Welcome to Heart of the Village, Inc.
HOTV mission: The Heart of the Village, Inc. mission is to raise awareness in the United States about diseases of poverty and provide direct assistance to survivors with emphasis on programs that sustain wellness, education and job opportunities.
Shortly before the Browne family left on their first trip to Kenya, Tomi Browne sent out a simple email to friends and family detailing their plan to bring gifts, books, computer supplies, and medicine to Fr. D’Agostino’s Nyumbani Children’s Home. People were given the opportunity to participate in whatever way they chose. That email was forwarded to others, and then others. The response was spectacular. Money and gifts began to pour in from all over the U.S. Individuals and businesses took on specific projects: one organized a costume jewelry drive; several others collected medicine; another contributed essential hardware and software for a new computer lab. The total value of donations for that initial trip was more than $50,000!
Following their return, friends convinced Tomi to go the next step, incorporate HOTV and use that momentum to continue the work that initial email had begun. It is amazing how many people want to participate once they realize how much can be accomplished. Heart of the Village, Inc. now supports a three-pronged effort to better than lives of those affect by diseases of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.
Heart of the Village, Inc. wellness programs are initially focusing on hearing care issues resulting from diseases of poverty, which are largely overlooked by other organizations. Heart of the Village, Inc. is helping to sponsor cochlear implant surgery and follow-up services for an HIV-positive Kenyan orphan deafened two years ago from meningitis. The surgery, which took place in January 2007 in Philadelphia, provided a state-of-the-art prosthetic device that will enable young “Mungai” to participate fully in the hearing world. Under the direction of HOTV Board Member Ken Henry, Ph.D., another project under development involves identifying HIV+ children with chronic middle ear disease who may need surgery. Untreated chronic middle ear disease can easily lead to more severe conditions including meningitis, encephaliatis and other infections of the brain, particularly in immune-compromised children.
Education and Jobs:
Providing laptop computers, networking, and educational software to the computer learning center in the Nyumbani Children’s Home located near Nairobi Kenya is the first step Heart of the Village, Inc. has taken to broaden the educational opportunities of the children of poverty-stricken sub-Saharan Africa. The center now has 20 computers and a full time administrator. HIV+ students in Nyumbani who may not have opportunities to do traditional jobs in Kenya will be able to further their education and learn job skills using the latest computer technology.
Other projects under development include providing special auditory FM equipment and support for a class of hearing impaired students in Nairobi.
Heart of the Village, Inc. programs are designed to be a catalyst for creation of new wellness and education programs that can become self-sustaining. The ICareIWear jewelry line and other donations help Heart of the Village, Inc. to finance health and education programs in Kenya and elsewhere. In addition, the handmade and handpainted beads used in the ICareIWear jewelry line provide jobs for local single mothers.