Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans in Malawi

Hot off the press!  We’ve received such great feedback on our new t-shirts, and we’re so excited about what we’ll be able to do with the proceeds.  All of the funds generated will go to our nutrition and education programs in Malawi.  Questions?  Email Info@100XDevelopment.com.

Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi.

Buy Now

 

 

Blanchards Meet with President Joyce Banda of Malawi

With the critical needs of vulnerable children and families, the ongoing impacts of poverty and disease alongside the ever present challenges of human conflicts, the development sector needs to expand leveraged approaches.  Such approaches must maximize the value for money and multiply resources through collaboration, innovation and effective execution.  

– Lindy Blanchard

In February 2005, at the opening of Mtendere Village, 100X Development’s orphan care program in Malawi, John and Lindy Blanchard met then Minister for Gender and Community Services, Joyce Banda, for the first time. The past seven years have shown that the vision President Banda shared on that day – for the well-being and empowerment of women and children – was more than simple words. She has proven that she is dedicated to them, and is willing to leverage every resource available to her to help improve their circumstances. We are kindred spirits on this.

We were honored that President Banda extended an invitation for John and Lindy to meet with her last week while in New York for the UN General Assembly. During the meeting, they were able to share about the programs that 100X has established in Malawi and about our vision to expand programming to empower women and children for a more hopeful future. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Banda to help the women and children of Malawi, and are excited to move forward and expand our outreach in the Warm Heart of Africa!

For additional press on this meeting, please visit the following websites: Nyasa Times, Malawi Democrat and MW Nation.

Media Contact: Kimberly Casey, Media@100XDevelopment.com or (202) 509-6005

LEVERAGE: Beauty of Life

As I sit here back at home, all I can think about are my adventures back in Malawi. How truly blessed I am to not only have gone once, but twice. Traveling to Malawi has allowed me to discover the beauty of life. It reminds me that I am not complete without these beautiful people who live half way across the globe. There is nothing like sitting on the porch of the guesthouse, overlooking Mtendere Village, and just spending time with all the wonderful kids. Even the amazing photos I have of the kids do not do them justice. Their beauty is something I have experienced first hand and it is these moments that will stay with me through the rest of my life.

While at Mtendere I had the opportunity to do some tutoring, help out in the preschool, and help out anywhere else it was needed. There were always opportunities to help out. Working in the preschool room was such a joy! I am amazed by how much the preschoolers know! It brought me great joy to watch Lovemore, the preschool teacher, share in his students’ successes. As a first grade teacher, having the opportunity to work with these children one on one is amazing. I had the chance to tutor a lot of the students in standard one, which is comparable to first grade. I have never seen such passion and excitement to learn. When we provided manipulatives and hands on learning materials the students’ eyes lit up. I love seeing such excitement to learn. The students are so resourceful and I know they will continue to work hard on their studies.


Traveling to Malawi has changed me forever. It has shown me to truly care for issues that are bigger than myself. In life, I think everyone has a special issue close to their heart, and I have found mine; those kids who have been left alone in this world. Mtendere Village is a place for some of these children and if you spend even a day there you can see how much love can do for a child. As my professor, Dr. Tony Kline said, “It’s amazing what a year of love can do.” This quote has stuck with me since this trip and I realize how truly profound love can be.  During my trip I witnessed this first hand.  A beautiful, 10 day old girl, named Winnie was given a chance at life in Mtendere Village. She was brought home, and immediately surrounded by family. It was a miracle, a chance for a child to grow up in a world where she is cared for. While there, I also got the chance to meet and spend time with the girl I sponsor, Eneles. At the beginning she was very shy and timid, but as time went on she opened up to us. I cannot even begin to describe her true beauty and joy. She has this smile and laugh that are just contagious. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to watch her grow as a person.

The world is a beautiful place, full of works of art. Throughout my entire trip, I experienced these first hand. Mtendere Village is a piece of this. There is nothing like walking the kids to school on the dusty African paths. Watching kids study and work so hard. Teaching the kids new things. Staring off at the mountains in horizon. Swinging at night and gazing at the stars. Laughing and being a kid. Hugging kids every single day.  Singing and praising God, who has given us this wonderful life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids who have gotten a second chance at life. This is my life, my chance at getting to know the world and some of the magnificent people that fill it. I can’t wait to go back again.

Maura Sawicki graduated from Ball State University in 2011 and is in her second year teaching 1st grade.

