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Kiwis don’t need global agencies to change world

Media Release
Embargoed until 15th August 2008

Do-it-yourself young Kiwi’s say they don’t need global aid agencies to change the world.

From professionals to students, to student professionals, last year a bunch of Aucklanders turned indie fundraiser 100 Days/100 Dollars into New Zealand’s very own backyard solution to African poverty – in fact, it was so successful that this year’s version kicks off August 15th.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”, and in Kenya, where weapons have caused so much destruction, 100 Days 100 Dollars is fighting back with classic kiwi ingenuity.

With no budget for flash TV ads and no time to train in Aid and Development, some solution-craving New Zealander’s have used just days in their calendar, and dollars in their pocket, to make a big impression on the plight of the poor in East Africa by building schools for kids who have nothing.

Beginning 15th August, a countdown of 100 days begins for grass-roots New Zealanders to each raise $100 - the core idea that was so successful in 2007 and eventually saw thousands of people across the country hear about this mission to provide an education to kids without.

What it originally took to inspire the idea of 100 Days 100 Dollars was a few of these young adventurers to stand in the midst of 1 million people living in their own filth and hopelessness in one of the worlds most densest living areas, Kibera Slum in Kenya. After this life changing experience they came back to New Zealand and challenged their mates, giving them 100 days to each raise 100 dollars as a practical way to help with the lack of education in the slum.

Turns out 100 days was enough time for a lot more people than just their mates to raise a hundred bucks, and since then the campaign has caught the interest of pragmatists all over the country, with individuals, schools, churches and businesses using their creativity to often give over and above the $100 originally asked for.

The result last year, was a brand new 12 classroom block, new toilets and a lot of Kenyans learning business skills - not to mention the ultimate goal of bringing a whole new world of education to 200 kids in the heart of the slum.

The volunteer based Hope Foundation Development is the charity behind 100 Days 100 Dollars which is made of international development experts, who have provided a significant portfolio in third world educational development already in its short existence.

The team are so convinced of what they have achieved thus far, that they are doing it all again this year, with the 100 day countdown starting 15th August 2008. But if the ‘100days’ concept alone doesn’t get your attention, then maybe another incentive is that the charity gives 95% of the money raised directly to the projects; currently amongst the highest rates for any charity in New Zealand.

Campaign Manager Luke Winslade (22) says that some of the kids he met in the slum want to become all of the typical things that New Zealand kids want to become, except the likelihood of them being able to achieve their dreams is slim without an education. “They didn’t teach a course in ‘How to build a school in an African slum’ at Rangitoto College!” says Winslade, “But one thing they did do was give me an opportunity to learn. Which I now know is a hard to reach luxury for kids in Kibera.”

Winslade’s friend and campaigner, Simon Moore says; “In between violent riots, slum building codes, vague UN advice, Kenyan accounting practices and a couple of filming trips to see what was going on, we’ve figured out that’s it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think” And now they have got a couple hundred kids getting an education to prove it.

Kenyan based Project Manager, George Odihambo says that the New Zealand Dollar goes a long way, so combining the international development experts, some kiwi ingenuity and our surprisingly valuable NZD, Kiwi’s can get as hands-on as they wish.

Thankfully, we won’t be seeing a long string of depressing statistics to convince New Zealanders to back 100 Days 100 Dollars because, as Winslade says, “We don’t want people to feel bad about living the way they do, we really just want ordinary Kiwis to see that it doesn’t take much effort for them to transform the lives of someone in a desperate situation.”

For more information or to be part of this DIY revolution, check out www.100days100dollars.com.


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