SMK Autumn 2020 Newsletter

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Crisis &

Opportunities autumn 2020 newsletter

Content Message from the Director....................01

Agriculture Impact Program...................03 Catching Light........................................07 CCH Orphanage Home......................... 09 Donor Spotlight.......................................11 News Flash: Community in Action..........19 Impact Moment, Reflecting on Liberia....21 Volunteer Corner.....................................23 Features..................................................24 Our Community of Support.....................25 Giving Tuesday, Unleash Generosity......27

Message From the Director... 2020 was a very difficult year for many in our community and around the world. I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to all those who have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite current challenges, you have continued to find ways to support the Save More Kids (SMK) mission. We sincerely appreciate your generous donations over the past year. It would not be possible for us to continue to develop our projects in Liberia, such as the Catching Light and Agricultural Impact programs, without your continued support! As we navigate through the challenges of the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, SMK is facing these circumstances head-on. The SMK approach sees extreme challenges not as limitations or obstacles, but as an invitation to innovate, and a message that we must continue to learn and to grow. This newsletter is written through the lens of current worldwide challenges that we have taken advantage of, subsequently turning ideas into concrete solutions. As a member of the Save More Kids family, my team and I invite you to read the first of our quarterly newsletters, as we continue to turn times of crisis into legacies of opportunities.

Quanuquanei Karmue Executive Director & Co-Founder

Believe Again!

Agriculture Impact Program farm to table Innovation

THE ARRIVAL OF COVID-19 AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE GLOBAL ECONOMY has placed tremendous obstacles in the path of SMK’s endeavors. However, the SMK team has valuable experience, having survived the Ebola crisis in 2014. The lessons learned during that event were used again to protect the safety and well-being of the children and our staff in Liberia. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in March of 2020, Executive Director, Quanuquanei Karmue, Program Coordinator, Tyler Papula, and two Witness Experience travelers, Urs and Ursula Baumann arrived in Liberia only to find that they were unable to leave due to the closure of the country’s airport. In addition, the arrival of the coronavirus caused the supply of rice imported from China and India to be interrupted, creating a severe national shortage of this staple food. Suddenly, the team’s highest priorities were to keep everyone safe from the


coronavirus, and to provide food for our children, staff, and their families. The CCH Orphanage family was relocated from the busy city of Gbarnga to the safety of the countryside village of Garmu, Bong County. There, amid Liberia’s dense forests and vast swamplands, Q and the team turned their attention to the goal of feeding the SMK community. Thus, the Agricultural Impact Project was born.

The Agricultural Impact project was designed to feed the community, while also keeping the CCH children inspired and hopeful during a difficult time. This endeavor also produced opportunities for SMK youth to explore vocations in agriculture. The SMK team realized they needed to create more than a solution to the food shortage, it was important to inspire the young people to turn a crisis into an opportunity and create solutions for their own communities. The Agricultural Impact


Program produces both results by ensuring sustainable food production and vocational opportunities. The initiative provides a hands-on “playground� for local young adults to engage in a range of professional practices, including project planning, team management, and budgeting. As a result of hard work and the expertise of the farm team, we anticipate a successful harvest of rice and produce that will provide food for the school and the surrounding community by the end of 2020.


“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.”  Confucious

Catching Light Turning the lighs on for Liberia's youth

THE CATCHING LIGHT INITIATIVE WAS INITIATED TO PROVIDE STUDENTS AT CCH AND THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES WITH A RENEWABLE AND DEPENDABLE SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY. In March of 2020, Catching Light Phase One was completed with the installation of 12 solar panels at CCH. Since the solar facility went online, the CCH children now spend their evenings doing homework, socially interacting, and for the first time, watching wide-screen movies. In order to implement this project, SMK formed a partnership with a local solar company, Go Solar Liberia. During the installation process, Go Solar Liberia shared their expertise with the CCH students, mentoring and training them to install and maintain the solar facility. This initiative promises to have a long-term, transformative effect on SMK youth, preparing


them for livelihoods while contributing to the community by maintaining sustainable electricity. With the success of Phase One, SMK has expanded solar to the farming project in Garmu, which has given the local people an opportunity to observe how solar power can positively transform a community.

Through our partnership with Go Solar Liberia and with the support of donors, Phase Two of Catching Light Initiative will expand the solar electricity program and build a Community Innovation Center. Here, the youth of rural Bong county will have access to the internet, computers, library resources, vocational training, and recreational opportunities.




Orphanage Home

Renovation on Sugar Hill

DURING THEIR EXTENDED VISIT TO LIBERIA, WITNESS EXPERIENCE TRAVELERSURS AND URSULA BAUMANN volunteered to renovate the CCH school during the pandemic lockdown. Their enthusiasm brought everyone in the CCH family together to paint the classrooms with bright colors, repair old chairs and benches, and build new projector stands. The finished product was a sparkling new look for the CCH Orphanage that reflects the personalities of the kids that live there: bright, happy, and enthusiastic. Urs and Usula’s Witness Experience in Liberia is highlighted in our Donor Spotlight section.


potlight onor S D

INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN’S ASSOCIATION (ILA) Through the leadership of Mr. Kenneth Riley, President of ILA Local 1422 in Charleston, SC, and ILA International Vice President, the ILA has supported SMK for over five years. Throughout the years, they have provided over 300,000 pounds of rice, sardines, and non-perishable food as temporary relief to CCH and some of Liberia’s poorest populations. Before the pandemic, the ILA was preparing to send containers of food to CCH. However, due to border closures, the delivery of goods would have been impossible. Consequently, the ILA donated nearly $40,000 to support the SMK Agricultural Impact Project, enabling the project to be set in motion. Mr. Riley visited Liberia in October of 2020 to take part in SMKs first rice harvest and witness the progress of the project. Thank you to Mr. Riley and the ILA for supporting the farming operation, which will provide food security for CCH and the surrounding community during this time of crisis and beyond.


Due to amazing supporters, SMK hired over 1000 short-term workers in 8 months...

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Originally from Switzerland and currently residing in La Jolla, California, the Baumanns became involved with Save More Kids while attending a Witness book signing. Deeply moved by the SMK story, they became generous donors and have shared our story with their friends and family, creating a larger network of supporters. During their extended Witness Experience trip to Liberia, they completed school renovations at CCH. Using her skills as a professional muralist, Ursula brought color into the CCH classrooms, while Urs helped build a new projector stand for educational purposes and CCH movie nights. The retired flight attendant and professional ballet dancer enjoyed spending time with the children at CCH. Today, they keep in touch with the kids regularly, and plan to visit Liberia again. Due to their unwavering support and commitment to the SMK mission, we have dedicated the food processing center to the Baumanns and their friends. Once completed, this building will be named the Baumann Processing Center, which will facilitate the processing and packaging of the harvest.


When you share your presence with us, we absorb your love and the world becomes a better place!

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Catherine Colinvaux

Mrs. Catherine Colinvaux, a distinguished attorney and philanthropist, and current trustee of the Bancroft School, generously helped to fund the first phase of SMK Catching Light Initiative in 2019. Mrs. Colinvaux was moved when she learned from Bancroft alumni Tyler Papula and Max Sulik how difficult it was for the CCH students to study without dependable electricity, and how this affects the health and well-being of communities in Liberia. Her passion for humanitarian work has enabled the Catching Light Initiative to bring solar electricity to the CCH Orphanage and the Garmu House in Bong County, Liberia. As a result of Mrs. Colinvaux’s generosity, the lives of the children and staff at SMK have been improved immeasurably. Thank you to Mrs. Colinvaux for your insight, humanity, and your deep care for the children of Liberia and CCH staff. We are endlessly grateful!


“YES!” Opens the doors to limetless possibilities for impact to reach the intended destination!

Thank you for saying “YES!”

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Al Fasola

Mr. Al Fasola has a long list of professional accomplishments. He has served as president, CEO, and chairman of various private and public enterprises, he served two governors of the state of New Jersey, and has lectured at Yale and other institutions. Mr. Fasola was profoundly touched when he read Q’s memoir, Witness: A Civil War Through the Eyes of a Child and was moved to become involved with SMK. He has become a friend, an advisor and a mentor to Q. Al and his family have created a fund to support SMK, titled The Fasola Family Fund. When COVID-19 struck, Al became aware of the severe food shortages in Liberia and SMK’s response of creating the Agricultural Impact Program. He generously contributed to the program and helped make it possible for SMK to grow their own food supply. SMK is expressing our gratitude by dedicating the CCH Girls Garden to Mr. Al Fasola and his family, renaming it the Fasola Garden. Everyone at SMK would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for his friendship and generosity!


Become an Impact Partner Today!

News Flash

Community in Action

CCH STUDENT IS A NOMINEE FOR A SCHOLARSHIP TO THE U.S. Myra was one of the first children adopted to the CCH home. Now 19 years old, she is a nominee for a very competitive scholership through She-Can to a topranking American university of her choice. The She-Can organization’s mission is “to build female leadership in post-conflict countries by equipping and empowering young women with education, mentorship, and leadership skills needed to change their nations and the world.” As a result of Myra’s outstanding academic achievements, she is now in the process of applying to Muhlenberg College. SMK is incredibly proud of this outstanding young lady and will continue to support her throughout her college experience. CCH 2009

CCH 2012

CCH 2020

Upcoming Rice Harvest From October to January, the harvest will take the rice out of the fields, through processing machines, to packaging, and on to the plates of Liberian families. Stay tuned for updates on the harvest, and SMK would greatly appreciate your continued support of this sustainable agricultural program by clicking the button below to donate today!



CA nsisco a r F n a S Assessment for Surgery with Dr. Rastani, 2019

U.S. hearing loss surgery for CCH student Moses Cole canceled due to COVID-19 Moses Cole became orphaned by the Liberian Civil War at the tender age of five years old. He was welcomed into the CCH Orphanage on December 26, 2008 by Momma Neyor and Papa Fungbeh. As Moses grew up, they became aware of the severe eardrum damage he suffered during the conflict. Now in his early 20’s, Moses is a humble, intelligent young man who enjoys reading and makes friends with everyone he meets. In 2019, the CCH family was reconnected Dr. Rastani F.A.C.S., a physician in California who had previously worked on Moses ears in 2014. Dr. Rastani generously agreed to treat Moses again. In December 2019, Moses flew from Liberia to America with Q to undergo surgery for his hearing. Due to COVID-19, his surgery was canceled at the last minute. Since then Moses has been living with Q’s family, awaiting an opportunity to have his hearing repaired. He has become a big brother to Q’s children, and a beloved member of the family. His aspiration is to be an entrepreneur in the cold storage business in Liberia, where the lack of storage for food staples such as fish contributes to food insecurity. Moses’ passion is to give back to his community and create job opportunities for the other “ DAY ONE” children he grew up with at CCH. Moses at 12 years old The Save More Kids team would like to express our immense gratitude to Dr. Rastani. We also wish to show our deep appreciation to Kelly Steckelberg and Lorenzo Logoreci. Kelly and Lorenzo became pen pals with Moses and visited Liberia in 2012, they are his number one fans! Without their support, Moses would not have the opportunity to receive this critical procedure. Click the “Support Moses” button to view pictures of Moses as he grew up at CCH, and to stay posted on Moses’ journey! If you would like to donate to continue to empower Moses, please consider making a contribution on his page.



Impact Moment Reflecting on Liberia

Many non-profits tout themselves as being saviors to those they serve, that was not the case with SMK. While I was in Liberia, I learned that creating an impact is a two-way street; there was a reciprocation of mentorship, care, and inspiration between me and the kids at CCH Orphanage. In truth, I needed all 40 of my brothers and sisters at the home more than they needed me. Together we experienced another challenging chapter in Liberia’s history, and every day was filled with impactful moments that allowed us to learn and grow. While Save More Kids does a lot of work to impact the youth of Liberia, I decided to write this reflection on how the youth of Liberia impacted me. One night during my visit, after a particularly tiring day spent under the oppressive heat, Mount Garn thanked us again for our hard work with sturdy gusts stronger than most. We were all sitting outside the Garmu house in an open field next to the swamp farms we spent all day cultivating. It was the night before I was to leave Garmu to 21

begin my journey back to Monrovia to catch a return flight for Washington DC. I thanked all of my brothers and sisters at CCH for their hospitality. Leaning forward in my purple plastic chair, I looked around at all 40 or so of my siblings: to Peter, who showed me his poetry, to Johanna who constantly checked in on me, to Oretha who helped me make coffee in the morning, to Joe who took charge of installing solar panels over a month earlier, to Nana who found his passion for farming, to Menh who spent every morning with me engaged in philosophical conversations, and to Edward who showed me how he mixes music on his phone. I could keep going on and on about the many experiences we shared. The most beautiful part of my day was when the sun began to set, and a strong wind would tumble down the slopes of Mount Garn onto the fields below. The musty smell of red clay that stuck in the humid air all day was washed away with a cool, crisp breath from the sky above, feeling like all of the trees on Mount Garn were dancing in happiness that they had lived another day. We watched like spectators to a ballet. As I departed for the airport, we said our goodbyes, and I cherished every hug that night knowing the journey ahead of me was full of uncertainty, challenges, and changes. But at that moment, I did not want to leave, I was still lost in the hum of the crickets and surrounded by my friends with Mount Garn hugging us with her winds.

