I have been to Kenya twice to see BOMA at work and have supported their work for several years as has our family Foundation. BOMA gets to the heart of what it means to lift people out of poverty---they work with women who are marginalized by giving them training in starting their own businesses, give them initial funding and then stay involved with them to assure the businesses are successful. Then they help them save from their profits so they have a measure of financial security.
They don't just give a bit and then leave---they stay involved and the women's businesses flourish.
I have been discouraged by our past history of "aiding those poor people" and then I had the opportunity to travel with a group of women on a trip to Kenya that was led by Kathleen Colson, founder of BOMA. This was such a different approach - one that took time to establish because it rested on the solid foundation of building relationships and honoring and respecting the skills and desires of those who live in northern Kenya by incorporating them in the process. It also succeeded because BOMA provides support through training, follow up and mentors. The mentors are citizens in their villages who are chosen for their skills and leadership qualities.
I witnessed such compassion and passion in the BOMA leadership and such hope from the women who are now able to get better food, provide medicine and education and even participate in a savings program. Now I am more encouraged that this model exists and succeeds.
I have seen BOMA in action. Hearing women in this program in one of the poorest, most resource starved regions of Africa talk about how their participation in BOMA has made the difference between needing regular food aid, and being able to earn enough money to feed their families and pay school fees for their children was an inspiring and heart-warming experience. BOMA is a model for ngo's in the developing world. It works directly with women who most need help by giving them know-how and a start in their small businesses.
My wife and I visited Kenya several years ago. We became acquainted with Kathleen Colson and the work that BOMA was doing in Kenya. We saw first-hand the need for assistance by many people living in small villages and in rural communities. As BOMA developed its program of helping women through loans and training in developing their on businesses so that they might feed their families we were hopeful. We decided to become a regular donor. With each passing year we are impressed by the stories--but particularly by the statistics that show that the program is working and that nearly 100% of the women assisted through BOMA are still reaping the success of their hard work and of BOMA's training and support year after year. Thank you, BOMA, for the impact that you are having upon thousands of people--particularly, kids--in Kenya.
I am proud to donate to BOMA annualy to help support all of their wonderful initiatives!
BOMA consistently strives to improve the execution of its mission and to expand its reach to those in need. BOMA focuses on providing the tools necessary to teach self sufficiency and to end the cycle of poverty in an underserved area of Kenya. Through its website and mailings, BOMA does an excellent job of explaining its initiatives and of keeping its supporters informed.
BOMA also generously supports student interns (including many Kenyans) who are interested in international development. BOMA thereby provides critical exposure and valuable experience to those who are motivated to work on the many problems that vex the underdeveloped world.
BOMA does an amazing job at giving women the tools they need to change their own lives and "graduate" from extreme poverty. When I give $150, I know that is the amount of the cash grant that starts one business. One business empowers 3 women so they can earn an income and build up savings. Three women can then pay for food, school and medical care for more than 15 children. Where else can you donate $150 and know that you've been able to affect so much change?
This is an organization that gets it. Kathleen C. the founder is full of energy, full of passion and so bright and hard working you can't help but like her and her team. They are fully committed to doing what they do and making a difference. They laugh, they cry, they dream and they tirelessly do things to bring smiles and a better life to forgotten women. They are extraordinary because they truly change lives!
I am both a donor and a photographer serving BOMA and have seen in this organization the most extraordinary people making the most beautiful impact among the poorest of the poor. My money and my time are well spent with BOMA.