Where it all began…
When Daphne Pariser went to Kenya with her father at ten years old, she could never have expected that the trip would eventually lead to her founding her own non-profit. But almost fifteen years later, Humans for Education was born.
When Daphne reflects on the inequality in healthcare and education she witnessed in Kenya during that first trip, she said “It was shocking. There was nothing like it that I had ever experienced before.” She remembers specifically children her own age on the side of the road, begging for food, and how she struggled to understand the massive inequality.
The tour guide on her trip noticed the ten-year-old’s distress. They sat together, and after Daphne expressed the sadness she felt when she saw the children, John offered a perspective that would change her life forever:
“He told me that, as a ten-year-old girl, I could change it. He told me that because I was an American, I had resources that many other people didn’t have access to and because of that, I could use those to my advantage to help people in poverty.”
This exchange with her tour guide remained in the back of her mind as Daphne grew up. Throughout the years following her trip to Kenya, Daphne began researching and watching different nonprofits and the way that they worked to help those in need. She closely examined how they operated and what it took to create your own. And fifteen years later, the conversation became the inspiration for her idea of founding Humans for Education, a nonprofit dedicated to working with schools, their teachers, and students to improve education and health.
“It is incredibly difficult to start your own nonprofit because I didn’t really want to create something that just put a mask over it (the issue). I really wanted to create something that was sustainable. The way we found out to achieve this was using microfinance. This way we don’t actually ask for any of the money back, we donate all of it.”
She explained that it took about twelve years to pick microfinance as the best option. It took years of watching other businesses and how they operated and experimented with their funding. Although what really sealed the deal was when Daphne decided to return to Kenya. She met with some teachers that she had previously been in contact with, and she ran her idea by them. She explained that her biggest goal was sustainability, and they told her that microfinancing was the best strategy.
“They told me that the donations could be used to cover medical expenses or maintain some of the program classes that were already in place. We decided that was a brilliant idea, and obviously it had worked in Kenya because they were the ones who implemented it.”
This past February, Daphne and her team closed the deficit at one of the schools that they support.
As Daphne explained, “this means that these people are no longer living below their means. They are making exactly enough money to support all of their school programs this year.”
Given that they already closed the deficit at the beginning of the year, the school has an additional six months to continue to support and improve their education programs with extra funds coming in.
Along with closing the school’s deficit, Humans for Education spent the last year implementing clean water and hand washing programs. Since its initial launch, the program has successfully prevented any new cases typhoid, malaria, and dysentery at the school. Higher standards of sanitation and safe drinking water have additionally improved the school’s enrollment and attendance.
When asked if the journey to where Human for Education is today had been stressful, Daphne said: “I would say that it has been the driving force of my motivation and determination. I feel like my life purpose is to help others to have a better life. It’s worth every bad day and more.”
But Daphne isn’t anywhere close to slowing down. She is currently working full time as a PhD student in Rochester, New York, researching biology. Originally interested in creating vaccines in order to benefit the health of others, Daphne has aided in incredible research on HIV and other diseases.
How we were able to help
With all of the work that Daphne is doing, it can be tough to continuously raise funds. That’s where Givebutter got to help out.
Humans for Education’s microfinance model is extremely compatible with Givebutter's low and transparent fee structure, which allows for almost 100% of donated funds to go towards their projects, where every dollar counts.
When asked about Givebutter’s role in the growth of her nonprofit, she expressed that:
“Givebutter was the catalyst to everything. I love Givebutter because they give me a beautiful way to show donors what we were doing and a way to interact with each other in a really simple, easy to understand format. And the team is there literally every step of the way, so if I ever need help I can always reach out. Without Givebutter, we wouldn’t have raised the money that we raised.”
How you can help, too
Daphne left us with some inspiring advice for those who want to give back and get involved in nonprofit work:
“If you really want to make a difference, if you really want to help people, you don’t have to start your own non-profit. If you have an awesome idea that doesn’t already exist, or maybe does already exist and you can help that cause, then go for it. But if you want to help people, then all you have to do is research a few non-profits or ask some of your older friends who have already donated and make a difference that way. We need donors, we really need supporters, and we want people to be a part of the movement. Every non-profit feels that way.”
You can donate to Humans for Education or start a fundraiser on their behalf by visiting them at givebutter.com/humansforeducation