Ujima Bazaar: a space where getting equals giving

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Auntie Sheba had told us all about the orphanage in Nairobi that she’s involved with.

She told us about Mama Mercy, the woman who founded the orphanage, and how she’d left behind a life of comfort to rescue, rehabilitate, and care for the orphans of the Mathare Slum.

Sheba told us about the lack of sanitation systems. She told us about how desperately the home needs diapers for the infants. She told us about the poverty, disease, and violence in Nairobi. She told us about the babies who had been abandoned in garbage cans and rescued by Good Samaritan Children’s Home.

We couldn’t believe it.

My family and I had already committed to visiting Kenya at the end of 2013 – to see my niece’s parents and introduce them to their first and only grandchild. It would be an experience of a lifetime for my sister and I who have never been to Africa.

But when we learned more about the orphanage and the work they do there despite their lack of access to necessary resources and chronic state of underfunded-ness, we decided we had to help them financially come hell or high-water.

So I tapped into what I know best… the generosity and heartfelt support of fellow entrepreneurs who were sick and tired of having to choose between paying the bills and supporting a cause, between making their business thrive and helping others to merely survive, between getting what they need and giving what they’ve got. I decided that had to stop and I created Ujima Bazaar, where getting equals giving.

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Ujima Bazaar is a place where entrepreneurs can donate their brilliance in the form of digital products and services in exchange for great PR, a bunch of potential new prospects, AND the opportunity to make a HUGE freakin’ impact on kids in need. Triple threat of awesome, no?

bag3On July 21st, the Ujima Bazaar storefront will officially open to the public and folks will have the change to buy up super valuable resources from experts all over the world and they not only get access to products and services that help them start, create, grow, nourish, and go for themselves, their purchases will make opportunities for the children at Good Samaritan’s to do the same. Each and every dollar made from the Bazaar will be given directly to the orphanage to provide vital necessities like food, diapers, school books, school uniforms, and sturdy shoes. The first $4,000 will even be matched – dollar for dollar – by a generous benefactor! At Ujima Bazaar, you won’t need to sacrifice what you want and need in order to help those needier than you. Getting and giving are no longer mutually exclusive.

So far, the outpouring of support and donations has been overwhelming. Over twenty people across three continents have donated their wares to the fundraising effort and we’ve accumulated over thirty offerings worth over $6,000 in just a couple weeks. I may have cried a time or two or five due to my amazement at the generosity of others. It’s hard *not* to have faith in humanity when you get three emails in a single day thanking you for providing an opportunity to give back for a meaningful cause, right?

But there’s a lot more work to do before I can mark this effort up as a huge success. In the spirit of transparency (and sometimes painful honesty), I’ve tapped my networks nearly dry of all existing do-goodery juice and the soon-to-be-mighty Ujima Bazaar is still looking for entrepreneurs with heart to donate their goodies, services, products, and beyond to the fundraising super sale. If you’re interested in making a big impact while sharing your generously brilliant self with the worldclick here to learn more, contribute to the cause, and/or spread the word or… just click one of the buttons below!

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This post was originally shared with my stellar pal, Rachael Kay Albers, and her amazing project Awesomepreneurs | work with heart!

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