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Two 14-year-old girls, one in the United States and one in Malawi, had their lives changed when they joined forces to fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa. This is the story of how a Michigan faith-based organization called Hope Endeavors leads significant humanitarian work from a home office.
As a part of the "Tech 4 Faith Story of the Month" contest, we invited faith-based organizations to tell us about the great work they are doing. We offered an UNOBOOK tablet, recertified by our friends at CDI, to the winning organization. Within 1,000 characters, organizations from across the United States visited our Success Stories page and told us their stories. That is how we found Darcy.
Since 2005 Hope Endeavors’ mission has been quite simple: to bring hope to those suffering from extreme poverty. Through the creation of hope-giving projects that serve the most vulnerable in Malawi, the organization connects U.S.-based individuals with meaningful volunteer opportunities. One of these projects is Hope Village, which provides care for orphan children with HIV in Malawi. The village is currently home to 30 children infected with HIV, who receive the proper care they need to survive and thrive, despite their illness.
On Darcy McLane’s first service trip to Malawi, she experienced something that would change her life forever: She met Isaac. On the day Darcy arrived, Isaac’s mother died of complications associated with AIDS. Isaac was four years old but he looked like he was two. Severe malnutrition had stunted Isaac’s growth. Shortly after she returned from her trip, Darcy learned that Isaac had died. Darcy returned to Malawi a year later to figure out how to help kids like Isaac. With the loss of their parents, these children were being raised by other children or elderly grandparents and were not getting the proper care that they needed. The children needed access to clean water, food, medications, and proper care, both physically and mentally. This need gave birth to the idea of Hope Village.
When 14-year-old Maddie thinks she has it tough, she thinks of Bethany. The two girls met at Hope Village Orphan Care Center in Malawi. Besides their age, the two girls have very little in common. Both of Bethany’s parents died of complications from AIDS. With three younger siblings to care for, Bethany dropped out of school. She spent her days collecting sticks in the hopes of selling them at a local market, so she could feed her siblings. Maddie is from a small town in Michigan. Prior to her trip to Malawi her biggest problems revolved around school, boys, and the mall. Deeply impacted by the time she spent with Bethany in Malawi, Maddie returned to Michigan with a new perspective on life. Now 17 years old Maddie still remembers Bethany, a reminder to be grateful for what she has. Hope Village was able to take in two of Bethany’s siblings infected with HIV. They are now able to get care they desperately need. This has allowed Bethany to return to school and given her a much brighter future.
From Hope Endeavors’ headquarters in Michigan, executive director Darcy McLane runs global operations and leads an army of volunteers and three on-the-ground staff members in Malawi. Darcy drives fundraising, organizes trips to Malawi, recruits U.S.-based volunteers, and supports them as they raise the funds to cover the cost of their trip. She also works with an on-the-ground team of three people in Malawi who run HOPE village, a rural health clinic. Sounds like a typical executive director? I forgot to mention that she has another part-time job and runs the entire organization from her home. She also does it without any U.S.-based paid staff. Not so typical anymore. Through her tenacious work she has inspired others to join her. She has been able to will this global NGO into fruition from her kitchen table.
In order to coordinate financial reporting between the U.S.-based NGO and Malawian NGO, Hope Endeavors needed help. A donation of Intuit’s QuickBooks via TechSoup moved Hope Endeavors’ accounting to a new level: “We are able to have our accountant in Malawi do the books and then send us the QuickBooks file,” said Darcy. By using the same financial reporting system, the two offices have been able to sync their financial reporting, despite being thousands of miles apart. Darcy explained “donors want to donate to a specific cause. They want to know that they are donating to a maize mill or a fishery or goat farm. QuickBooks has helped us manage our financial records, so we can report on those funds individually and accurately.”
Check out Hope Endeavors' story on our Local Impact Map, and find out how organizations like yours are using TechSoup donations to change the world faster!