Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011 End of Year Update!

First of all, Thank You to everyone who participated, hosted or donated to a Hoops of Hope event in 2011. Because of you, children around the world now have hope for a future. Several exciting things happened in 2011 and we've updated them below:

Construction on a teacher house
1. Construction on the much needed teachers houses at the High School have started. In 2010, Hoops of Hope participants raised $119K to help build 4 teacher houses. These houses are expected to open in mid 2012 and will house 14 teachers at the school. Right now, one of the classrooms in being used for teacher houses as well as part of a dormitory.

Students Learning
2. This year, we were able to fully fund, build and deliver a solar computer lab to the school in Twachiyanda. This lab is the only one of its kind in Zambia. It is fully solar powered and contains 22 classmate PCs, 2 teacher PCs, a projector and an e-granary box which houses more than 30,000 reference volumes! We were able to visit the computer lab in May 2011 and were able to share the excitement with students as they learned on a computer for the first time. Intel sent a team to help install the computers and teach all the students. Check the blog from September for stories on how the computers are being used and benefiting the entire community.
Intel Teachers
Computer Lab

Water from the Borehole at the School
3. At the school, we were also able to fund a solar water system that included not only a deep borehole, but solar power to pump the water up a hill to a 60,000 liter holding tank. The water then runs from the tank to... flushing toilets and showers for the students! Imagine this - four years ago, there was no school in a 70 mile region, and now, it is one of the most premier schools in all of Zambia complete with a computer lab, dormitories and flushing toilets and showers! A student asked us when we were there what it would be like to take a shower :)

Austin at the new Borehole
4. In the community, we were able to fund the construction of two deep boreholes as a result of a church doing Hoops of Hope in Ohio. The wells will provide fresh water for 40 villages.

The Community

5. We were able to help build a dormitory for 30 boys at the Huruma Children's Home in Kenya. Right now, there are 150 children sleeping in a 2000 sq. foot house. The dorm is currently under construction and will open in 2012.

Children Eating in Malawi
6. Finally, were were able to fund the feeding of 550 children in Malawi for the entire year of 2012! For $40 a year, a child can eat a nutritious meal once a day which will sustain their growth needs. Many children in the region where we are working [Mtema], used to eat only a few times a week. Now, because of your help, 550 will eat everyday for the entire year. What a blessing.

Fortified Meal for Children in Malawi

It's been an amazing year and we are so thankful to you for your partnership. Once again, 100% of our administrative costs were covered in 2011 which means that every penny you raised went directly to these projects. And, great news, we're funded for 2012! So, if you're thinking about doing a Hoops of Hope event in 2012, 100% of everything you raise will go directly to help children. No overhead will be taken out of what you raise.  Watch for our 2012 projects released next week!

Blessings and Merry Christmas to you,
Hoops of Hope Team

Friday, September 16, 2011

Computer Lab Update

Here are a few quotes from students and teachers at the Johnathan Sim School

"With the coming of computers, doing assignments has become much easy as we can research using the computers, as opposed to what used to happen in the past where we could go to the school leavers for help. We are privileged to have this technology”
Monde Grade 12

“Life has been made easy because if I don’t understand I can easily browse through the e-Granary and get more understanding of the topic”
- Mwiinga Grade 10

“Since we do not have a library, I depended on the notes given in class but with the coming of the computers, home works, assignments, projects are easy to do now. Thanks to Hoops of Hope”.- Kasonde Grade 12

“Standard of learning has improved. I have improved Skills like typing and hence even as I Complete my School it will be easy for me to get a job since computer literacy is one of the requirements”- Malasha Grade 12

“My performance has improved due to these computers. The educational material on these computers supplements to classroom learning activities”
- Mainza Grade 12

“It’s a great thing which has happened to this community. We are thankful to the Hoops of Hope, Intel group and World Vision for this wonderful gesture. Our children are now part of the ICT global community. Since its inception, pupils have acquired computer basic skills which have made both teaching and learning much easy. As teachers, the computers have helped us in teaching, strategic planning, assessments, facilitation and monitoring and evaluation of various school projects. “
Simwanza (Teacher)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Project in Malawi

Our next project takes us across the border from Zambia into the beautiful country of Malawi. We'll be working in a small village called Mtema, which is about 20 miles northeast of the capital city of Lilongwe. The 22,000 people who live in Mtema are primarily subsistence farmers growing maize (corn).

As a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there are at least 750 orphans and vulnerable children in the community. Our local partner on this project, Somebody Cares, has identified at least 8 child-headed households in the main village in Mtema. Most of the orphan children are cared for by grandmothers.

Literacy is very low and there is only one primary school located about 3 miles from the main village. The majority of the girls in this community get married between the ages of 11 and 15. Very few girls ever get the chance to go to school.

Our goal is to help anyway we can. In working with our on-ground partner, Somebody Cares, we will be raising funds from our Hoops of Hope events to do the following:

1. Feed the 750 orphan children one nutritious meal every day for the next year. For every $40 you raise at your Hoops of Hope event, you'll feed one child for a year!

2. Build a community center to be used for food storage, preparation, education, etc. The cost of the community center is $30,000.

3. Dig 4 boreholes to provide fresh water for the community. Access to safe drinking water is a huge challenge for Mtema. In the primary village people have NO access to safe drinking water. They depend on the river water for drinking. This is the same river that animals use, and that is used to bathe, wash themselves and their clothes. As a result, the people of Mtema suffer from a number of waterborne diseases. Total cost is $10,000 per deep borehole.

