Dennis Has Become Remarkable as a Nurse And as a Man


It’s time to brag about this young man just a bit more. When we first meet Dennis he was a VERY sick little boy suffering from the same HIV/AIDS that took his father. We were able to insure that he was on a reliable, consistent medication regimen. While this was positive, it had a down side. While in high school, there were times Dennis was made so tired by the meds that he would wake late for school. We got him a bike to make sure that he would be at his beloved school despite the fatigue. He finished high school and then asked to go to nursing school. Thanks to his sponsor, this became possible.

He was doing very well in nursing school. But after a change in his HIV meds, he became very ill and was hospitalized. This caused him to miss taking his boards. When we arrived two summers ago, he asked to speak to us, telling us over and over that he was so sorry to have let us down by being unable to take the boards. He added that he’d be allowed to return in six months to sit for them. We assured him we felt nothing but pride in him. His illness was of course beyond his control. Further, we believed in him, knowing that he would pass his boards. And pass them he did. It does not get better than this.

Oh, and notice that when he delivers babies he wears a birthday hat!


Thanks to Aaron We’re Getting Terrific Support From Kentucky

We need to offer great thanks to Jockey Aaron Gryder (co-founder of The Giving Circle), to Kentucky Downs, and to this year’s Triple Crown winning Jockey, Mike Smith. The Giving Circle is included as a beneficiary from a terrific fund raising event next week. The wonderful part of this news is that a major share of the proceeds will be given to The Giving Circle.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will make his first post-Derby trip to Kentucky Downs Thursday, Sept. 6. While he won’t be riding, he will be raising money for three charities: Old Friends equine retirement facility, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and The Giving Circle. They are billing us as an all-volunteer non-profit organization founded in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They also describe us as seeking to connect communities in need with the resources to help.

From 1 -3pm, Smith will sign limited edition 18×24-inch Coady Photography prints of Justify’s Kentucky Derby victory for a suggested $10 donation. The autograph session, from which the proceeds will be split among the three charities, will take place near the Finish Line Pavilion. Folks will have the opportunity to hang out with a racing icon and raise money for great causes!  They should then stay and watch the $250K Old Friends Stakes, sponsored by Red Brand Fence.

We Really Need You Now

So many of you have been so kind. BUT if you’ve waiting for the best first time to donate to The Giving Circle, NOW is the TIME!

As always, we are 100% volunteer and therefore offer a great return – $.90 of every dollar received is spent on our programs. You will be contributing to an absolutely sound and responsible organization.

The reason that the TIME is NOW is because of a real emergency. You’ve certainly read in our posts about our urgent new demand for resources. We need $75,000 to build a residence to expand KoiKoi House, our current orphanage in Uganda.  That nation’s government is shutting down orphanages, putting us in a race to fund and erect Robin’s Nest.  Robin’s Nest will house fifty children, stand as a boarding house (exempting it from the “orphanage” classification), and permit our kids now in KoiKoi House to stay together. As a bonus, Robin’s Nest is designed to accommodate many deaf and disabled children. Yet, that $75,000 is a daunting figure.


We have received the GREATEST NEWS: a great friend and brother just put up a challenge to help us build Robin’s Nest. His challenge is for us to raise $40,000, which he’ll match dollar for dollar. If you could help us save our children from having to split them up, PLEASE click here and donate what you can. EVERY dollar helps!!!!   The $40,000 dollar for dollar match could net enough to do the job in a hurry.

Oh, and PLEASE share this on your pages- help us help many deaf and disabled children.

From Our TGC Outreach Dinner Team: Thanks and Good Bye, CBA Squad

 Tonight we said good bye to our CBA crew! They have helped us serve up The Giving Circle Street outreach dinner all summer. We thank them for all their help and are going to miss them. Work hard and good luck this year at school! The stories they should have to share with their friends….. priceless! Thanks to their moms too for cooking, providing supplies, and hauling them back and forth. And we look forward to seeing you all next summer.


New Math and English Scholarships

We’re happy and grateful to Nancy Rowe and Kathy Rowe for our 2 NEW Scholarships.

From Nancy, a PhD professor of Math in Texas, a new Math Scholarship for EACH of our Busoga and Kagoma Gate Giving Circle Schools.

From Kathy, a PhD English Professor, a Scholarship in English.

Each Scholarship pays for the 1st year in the child’s high school. Thanks so much to you both. These and all our Scholarships mean a great deal to the children and their families.

Help us build a new home for the Koi Koi Kids!

Our Koi Koi Kids need you now more than ever! We just learned that the Koi Koi House is scheduled to be shut down by the government, not for safety or health reasons, but sadly for political reasons. We need to raise just $75,000 to build a big new home for our kids (and even more disabled and deaf orphans) so they won’t be separated and placed in uncertain and unsafe living conditions.  

In 2009, the Giving Circle Africa started an orphanage called the Koi Koi House. We started with our first 11, that became 12, and now 20 children — all are doing so well and have overcome many of the traumas they faced over their short lifetimes.  They are happy, thriving and live in a safe and loving environment and we must ensure that continues. We cannot and will not allow these children to be traumatized once again.