LEVERAGE: The Warm Heart of Africa

The Warm Heart of Africa

by Blair Brendle 

The “Warm Heart of Africa” is this country’s nickname

The beauty in the faces has given it its fame

A place of peace, jokes, and constant smiles

A place of strength, endurance, and perseverance for the miles

But most importantly to me, this country holds a special place

A village full of children that could have easily been erased

Because though this country is beautiful, it is struggling all the same

Not enough food, too much disease, poor education, a cyclic game

But this one special village is trying to make a break

To the cycle of helplessness, loss, hunger, disease, and mistake

This village has a dream to empower and equip

The next generation to get out from under injustice’s grip

This dream is big and lofty, of course this much is true

But one day at a time, they’re doing all that they can do

Within this village resides almost 200 of its nation’s best

Whose pasts are full of darkness, but whose futures can be blessed

This village’s name means peace; in Chichewa it’s called Mtendere

But it’s more than just tranquility or resting for the weary

It’s a place where within the peace, true restoration occurs

Where what was, is replaced with what can be; where true redemption stirs

Where acceptance, adoption, and forgiveness are part of each day

Where The Truth and The Life are ever exposing The Way

It’s a tiny little village in stark contrast to a great big earth

But to all who step foot on it, it grants a chance for new birth

It’s a slice of kingdom on this side of glory

And I’m so thankful that for three weeks I got to be a part of its story

Blair spent three weeks at our orphan care program in Malawi this summer.  She drafted this poem shortly after her return.  We are always very excited to see people leveraging their talents for good!  

IMPACT: From Dasa

We received the following letter from Dasa, and wanted to shared how your support has impacted this young girl’s life.  It is YOUR support allows us to reach children with stories similar to Dasa, so we believe this letter is for you as well.  Thank you for your partnership!

Dear 100X Development Team,

My name is Feodosia Rosca but everyone calls me Dasa Cameron.  When I was born, my father rejected me for not being a boy, and at two years of age, my mom abandoned me too.  I stayed in my uncle’s house for a few years, where his wife started each day by telling me that I was a mistake.  She would tell me that I was going to grow up and became “nothing” like my mom.

After a few years, my uncle sent me to the largest orphanage in Moldova, a place with 850 children—my “home” for the next seven years.  I hated the world.  I hated myself.  All I knew at that moment was that I wasn’t wanted, accepted or loved.

Being an orphan is not easy no matter where you are in the world, we all feel the same, we all have the same questions inside our hearts, we all share the same fears, and we all shared tears for years and years.  We have no hope.  When kids think of themselves as nothing, they never dare to dream.

In my country, when you turn 16 you have to leave the orphanage and manage in life on your own. Most of the kids never make it.  Life is so rough on us that most give up even before they start.  When you go into the world, everyone sees you as a thief, liar…you are the worst there can possibly be.

When my time came to leave the orphanage, I thought my life would end.  I had nowhere to go, but I am thankful to Jesus that he had a plan.  Through 100X’s partnership with Stella’s House, I was given a place to live.  I learned that Jesus is real, that he loves me like no one else, and that has a great plan for my life.  Most of all, I learned that I was not a mistake.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

I want to say thank you to 100X for giving me the opportunity and honor to study in America.  It means a lot that you believe in me—that you don’t look at me as an orphan.

I never dreamt when I was an orphan, but since I have Jesus in my heart, He has allowed me to dream…and dream big.  He took me from an orphanage school desk to a university in America.

100X, you are amazing.  You give kids like me hope; you take us in your arms and don’t let us go until you are sure we can fly on our own.  I want to say thank you for being His example on earth.

–Dasa Cameron

Will you give a gift today that will help us reach more children like Dasa?


LEVERAGE: Lindy’s Birthday Wish

Dear friends,

In 2004, John and I started on a journey. At that time, I can honestly tell you that I did not have any idea that it would lead us to where we are today. God has been faithful and our vision continues to expand! 100X Development is based on the principle of Mark 4:8, “Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” A hundredfold. We’re all about leverage—maximizing our gifts and resources to benefit the children and families that we serve.

As I prepare to celebrate my birthday on July 4, these children and families are ever present in my mind. I am reminded of the many children that do not live to see their 5th birthday, and the heartbreak and challenges of families that endure the loss of a child or a mother. I am reminded that there are so many more that we must help.

In the spirit of our founding principle, I want to “leverage” my birthday. Instead of gifts, I am asking my friends, family and supporters of 100X to donate during the month of July towards the 100X project of their choice. Will you join me? Whether you are able to give $10, $100 or $1,000, your gift will change lives. Together, we can make sure that others are able to celebrate many more healthy and happy birthdays!

Many blessings,

Lindy

P.S. If you’re interested in giving up your birthday, you can use our Razoo page to get started. If you have questions, just email Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Give a gift

A Spark of Hope

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.  Nelson Mandela

One of my most vivid memories is standing on a pier in Elmina, Ghana and looking into the eyes of a child slave.  I imagine the experience is similar to meeting a child that is entrenched in any abusive situation and does not believe there is any hope for the future.  Everything within me was urging me to take him and flee, but as I looked around it was evident that there were dozens more just like him.  At that moment, I felt as hopeless as he appeared.