As always, EVERY PENNY you raise from your Hoops of Hope event will go to these projects. We have not and will not take money from your event for Hoops of Hope overhead. We appreciate your partnership as we strive to make a difference for these children.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

IESC Zambia: Week One

“Education is the key to success, education is the key to success,” chanted Hazel, the soft spoken but very determined 12th-grade head student during a student performance at the inauguration of the computer lab at Jonathan Sim-Chikanta High School.

The chant made us reflect on what lay ahead of us after a three-day journey that took us from the US and Singapore to this remote part of southern Zambia. We, the team of Intel volunteers consisting of John Parks (SSG), MJ Helgerson (SMG), Kandi Collier (TMG), Tim Lohman (FES), and Bernd Nordhausen (SMG) were at the start of a two-week assignment of the Intel Education Service Corps program to work with World Vision, Zambia to set up a new computer lab with Intel-powered classmate PCs and to train teachers and students.

Jonathan Sim-Chikanta High School is located in a remote area of the Kalomo District in southern Zambia. About 2 hours by car from the nearest town of Choma over mainly unpaved dusty roads, cut off at times during the rainy season, this high school was funded through the amazing efforts of Austin Gutwein, the son of Intel employee Dan Gutwein (ECG). Austin founded Hoops of Hope, a US-based fund raising organization, at the tender age of 9 in 2004. Over the years, the efforts of this teenager have raised over 2.5 million dollars which have been used to fund, among other efforts, this school in Zambia and the new computer lab.

Building a computer lab at this only high school within a 50-mile radius presented unique challenges: rudimentary buildings, no mobile phone coverage, and, most critical, no access to electricity. Yet, through the ingenuity of World Vision Zambia and the fund-raising efforts of Hoops of Hope, we were now watching Austin cut the ribbon of the brightly orange painted former shipping container that now holds part of the key to success for the students of Jonathan Sim-Chikanta High School.

Austin’s father had approached Bernd a year ago to help design a fully solar-powered computer lab. With solar power, every watt of energy consumption saved results in hundreds of dollars in savings in solar equipment cost. Thus, we chose every piece of equipment in this lab carefully to consume the least amount of energy while providing maximum educational benefits.

Starting with the Intel-powered classmate PCs and the ULV (ultra low voltage) teacher laptops, we included a pico-projector and wireless access points that can run on the 12 volt DC (direct current) power that solar deployments produce. We installed energy efficient DC ceiling fans to provide cooling during the hot summer days, and energy saving lights to offer an opportunity to use the lab at night.

As there is no mobile phone coverage, Internet connection was not feasible (at least not for the moment), so we included the eGranary, an off-line digital library containing over 30,000 documents including Wikipedia and the Khan Academy educational videos.

These provide the students the look and feel of the internet without actual internet connectivity. We also were able to include the localized version of skoool (, to provide science and math content catered specifically towards the Zambian curriculum.

After the inauguration, our trainers MJ and Kandi started to train students and teachers, while Tim and I concentrated on configuring the PCs, and training the administrators to sustain the computer lab after we leave. JP (John Parks) held informal lessons outside of the lab and took the head teacher, Luke, under his wings to train him away from the watchful eyes of the students.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Great Article from Vermont!

Dozens Of Students Shoot Hoops Of Hope

Basketball Event Raises Money For African Orphans With HIV/AIDS

POSTED: 12:49 pm EDT April 2, 2011
UPDATED: 4:33 pm EDT April 2, 2011

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WILLISTON, Vt. -- Close to 60 middle and high school students from across the Champlain Valley shot thousands of free throws to support Hoops Of Hope, a non-profit organization that helps orphans in Africa dealing with HIV/AIDS.
Eighth grader Sammi Harvey wasn't just shooting to hone her skills, she was excited to give back to charity.
"It means a lot that I can do what I love to do -- play basketball and help out for this foundation," Harvey said.
The shooting session took place at the Allen Brook School in Williston and Milton Elementary School. Hoops Of Hope was started by a 10-year-old, Austin Gutwein from Arizona in 2004. Athletes raise donations from family members and neighbors and then play basketball to support the needs of children throughout Africa.
"Part of the motto is do something bigger than yourself," organizer Joel Desautels said. "And we can all give a little bit back."
From years past, the money has gone to building everything from a high school to medical labs in Africa.
"I've always wanted to go and do missionary work, but I know that I'm too young and I can't do that. So just this way i'm also doing that and being a part of it," Rice Memorial freshman Gemma Cirignanno said.
If you would like to support this cause, you can go to or make a donation through
Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the retailer survey. Here are some of the highlights:

92% of shoppers are influenced to shop in a store that is involved in charitable giving.

Only 22% of people under 35 know if their favorite store is involved in charitable giving.

56% of respondents will purchase a lesser quality good if it is involved in charitable giving.

78% of respondents are aware of TOMS Shoes. 4 years ago, TOMS did not exist yet they were recently rated as the #6 most innovative retail company per Fast Company.

34% of respondents had purchased a pair of TOMS Shoes. Of these 34%, 56% had purchased two or more pairs.

There is a different way to reach our generation than there is to reach the generation of our parents. We want to be associated with companies doing good.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Swimming for Clean Water

Check out this recent video of Erick Skaff who swam 10 miles to represent and raise money for clean water projects. Erick said he came up with the idea after reading "Take Your Best Shot". We're proud of you Erick! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.