Hi. I'm Gret.
G-R-E-T. I usually have to spell that out for people. Above is a picture from my first year in Malawi. I'm the white one. The other person is one of my favorite girls in the whole wide world: Emily.
Emily lost her mother 2 years before I met her because her family couldn't afford the $20 hospital bill. Her story, and the dozens of others I heard like it, wrecked me. How could someone's life not be worth a twenty dollar bill? I felt helpless to the overwhelming suffering that was living and breathing in front of my eyes for the first time in my life.
But I found out that I wasn't helpless.
I learned that Emily and her brother were squatting in an overcrowded house and could really use a place of their own to grow up in. I took a breath and asked how much it would cost. What's the bill?
Personally, I grew up in a house that's worth about half a million dollars. I knew things cost less in Africa, but is this even a realistic possibility?
The answer: $1200. That's it.
A week later Emily and her little brother had a brand new house to grow up in. They live there right now. Today. It's a place for them to make memories and study for school. And it's become quite the hang-out place for the kids in the village.
How Howms Got Started
HOWM stands for "Housing for Orphans and Widows in Malawi." After giving a house to Emily, I found out that I wasn't the only one who wanted to help out in this way.
Friends and family back in the States started raising money so they could provide a house for someone. They put up signs at work, gave up birthdays, and used social media.
Pretty soon people were sending me money faster than I could build houses! So I hired people to help. I went back to the States and fundraised some money to take care of administration expenses. And I used my own savings to invest in nicer video equipment so I could show people how big of an impact they were making.
Now it's your turn.
If you want to be a part of creating a story like Emily's, it starts right here.