As I departed, I often thought, how could I be more comfortable and surer of my purpose more than ever before in my life? I do not know the answer, but I do know this: capital “I� Impact is a word beyond meaning; To Impact is to relate, to challenge, to cherish, to inspire, to create, to dismantle, to laugh, to cry, and, at the end of the day, to be in awe. To me, this is the work of Save More Kids.

Volunteer CornerWelcoming new Staff

SMK is happy to welcome two new staff members. Mikaela Linder, a junior at Suffolk University, has joined us as our Marketing Coordinator, and Bennetta Thomas, a public health professional in Detroit, is the new Program Coordinator for the PERIOD PROJECT. We are thrilled to have them join the SMK team!


Are you interested in doing inspiring volunteer work? SMK is seeking to expand our team by adding a Fundraising and Development Coordinator and an Accounting and Finance Manager. These roles are critical to expanding the organization’s operations to benefit more youth in Liberia. Please click the link below to apply today!

Volunteer Opportunities




the true story of Quanuquanei (Q) Karmue’s experience as an 8 year old boy escaping Liberia during its First Civil War in 1990. Read this memoir to Witness all what Q has witnessed: the terror and violence of the war and the hope and bravery of his loving mother, Neyor, who led her five children through rebel checkpoints and killing fields to reach Côte d’Ivoire from which they emigrated to the United States. This memoir shines light on the horrors of war; Q grew up to transform the pain of this trauma into a source of constant inspiration to create better opportunities for Liberia’s youth today as the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Save More Kids.


ate Massey is founder of Charm Communications, providing dynamic communications & fundraising solutions for nonprofits to engage their donor base and optimize their digital presence. Cate has extensive professional background in fundraising, digital marketing, graphic design, copywriting, and sales. She works with clients and organizations to refine their goals and create structured plans to develop their non-profits for long-term success. In an age of increasingly digital interaction, Cate specializes in providing solutions for clients to optimize their digital presence and create multi-faceted appeal to donors, corporate partners, and clients. Cate has been a tremendous asset to Save More Kids and we are so grateful to have her assistance and advice! Contact Cate Massey at Charm Communications to discuss all your digital strategy needs. 24



One of the easiest ways to support SMK is by making a purchase through our Impact Shop. SHOPSAVEMOREKIDS.ORG





MEN’S Muscle Tanktop



Buy From Our Impact Shop! 100% of proceeds from our online store go directly towards helping to fund our initiatives! Your support is crucial to the success of our projects!

DECEMBER 1ST 2020 SAVE MORE KIDS HAS PARTNERED WITH GIVINGTUESDAY, THE WORLD’S LARGEST GIVING MOVEMENT Each year in December, GivingTuesday hosts a day of giving, a day that encourages all people to do good. This global generosity movement unleashes the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. December 1, 2020, SMK invites you to participate in this global movement in partnership with GivingTuesday to complete our key initiatives in Liberia. Our Agricultural

Impact Initiative is well underway, all donations go directly to help SMK to provide sustainable food sources for our CCH children, staff, and the surrounding community. Please join our efforts to create impact and help create a better Liberia! To do so, click our link to find out how to participate in this global day of giving.




Thank You!

“ There is no crisis except for the crisis of creativity! No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and together we can change the world!”

- Dr. Myles Munroe

Neyor & Fungbeh Karmue

are parents to more than 50 children...

The Save More Kids story began as the result of a promise, a promise born of a mother who moved mountains to protect her children from a brutal civil war. Neyor Karmue made this promise at gunpoint in the killing fields in Liberia, that if she and her children survived, she would help other children who suffered the effects of war. Neyor, her son Quanuquanei “Q� Karmue and his siblings escaped the Liberian civil war in 1993 and emigrated to the United States, where they joined their father, Fungbeh. When the war was over, Fungbeh and Neyor fulfilled her promise by returning to their homeland of Liberia and adopting 44 children. Since then, the Karmue family has successfully operated the CCH Orphanage, turning broken lives into stories of triumph and success. Today, CCH has FIVE kids in college, FIVE graduating high school, and one receiving a SheCan full scholarship to an elite American university. Our Impact Projects are fully supported by a diverse and passionate network of donors, sponsors, educators, and change-makers from across the world. To join our network of SMK supporters, please visit our Donate Now page by clicking the button below to make a one-time contribution or set up a recurring donation.