Our fear and challenge is that we must scramble to find safe places for the children until we raise the funds.   This will not be easy, and one again they will be separated so we need to start building RIGHT NOW!

We need your help to once again save our Koi Koi kids and the many other children for generations to come, who will call the Koi Koi House….home.

We already have the land! The new and expanded Koi Koi House will be built on land at our Busoga School which will enable us to use it as a boarding house, saving our growing Koi Koi Kids family and making a home for the deaf and disabled children that attend the school  This will be a safe and loving boarding house that will provide so many children a home.

The new Koi Koi House will overlook Lake Victoria and have a full time live-in nurse, larger separate boarding rooms that are all safe, clean and healthy for our sons and daughters.  It will be a sanctuary to any child that needs to be safe, healthy, happy and loved.

We need $75,000 and we need it now!  This new expanded Koi Koi House can house as many as 50 children.  That’s only $1,500 per child to give them a better life and the love and safety they deserve.  We can and must do this, too may children are depending on us.  Give what you can, tell a friend and help us change the world. Every donors name will appear on the wall of love to thank you all and let the children know they are loved around the world.

The Robin’s Nest Koi Koi House


The new Robin’s Nest will have a full time live in nurse and 2 large boarding rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. All safe, clean, and healthy rooms for our sons and daughters.


This new, much larger home, will be built at the top of our Busoga School compound property and will have a full view of Lake Victoria.   It will be forever home to any child that needs to be safe, healthy, happy and loved.

We need $75,000.  We need many people doing just what they can which can and will change the world. We can and must do this.

Every donor name will appear on the wall of love to thank you all.

If you prefer to not use PayPal and want to send a check, please send to the below and write in the memo “Help the Koi Kids” to:
The Giving Circle
P.O. Box 3162 Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


  • Party With A Purpose
Purpose: to support The Midwife Project
October 13, 2018
Details to follow.
(Anyone wishing to rsvp before the evite goes out, 
just email Hope

Jonah needs a college sponsor!

Hello friends!  Mwayi Jonah is a very hard working boy!  His mum has put him through school by herself. His mom is not very healthy and has had medical issues!  Jonah has succeeded in high school and has been accepted at Ernest Cook Ultrasound Research and Education Institute (ECUREI) for a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering!  This is an amazing accomplishment!  We would like to get him started as soon as we can for the 1st semester!

The college fees are for 8 semesters (2 semesters per year) at $952/semester which includes all supplies, books, tuition, functional fees, etc.

We are so proud of Jonah!


