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It all began with a simple high school assignment: research and write a report on poverty and hunger. Mutua Kasinga was a 14 year high school junior at the time. He decided to volunteer at a local food bank to get a firsthand look at the issue for himself. What he detailed in his report got him in front of school board staff who, impressed with his passion for the project, recommended he see what else he could do to help. Mutua soon realized that money that we drop on clothes and electronics can have an amazing, huge impact on families in developing countries.

It really bothered me that families in poor countries must struggle so much just to feed themselves, let alone live an enjoyable life

He decided to focus his efforts on Africa, where just a couple of hundred bucks could transform a family from poverty to farming business owners. He also realized that there were lots of charities out there, but none that really focused on teens his age and how they could contribute. He thought that was wrong — young people do want to make a difference in the world.

Sometimes adults think our generation is ignorant, self-centered, and careless. I know we are not and I want us all to prove it to them. We have the passion, the dedication, when we see something wrong, we just don’t want to talk about it, we want to help make it better and solve the problem.

The Jembe Fund was born. Right now Jembe Fund focuses on providing livestock and farm training for families in Kenya and Tanzania. If you’re wondering about the name, Jembe means “hoe” in Swahilia, which is the garden tool that many farmers rely on. Using a hoe to warm is brack-breaking work that’s usually done in extremely hot temperatures. By giving a family sheep, cows or goats, we can provide them with a better way to live, work and thrive. Mutua wants to inspire other teens to appreciate what they have and realize the positive benefits that giving to someone else can have on your self-image and self-esteem.

You’ve been gifted to live a better life than so many people our age who grow up in poor countries. We receive a lot of gifts, technology and money, if we use just a small portion of the resources we have to donate to someone in need, we can make just as big of an impact as any adult.

I think a lot of young people will be shocked at how little money it takes to transform someone’s life in these countries. I want to show them that what is a small amount of money to us, ($15-25 dollars), can go a long way in a different country.

For just the price of some air pods, you could give a whole family a means to be self-sustaining farmers, with healthy food and enough money to send their children to school. All that for the price of something so tiny!”Mutua hopes other teens will be inspired to help with the cause. His next goal is to reach 1000 donations by the start of the next school year. Could you help him reach that goal?