Sometime late Wednesday night, Ben Hardwick, Penn State student and one of the co-founders of the Longonot Education Initiative, posted a story on Reddit about Omari, a young man who bravely defended 35 children at the orphanage his mother runs in Kenya. This was the fourth recent attack and resulted in Omari being hacked in the face with a machete.
Ben, under username TheLake, used Reddit to share the story and suggested working to raise $2,000 to reinforce the security of the complex, to include building a concrete wall and adding barbed wire to help keep the children and staff of the Faraja orphanage safe.
Little did he know, the Reddit community would respond with the kind of enthusiasm and generosity the world could use a little more of these days. The Longonot Education Intiative was originally hoping for some upvotes and whatever donations would come in, but within hours, the story hit the front page. At one point, donations were approximately 10 per minute. The total quickly climbed up to $4,000, $5,000 $7,000, $16,000, until it reached totals as high as $50,000, $73,000 and is now over $80,000. Weebly, the host of the Longonot Education Initiative’s website added $10,000 to the total, along with a free 2 year upgrade to Weebly Pro.
As of now, the Longonot Education Initiative is already enhancing security at the orphanage. TheLake posted an update detailing future plans for the generous donations to include: “the food, supplies and wages of the guards. Apparently during the first or second invasion of the home the thugs took a set of house keys to all of the locks of the home which allowed them to easily break in during their third and fourth invasions. As I write this, Omari is in town shopping for new padlocks to all of the doors…We are also looking into hiring a guard to watch the home during the day in addition to the two guards at night.” Ben said they’re also planning on using the funds to buy land for the orphanage because “they’ve been evicted from countless homes in the past, but never again!” Funding will also cover Omari’s medical bills, school supplies and a budget to enhance the facility’s sustainable farming.
The story is still circulating and has reached various blogs and news outlets. Keep an eye on Reddit for more updates!
For more information, please visit www.longonoteducation.org, or check out the stories through Imgur and Reddit: http://imgur.com/HWTH9 and http://imgur.com/r/pics/JZUXw, and congratulations and thank you once more to Reddit and the Longonot Education Intiative for making this possible!