Shannon Fitzpatrick’s Blog

How I Came to Find Myself Spending a Summer in Africa by Shannon Fitzpatrick For the past couple of years, I’ve had the desire to choose one thing I feel passionate about, and focus solely on this one thing. Growing up, I was constantly involved in many things at once- juggling my time between various sports, clubs, and activities, and was busy with many practices, meetings, and classes a day. I definitely thrive on being busy and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I think that being involved with many activities as a child allowed me to test the waters in many different areas and find out what it was that I wanted to devote my time to, and also discover what things I didn’t care all that much about.  As I get older, I still possess a desire to always be moving and doing things, but my perspective on how I occupy my time has changed over the past couple of years. After having had the chance to be involved in a bunch of things at once for most of my life, I have more recently come to desire devoting myself to doing less things at one time, allowing myself to spend more time focusing on just a few things that I feel genuinely passionate about. This shift in mindset can explain why I find myself writing to you from Uganda, Africa, where I am staying with a beautiful host family for the summer. I’ve decided that I want to devote all of my time this summer to serving others through The Giving Circle Africa, a non-profit, volunteer-based organisation which dedicates itself to bringing positive changes to the lives of children and adults in Africa through supporting education, child support, health clinics and many other incredible things. I first learned about The Giving Circle three years ago, when I had the great fortune of meeting Mark Bertrand, founder of The Giving Circle, when I attended a Teen Human Rights Symposium in upstate New York. The symposium was aimed at helping high school students understand how to be global citizens by helping them to learn about some of the world’s greatest problems, encouraging students to consider solutions, and possibly most importantly, allowing for lots of student interaction and input on how best to overcome issues and contribute to bringing positive change. For more information on this incredible annual symposium, please check out  Anyways, when I met Mark and found out about The Giving Circle and its work, I was incredibly inspired and had kept my knowledge of its existence in the back of my head like a planted seed that was germinating some ideas on how to become involved. Fast forward a couple of years and I found my self at the George Washington University as a student of international affairs and global public health. I was surrounded by some new friends looking to get involved with a service project for our economics class. So, we held a small fundraiser that we called Baking the World a Better Place, in which we baked a bunch of cookies from the communal kitchen in the basement of our dorm and sold them to people in need of a cookie fix. We soon discovered that college students love cookies, especially on Friday and Saturday nights after very late nights of “studying”. We went on to also hold a couple of fundraising events at restaurants around campus. During the following summer, I met with Mark again to give him the funds we had raised. I wasn’t exactly sure how what we raised compared to other donations or even how much our contributions would help, but we hoped it could be of assistance in some way.  When I met with him, it was clear how incredibly appreciative he was of our work and in the way he thanked me, I could tell that every penny really is important and does go to good use. I wasn’t just sending some money in the mail to a mysterious organisation and receiving an automated ‘thank you’ email. I was handing the funds raised to Mark, and in return received his sincere gratitude and a hug.  This sincerity left me wanting to become more involved. Fast forward one more
year, which brings us up to a few months ago. I decided that helping The Giving Circle was what I wanted to dedicate myself to without the distraction of a million other things that I keep myself busy with at home. Luckily, each summer, a team from The Giving Circle travels to Uganda for two weeks to witness the organisation’s incredible work first hand and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this. The two weeks being here with the team was such an amazing experience. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet so many inspiring and selfless people, and I am already looking forward to catching up with many of them once I get back to the US. While I was planning my summer plans for Uganda, I knew that two weeks wouldn’t quite be long enough for me to do what I hoped to do. In my mind, there was no better way to fully understand the needs of the people in Uganda than to immerse myself in their daily life.  In order to understand the workings of the organisation and how I could best help during my time this summer and also in the future, I decided that I wanted to spend my whole summer here (just about two months). I knew that two months would provide me with a true understanding of what life here is really like in a way that two weeks couldn’t quite provide me with. I am beyond grateful to have been welcomed into the home of my host parents Moses and Cecilia, and have now been living as their temporary daughter for the past few weeks, alongside their beautiful daughters. My days consist of waking up to go for a morning run, heading into Busoga Jr. Primary School in the mornings to teach P5, P6, and P7 classes, working at the Kagoma Gate health clinic, hanging out with my loving host family, taking boda bodas (motor bikes) into Jinja Town every now and again, meeting some amazing local friends, and just soaking up the Ugandan life. While I’ve only been in Uganda for a month now, I truly feel as if I’ve established another life away from home here. I never could’ve imagined falling in love with a community and its people in such a short amount of time. There is not a doubt in my mind that the connections I have made here will keep me coming back here for years and years to come. Prior to arriving in Uganda, exact plans of what I would be doing here were not exactly set in stone. I had the goal of committing myself fully to two months of serving others in a community very different from my own, but apart from that, I wasn’t positive of what to expect. I was really given some freedom in deciding how I would spend my days. Since my arrival, I have seen how teachers teach, how students learn, how nurses care, and how the staff works to overcome everyday challenges. I’ve gotten to see some beautiful things about daily life that aren’t as evident with a shorter stay, and also have come to understand some leading problems and concerns that will require time, attention, and love in the future. Seeing these challenges is something that I’m very grateful to have the chance to understand. Without understanding where progress is needed, it’s nearly impossible to bring change. After a bit of time, I had a much better vision of where work is really needed and was able to develop a better plan for how I wanted to devote myself this summer and in the future. I have been able to meet with many locals here and develop an exciting project to take on for the remainder of my time in Uganda and that will carry on for years to come. This is something that I have taken lots of time to think about, plan, and develop with the great support of The Giving Circle Team, and I am very confident in the positivity  it has to bring to the community here. I was able to take something that I personally feel incredibly passionate about, and plan on how to introduce my passion to the amazing people here in Uganda. They say that speaking your goals out loud has been shown to increase the likelihood that they happen. So, I’m hoping that if I type my goals and put them out into the universe on this blog, that they’re almost guaranteed to come true- at least that’s how my thought process works and that’s what I’m crossing my fingers for. So, stay tuned for my next blog post to find out more about our exciting new project and the goals we hope to achieve with its development.  If you’ve stuck around reading my blog post all the way to this point, you rock! I hope that in sharing my personal journey to
becoming a part of The Giving Circle family, others may also consider getting involved as well. As Mark says “The Giving Circle is like the mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in for good.” So, thank you for reading and I look forward to sharing more about what I do here in the very near future.

Ethiopia Responds Well To Homelessness


The New Prime Minister of Ethiopia has ordered the cleanup of dirt and the homeless from the streets. He decided the best way to do this was through action based on loving kindness. Yes, he believes it is proper to view the problem of homelessness through a filter shaped by love and understanding.

Homelessness is a complex issue; there is no simple answer. Mental illness, for which nobody volunteers, is a major contributing factor. Another is the abuse of drugs and alcohol, which is certainly also found among the non-homeless. Not to be too blunt, but it’s true that some of the homeless can simply be pains in the ass; but then that can be said of many of us who have homes. It is crucial to remember that even the homeless are all human, each of them someone’s child, quite possibly someone’s brother or sister, and conceivably someone’s spouse.

Let’s be clear. If Ethiopia can do this, so can we.


This made me cry, the New Prime Minister of Ethiopia ordered the clean up of the streets from dirt and homeless , look how it is done, love you Abiy Ahmed we waited for 4o years

Posted by Nadia Al-Khulaidi on Tuesday, August 7, 2018