I have also had the privilege of meeting survivors of both sex and labor trafficking, and while that does not remove the ache in my heart for the young boy in Ghana, it does renew my hope.  Each person that I have met has been in various stages of recovery—some so recently freed that they still bore physical marks of their abuse—but each has had, at minimum, a spark of hope in their eyes.  Proof that restoration is attainable.

At 100X, we are working hard to make sure that vulnerable children never experience the abuse of human trafficking.  We focus primarily on prevention because we’re aware of the harsh reality that 99% of victims are never rescued.

In the United States, it is estimated that a runaway (or homeless) youth is approached by a trafficker within 48 hours of living on the street.  One in three will be exploited for commercial sex.  The average age of entry into commercial sex?  13.

We also know that children that have been in the foster care system are especially vulnerable—both circumstantially and emotionally.  This is one of the reasons that we are so pleased to have Adullam House as one of our partner organizations.  Adullam House is a 100X partner whose mission is to care for children whose mothers are in prison.  Children at Adullam House are loved and protected—and they are taught that their life has purpose.  Very quickly, the vulnerability created by their past begins to lose ground, and they become less susceptible to recruitment by traffickers.

The vulnerability of youth is compounded in developing countries—especially for young orphans.  The children that we work with in Malawi, Peru, Mexico, India and Uganda face the same challenges as children in the US, but there are even less safeguards and fewer laws to protect them.  In many cases, law enforcement is corrupt and often contributes to the problem.  Exploitation begins at a younger age, and children are often forced across borders—away from all that is familiar.  The same is true in Moldova.

Our work in these countries aims to protect those that traffickers will target most.  In some cases, children have already been exploited before they enter our care.  This is where restoration takes place.  We believe that every child, regardless of past circumstances, has been created for a purpose and we are committed to providing the resources and education they need for a hopeful future.  Last year alone, we were able to protect more than 400 children.

Every child has the right to grow up without fear of exploitation and abuse.  Will you help us reach one more?

How YOU can help LEVERAGE…

Speak UpPost a message on Facebook or Twitter (mention @100XDevelopment or #100X and we’ll respond), send an email, or talk to your friends and co-workers. The more people who know about and support what we are doing directly impacts how much we are able to accomplish!

Givewe want to reach as many young girls as possible, and we cannot do it alone. You can make a donation, give up your birthday, run a marathon—be creative!  We’ve designed a Razoo page to help you get started.

Praypray for the children, for those working to help them, and for exposure of those who are exploiting them.

If you have questions, or want to run an idea by us, email our team at Leverage@100XDevelopment.com.

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager

IMPACT: Stephen

As mentioned in previous posts, when Mtendere Village opened in 2005 we had 16 orphans and one housemother.  It has been my privilege to be a “proud mama” and watch these children grow up.  I have witnessed them grow physically, change emotionally, be challenged spiritually, and excel academically.  I love each and every one of them, and as the mother of Mtendere, I have been known to brag.  I simply cannot help myself!  That leads me to Stephen Makasu.

One of the first to arrive at Mtendere, Stephen was more than a little uncertain about what his new life would look like.  He had nothing to compare it to, no one to ask for advice; he was so small, and very shy.  What a difference seven years makes!  Today, Stephen has matured into one of the strongest leaders on campus.

Stephen has led by example in the classroom, as well as on the Mtendere campus, and he instills in our younger kids the drive to be better and work harder.  Always the top student in his class at Bambino (an international school right outside of Lilongwe), he is an intelligent young man who has cultivated his strengths in language and business.

All of us at 100X were exceedingly proud when, in 2010, he finished as the number one student in his German class and was given the opportunity to travel to Germany as part of an exchange program.  Because of his leadership, we flew Stephen to the US where he represented Mtendere Village at our winter benefit.    It is our hope that Stephen will be our first (but not the last) international collegiate student from Mtendere!

On their recent trip to Malawi, Dr. Rick Cook and other Auburn University faculty had the pleasure of meeting Stephen.  Afterward, they shared with me that they were beyond impressed with his confident, yet respectful demeanor.  Of course, my heart swelled with pride!

Through his hard work and commitment, Stephen has been able to participate in experiences that, prior to Mtendere Village, he could not even hope or imagine.  His life exemplifies what we want all of our kids to experience.

Stephen and I both know that much of this would not have been possible without the support of his sponsors, the Knight family.  In addition to financial sponsorship, they have encouraged Stephen through letters and have even traveled to Malawi to meet him.  Because of their dedication to our sponsorship program, the Knights have changed the life of Stephen Makasu.  I am so thankful for them, and for all of our sponsors who help our children achieve their dreams.  Without them, 100X would not be able to care for the 140 children who call Mtendere “home.”  So, we thank you!

If you’d like to join our family of sponsors, visit our Child Sponsorship page, or email Sponsor@100XDevelopment.com for more information.  We’d love to have you!

