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Sitting Down With Mary Martin Niepold, Founder of the Nyanya Project


One of the wonderful things about working in social good is the people you meet. I have met some amazing people over the past few years who are doing extraordinary things, even some in my own backyard.

Yesterday I joined Mary Martin Niepold for lunch and we chatted about Africa, her non-profit organization, the Nyanya Project, her recent TED talk at Wake Forest University where she is also a lecturer in journalism, the world of social good and ideas about future action campaigns. The Nyanya Project is a partner of Mom Bloggers for Social Good.

After visiting Africa as a volunteer in 2007 Mary was compelled to do something to help the people she had met, visited and worked with. As a grandmother herself she saw that no one was thinking about the grandmothers who carry so much of the burden of Africa as mothers and fathers die from AIDS and leave their children behind to be cared for. The grandmothers are the ones who are left.

The Nyanya Project empowers grandmothers to keep their families together in the face of AIDS devastation. They help African grandmothers form working cooperatives that generate the income necessary to provide healthcare, education and a loving home for their grandchildren.

The Nyanya Project also runs a preschool in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest slums in east Africa. Children are able to get educated before they matriculate to primary school. They also get two meals a day and some of the grandmothers also work in the preschool.

Mary and the Nyanya Project are on the cusp of opening another preschool in Rwanda and are accepting donations to move towards opening their goal. If you would like to donate to the Nyanya Project visit them at www.nyanyaproject.org.

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