Help Fund Our Service Trip to Brazil

In February 2019, my good friend and fellow Watson Scholar, Isaac King and I set up a GoFundMe to raise money for our research trip to the Dominican Republic. Here is a snapshot of our progress and an invitation to join our journey to Brazil.

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The simple goal of our trip was to spend 10 days of our Spring break in the Dominican Republic: learning in-depth the problem of street children and documenting our understanding of the problem context in that island nation.  The purpose of our research was to combine an intense investigation of the entire landscape of street children and the collection of their personal stories that would give us first-hand insight to map out the system and structural situations. 

Thanks to everyone who supported us, we achieved a 120% success on our GoFundMe fundraising efforts. We arrived in the Dominican Republic on March 2, finalized our strategy and set out by Sunday, March 3 on a journey that would become successful and nurse our next campaign. Over an eight-day period, we interviewed over 60 individuals on and off-camera.  We traveled from the Northern city of Santiago to the Capital City of Santo Domingo, encompassing travels by road, cable car, motorcycle, and foot. Whether we were talking to respected community members under the scorching sun at noon or police officers on duty at midnight, we made sure to stop at nothing in asking relevant questions.

At the epicenter of our trip were the moments we shared with the street children. The stories and plights of the Haitian and Dominican children we met left in us a deep and burning desire to commit to this problem and create deep and long-lasting change in our world.

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This experience gave birth to the No Existe Campaign; a three-tier mission to bring awareness to the problem of street children across the Americas through Film, Research and Community Engagement.

The success of our first trip has been covered by the Parklander magazine , Lynn University Magazine  and El Caribe of the Dominican Republic . Most importantly, we compiled and presented our research report at the Said Business School, University of Oxford, England. We also partnered with the Film and Television Department at Lynn University to create a documentary that aims to spotlight the problem of street children in the Dominican Republic, Brazil and the United States of America.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP

My name is James Okina a co-founder of No Existe; at age nine, my parents separated in a chaotic manner that sent my world spinning. Lost, confused, angry, and traumatized are some of the words that could describe the next four years of my life,  turned gang for a sense of belonging and was headed for self-destruction. I came out on the bright side at age 12 through the mentorship from individuals who looked past my actions and recognized my potential. 

I have spent the last five years creating community programs for children who live on the streets of Nigeria  and through my organization Street Priests Inc. over 3300 children  have been impacted by these programs.

Isaac King is a co-founder of No Existe; born two pounds and three ounces to a crack-addicted mother who abandoned him as an infant, Isaac’s life was riddled with struggles. The rewrite to his life was as a result of his adopted mother.
Isaac traveled to Brazil during his gap year after graduating high school to broaden his horizon. While in Brazil, he was introduced to “Crianças de Rua” (Street Children). The concept was foreign to him, that he became truly invested in these children and their stories. He also tried to grasp how society has turned a blind eye to the injustices that these children were experiencing. In his words, Isaac admitted that “ it just burned him up.”

The No Existe Campaign is a partnership between Street Priests Inc. and Bleed Red (Isaac King’s Organization) an organization to end the culture of bullying within academic institutions. This is campaign was consummated by our experiences and passion to see that we live in a world where the rights of children are truly being protected and never again should society turn a blind eye on children living on the streets.

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The task for our team of seven people is huge; We would be traveling to Brazil to spend two weeks in December to investigate and document the situation of street children in four Brazilian cities by collecting data for our research report, amassing footage for the Brazilian phase of our documentary and engaging community stakeholders in bringing about change in this sphere.

It would require a lot of resources in terms of flights, food, accommodation, filming equipment, in-country transportation for the entire team, with every individual being a crucial part of the entire process.

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We hope that our story resonates with you as you join us in this campaign to highlight and end the injustices of street children, in the Americas.

Donations

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  • Eric Endlich 
    • $200 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 11 mos
See all

Fundraising team: No Existe (5)

James Okina 
Organizer
Raised $250 from 2 donations
Boca Raton, FL
Isaac King 
Team member
Raised $60 from 2 donations
Bryan Nakambonde 
Team member
Mia Tippenhauer 
Team member
Sleepy Sal 
Team member

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