€2993/4064 done -Thank you Kenya and the world (#hugSitawa update)

12:11:00 PM

I started #hugsitawa campaign a few short months ago. The concept was really simple; spend 6 months fundraising and creating awareness about mental health one hug at a time with amounts raised used to create a mental health information hub and help line. Several hugs, interviews and tweets later, #hugSitawa was on Tuesday evening at a Skype ceremony awarded a sum as a runner up at 1%'s Smart idea contest. This amount together with that raised through the sell of O collection merchandise and Mpesa donations will be used to create the skeleton of what will be Kenya's and eventually Africa's mental health resource centre (information and support hub). I know its ambitious, many people didnt contribute because they felt it was a mirage but over and over, I have said I believe in an Africa where people with mental health disorders have access to information and receive appropriate support, it took me 10 years to get here, I don't want anyone else to waste 10 years of their lives because of something as treatable and manageable as mental health disorders simply because there was no information.

As I go back to the drawing board to produce a product fit for the cash at hand, I would like to send a shout out to everyone who has made #hugSitawa complete phase 1 and will definitely have their name stuck on our wall of fame;
1.Sam Gichuru from the Nailab who listened to my dream of creating a mental health resource centre and help line during social media day earlier in the year at The Nailab and asked me to explore 1% for crowd funding.
2. FMO and 1% for seeing the sexy many by pass in mental health and giving me my first seed money for my mental health project https://onepercentclub.com/en/#!/news/fmo-contest-and-the-winner-is . This is huge for me as it is the first time someone didn't tell me how amazing my life story was, how inspiring and strong I am, how they admire my passion for Africa and persons with mental health disorders, that I will touch lives and go far but actually did something tangible about it.
3. Aaron and Kaitlin from Spark International for the accelerator and believing in my passion for mental health which unlike other projects didn't have on the spot tangible impact measurement.
4. TV and Radio stations that hosted me - Special S/O to AM Live NTV and the lovely Kobi Kihara for hosting me when the idea was only a few days old. To my sister Adelle for having me on her radio show and asking almost the entire Radio Africa crew to listen to my dream and give me a hug, Ghana's Y FM and Sonny for the hook up
5. Newspapers and blogs from Kenya and afar that dedicated a post to hugsitawa, I am humbled - Ghafla, The star, VibeWeekly, Gloria Mangi
6. Boniface Mwangi for the amazing camera that i use to capture the hugs though I forget it half the time when I meet strangers who want to hug...you gave hugSitawa its first inventory item and I am sure I will capture loads of amazing positive African mental health narratives.
7. Kenyan Celebs who listened to my dream, gave me a hug and let me capture it - JULIANI, Jua Cali, Olwenya Maina,
8. Events that have hosted me and the campaign - Soul to Soul, Fatuma's voice
9. Everyone who Mpesa'd Luke O, Barasa Cheloti @cheloti Silvian Gitau @shikohtwit Kinyanjui Kombani @kkombani Patrick Okelo @pwayodi Naisula Lesuuda @Lesuuda Gave cash, contributed online and/or bought my O collection merchandise - Special S/O to @kalpa and Nimu my journal ambassadors and Richard Dougterny for the earrings boost.
10. Hug Sitawa ambassadors;Tweeps who changed their handles to #hugSitawa
11. Everyone who shared my blog post, RT'ed, mentioned it or simply emailed me to know how I am doing and how it is going.
For the next three months, I will fine tune an awareness creation/help line product I have been working on, run a pilot or two and have a launch or something to let y'all know what's happening. Fundraising still continues but I will also be thinking about sustainability and impact with what i have at hand more than anything. I am looking for expertise and ideas and hope to host a focus group real soon. Pray you will hug me by attending. You can catch up with hugsitawa by subscribing to http://hugsitawa.blogspot.com
PS: Add your name at the comment session if i forgot you.

Sending love and light.

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