The Friends Project is a grassroots effort created by Honeoye Falls, N.Y., resident Kris Dreessen that helps people in developing communities complete projects they believe will make long-lasting and tangible differences in their lives.
Exciting news! We are now raising contributions to provide a scholarship to a Masaai young man to become a safari guide in Kenya. We are now working also with elementary students in Zambia.
In 2014, we raised $5,300 to help families in Las Minitas, Nicaragua, open a preschool for their children. I built it beside them and we all celebrated the success — and sharing the belief that “everyday” people can have tremendous impact, especially when working together.
We use our small grants for initiatives that will ripple out over a lifetime and generations: education, skills for jobs and communication, self-sufficiency and economic sustainability.
In the States, $50 will get you dinner for two. In many places, like Las Minitas, $50 is more than the cost of a full year of high school ($35). We are dedicated to empowering people to follow through on their good ideas, and sharing the story.
Our first project was in Nueva Esperanza, a remote Amazon community in Peru that struggles with malaria, sanitation and healthcare. With just $300, we installed screens on houses to protect families from malaria-carrying mosquitoes, started a safe drinking-water program, and provided materials to build the village’s first latrine.
Since then, we have provided resources to help community members in other areas develop sustainable and eco-friendly businesses, and provide opportunity through specialized training and scholarships, and education.
We have completed successful projects in: Peru, Nicaragua and Zambia.
Last fall, we successfully raised $2,200 to provide a young Masai man, Julius Sarawua, a full scholarship to the Koiyaki Guiding School in Kenya so he can obtain his dream of being a safari guide. He will assist his family, his village and help conservation efforts while doing so .
As the founder and a photojournalist, I take you with me on the journey, with photos and my blog: