and the same. I’m not going to get into semantics about wishes and prayers here.

It is my firm belief that however, when we express a wish, we are always given the power to help that wish come true. We all have the ability to contribute to making a wish become reality.

If you could wish one thing for the world (or even just for your community), what would your wish be?

Would it be for peace? To end hunger?  To end suffering and disease?

I learned how wishes work through my father, who wished to improve the Igusi hospital to benefit the community of Nyamandlovu,Zimbabwe.Wishes take action. It’s not enough to simply say “I wish” and to wait for things to happen. You have to help them happen. My father spent countless hours trying to refinish the hospital, to make it possible for the doctors and nurses to provide care for the community.

When he passed away, my siblings and I decided to carry on his mission; that is why JB Dondolo was formed. Now, our father’s wish has become ours.

Our wish, this year, is to raise enough money to be able to remove sediment in the water, to provide safe water for use in the hospital. This will make it possible for the doctors and nurses to provide the care that the community needs. Please donate to JB Dondolo and help make our wish come true!

Thankful

Thankful

Just a few weeks ago, Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. This observance is meant to be a time when families come together to celebrate their common heritage and to give thanks for what they have.

Gratitude is such a simple thing. It’s taking a moment to truly appreciate everything. I try to practice gratitude every single day. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a home to shelter me, I am clothed, and I have enough to eat. I learned, through my father’s example, that although I may not have everything I want, I have much to be thankful for.

When my father was just eight years old, his parents tragically passed away. Because he was the oldest child, my father then was left to care for his younger siblings by himself. At least, that is what most Western culture would have you believe. In truth, my father received support from other families in the village where he lived.
Because of the care and support that my father received, he was always thankful for the gift of his life. He always showed us, through his daily life, how thankful he was for what others did for him by helping others who needed it.

When we first came to Nyamandlovu, Zimbabwe, my father was appalled by the conditions of the local hospital. The water supply was inadequate, there were not enough delivery beds in the maternity ward, and there weren’t enough toilets and showers to keep sanitary conditions.

Although we didn’t have much by western standards, our family had enough. Our father made it his mission to refinish the Igusi hospital. Sadly, he succumbed to his own illness before his mission could be complete.

Now, my siblings and I are taking up his mission, to refinish the Igusi hospital through our charitable organization JB Dondolo. We have much to do. We are working to ensure there is safe water for the hospital to use. We need to replace the rotting asbestos roof, and we need delivery beds for the maternity ward. We can’t do it alone. We need support in the form of donations or volunteers.

Take a moment now to remember all the things you’re thankful for. While you’re feeling gratitude for your many blessings, consider how you might help others, either at home, or elsewhere. Donate to a cause (such as JB Dondolo) or offer your skills and talents. You, and others, will have more to be thankful for.

Who’s Supporting You?

Whether you realize it or not, you have invisible supports that are helping you right now. There are people, institutions, and government bodies that have provided you with services and tools that you might not realize have been supporting you all along.

However, in areas such as Nyamandlovu, Zimbabwe, there are many missing supports. In this drought-prone area, many can’t produce enough food for their families. This lack of safe, plentiful water makes it difficult to meet the needs of the community, not just for food and drink, but also for sanitation and health.

When our father was alive, one of his visions was to refurbish the Igusi Hospital as a way as a way of giving back to the community. He began repairs to the hospital by installing electricity and working on the maternity ward plan, however, he was unable to see his vision completed.

My father’s name was Dondolo – which means “cane” or “support”. When he needed it, my father received assistance from his community. When he was able, he tried to return that kindness. Now that all his children are grown up, we have decided to create a non-profit organization (JB Dondolo) whose mission is to complete the work he started, by continuing to refurbish the Igusi hospital.

Our first challenge is getting safe, plentiful water to the hospital. Without this important resource, it will be difficult for doctors and nurses to create a sanitary environment.

Our next challenge will be replacing the corroded asbestos roof. As you know, asbestos is a toxic substance. We need to remove this roof, dispose of it safely, and put up a new one. We also need to replace the windows and doors, and repaint the facility. Then, we want to ensure that the hospital has adequate medical supplies to care for patients. This includes new bedding for the hospital beds, as well as more hospital beds. But we can’t do this alone. We need your support to complete this work, this legacy of our father’s generosity and kindness.

You have received years and years of blessings from your family, friends and community. Your charitable, tax-deductible donation to JB Dondolo, in memory of someone who has helped you, will help us leave a legacy of care for others. You can also comment here, with us a short story of the person that inspired you to give, and we may feature it in an upcoming blog post.

How Water Scarcity Impacts on Rural Zimbabwe Residents and Health

Water. It’s something that we in the Western Hemisphere take for granted. It’s easy to turn on the tap to get safe, clean drinking water. But what if your water supply suddenly ran dry? What if your water was making you (and your loved ones) sick? What would you do?

In rural Zimbabwe, this is more than just a rhetorical question. Water security is an issue that everyone is concerned about. In 2011, the government of Zimbabwe invested in having boreholes drilled to access water, especially for rural communities. However, of the 266 holes that were drilled, only 80 of them are currently functioning at full capacity, while most operate at much lower levels, especially during drought periods.

In the Nayamandlovu area, where the JB Dondolo organization is working to refurbish the Igusi Hospital, much of that water is being drawn away to Bulawayo, a city of more than 653,000 people. This is problematic because rural communities are then left with less water to care for the community.

This scarcity causes residents to prioritize what they will do with their water. Their first priority is having water for drinking and cooking. Water scarcity causes sanitation problems as people often opt not to perform certain duties in order to preserve what little water they have. They don’t wash their bodies or their clothes, and choose to relieve themselves in public rather than using a flush toilet. This problem of using public spaces for relieving oneself is partly what was linked to the outbreaks of typhoid and cholera in 2010.

Having access to plentiful and safe drinking water makes it possible for families to feed their families and to maintain hygiene. It also makes it possible for them to plant native plant species which are high in nutrients and also to help them care for small livestock, which helps alleviate poverty.

Our most critical need for the Igusi Hospital is to be able to provide the community with clean water. The Igusi School next door shares the same water line as the Hospital. However, that water is heavy with lime, and could easily be contaminated.

JB Dondolo’s fundraising efforts right now are focused on obtaining the equipment to suppress lime from the source water, to purify it so that it can be used in the hospital, and to have a safe, clean water delivery system implemented into the Hospital.

How can you help?

Please donate to JB Dondolo to help us finish the work that our father started!