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi       

What is your fight?

I was in my junior year of undergrad when I first watched the movie Hotel Rwanda—a movie that detailed the story of Paul Rusesabagina and his experience during the Rwandan genocide.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend a visit to your rental company of choice.

No matter how many times I view the movie, one scene stands out above all others.  The scene begins with Rusesabagina thanking Jack Daglish, a cameraman, for shooting footage of the massacre.

Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.  

Daglish: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

Daglish: I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

I do not know if this conversation portrays an actual conversation between Rusesabagina and Nick Hughes (the man who shot the footage accredited to the fictional Daglish), or if it was scripted for cinematic purposes, but what I do know is that what was predicted came to pass.

In less than 100 days, while families in the US and other developed countries sat down for dinner, 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered.

The Rwandan Genocide is just one example.  Every day, we see evidence of suffering—whether it is walking by a homeless man on the street, viewing a 30 second clip on the evening news, or reading a blog like this one.  The enormity of it all is overwhelming.

  • 26,500 children die every day of preventable causes related to poverty (equivalent to 100 jetliners crashing)
  • 500,000 women die in childbirth every year – deaths that are largely preventable
  • 12.3 million people are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor
  • 163 million children are orphans

This constant bombardment is numbing and often causes us to say, “oh my, that is horrible,” and then go on living our lives.  We erroneously believe that because we cannot solve the entire problem, there is nothing for us to do.

I firmly believe that there are some battlefields that I am not called to fight on.  For example, if the issue involves environment or animal rights issues, please call someone else.  I don’t have the capacity.  That said, I also believe that everyone should pick a fight.  It will be different for everyone, but we all have something that should take us away from our dinners.

I recently met a man who spent several years of his young life as a house slave.  When he was 12 years old, someone intervened.  He was able to attend school for the first time.  Throughout his life, people continued to come alongside and support him.  He finished university, married and developed a successful career.  Today, this man and his wife have established an orphanage to care for similarly vulnerable children.  He has picked his fight.

At 100X we’ve seen similar stories with children like Andiseni and Galina, and our house mom Naomi. The people who intervened didn’t eliminate human trafficking or world hunger, but they did dramatically change one life.  That is what it takes.  If each of us will navigate our way through the deluge of statistics, pick our fight, and find the one life that we can influence, we will be able to press back against the darkness.

What is your fight?  If it is orphan care, education, human trafficking prevention, or health, we’d love for you to join us!

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager

Mama Dana

Some of you may be familiar with my title as “Mama Dana” from previous blogs or conversations, but for those who do not, I want to explain a little more about what that means to me.  It is not just a title, but more a term of endearment.

When my family, the Blanchards, started the 100X Development Foundation (then 100X Missions) so many years ago, I was simply a supportive family member of this new dream and goal to start an orphanage in Malawi, Africa.  I knew there was a need and I was excited that my family was able to develop a “program” that was undoubtedly going to save the lives of orphans. However, it was not until after my husband passed away that I really developed more than just a “supportive” role, but more of a desire to travel to Mtendere Village and see what my family was doing on the grounds in Malawi.

In February 2005, on my first trip to Mtendere Village, I fell in love.  Not so much with the country (although it is beautiful), but with the people that I met and the 16 wide-eyed orphans who were now under the care of 100X.  These 16 children were there, because they too, had suffered unimaginable loss and had no one to care for them.  I quickly realized that the number of orphans in the country was far greater than just 16 and that it was essential for us, for me, to do something.

The solution was simple: I wanted to work alongside my family—fulltime—at 100X and I had to move to Malawi! After many family conversations, and much prayer, me and my 8-year-old daughter Alley packed up and moved to Mtendere Village.

We lived there for over a year and spent our time managing, developing, constructing, and expanding Mtendere Village.  I trained the Mtendere Staff the best way I knew how and prayed that it was the right way.  I worked tirelessly to try to prepare the administration to be independent so that they could manage effectively when the time came for me to move back to the US.  We went from having a village of 16 orphans, a staff of 5, and 1 housemother to a village, rather a home of 140 orphans, a staff of 32, and 16 housemothers.

And although this was now my job and the management and administrative perspective was hard work, it was the moments with the orphans, my kids, that meant the most to me.  It was during these moments and times that I no longer was just a woman on “the job” but a mother to those who no longer had parents.  So, although I am mom to only one, I am “Mama Dana” to almost 200 people in a country that most are not even familiar with.

Alley and I no longer live in Malawi, but I do spend every summer there and whenever I have the chance, I go home—to my other children, to the place that stole my heart and instilled a passion in me nearly 8 years ago.  I have many more stories and moments to be shared, but for now, hopefully this will give you a glimpse of why the name “Mama Dana” is a such a sweet sound to my ears.

You can help 100X continue to expand and save the lives of orphans in Malawi by donating here.

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi