Wow! Time flies, seems like just yesterday when this dream became a reality. This week we celebrate our seventh year of business. That is seven years of promoting a lifestyle befitting Royalty as well as seven years of affecting the lives of young children in many places around the world via our RDCares initiative.
What makes RD unique in that for almost every collection we have produced in the last seven years, we have contributed to communities around the world. Here’s how it works. For each graphic t-shirt purchased, Royal Dynamite donates an educational care package to a child in need around the world. Each package contains the following items: a composition book, a pencil, an eraser and a sharpener. RDCares has already sent more than 300 educational care packages for distribution among various organizations in Sierra Leone and the US. To name a few, we have worked with the following organizations: The Visao Foundation, Excelling Youth Educational Scholarship Program (EYES), The Wilberforce Primary School—all in Sierra Leone, Creating Aspiring Personalities for Success in Los Angeles, and Abuela Madre Orphanage located in a town on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
As we celebrate, we would like to thank our RDCares partnering organizations for allowing us the opportunity to help create change. As a token of our appreciation we highlight our Top Seven RDCares collaborations below:
1) Wilberforce School
In April 2013, we conducted our first RDCares Mission. We gave away over 300 RDCares educational packages to the students at the Wilberforce Primary School In Freetown Sierra Leone; which happened to be across the street from the house our co-founder Cecil Williams grew up in. This is by far one of our most memorable moments seeing our efforts manifest into good deeds.
2) Visao Foundation
In 2013 we also partnered with The Visao Foundation. Visao equips underprivileged youth in Africa with essential tools and resources to help build their literacy and leadership skills, and empower them to become change-makers in their communities.and hosted an entrepreneurship and social responsibility workshop. Interestingly during the workshop, most of the kids didn’t know what the word “entrepreneur” meant. We explained to them and challenged them to not only create but pitch their business plans. There were some of the most amazing and inspiring ideas.
3) Fundacion Sigue Mis Pasos
In 2013, Royal Dynamite partnered with Fundacion Sigue Mis Pasos to give away 100 RDCares educational packages to children in the Dominican Republic. The purpose of the Sigue Mis Pasos Foundation is to assist low-income children in various communities in the Dominican Republic. For two and a half years they periodically visited the children’s home in El Hogar Abuela Madre. El Hogar Abuela Madre is located in a small community in Santo Domingo Norte.
Mrs. Hermunda Tapia, known as “Grandmother” provides care for children in the community of Jacaguas at no cost in order to protect these children from the conditions of their homes and the street. It was our goal to alleviate some of her stress by providing RD Cares packages as she maintains a small school with three classrooms where approximately sixty students attend class daily.
4) Project Pikin
To stay true to our roots of collaborative style for awareness; when we launched our Freetown “En Blanc” Collection, we partnered with Project Pekin a non-profit Organization in Sierra Leone that seeks to help homeless and struggling children have a better life by providing education, health and safe homes. A portion of our sales went to Project Pekin to assist with innovation projects, scholarships and school supplies. From our sales we were able to set aside finances to provide a years’ worth of educational scholarships for 5 children for the 2016/17 school year.
5) Power Women 232
Sierra Leone , although in on our opinion on of the most beautiful countries in the world, it was recently crippled by Ebola pandemic. The economic and psychological toll to the nation was striking so we decided to do our part in helping in the process of support and recovery. In doing so, we partnered with Power Women 232; a network of women professionals in Sierra Leone that helped contribute to the well being of health workers and orphans affected by Ebola. We provided financial help from our sales proceeds to support Power Women 232 organize rehabilitation physiological and therapy sessions for student affected by the Ebola Epidemic.
6) GESSL-Girl Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone
Giving back is a staple concept to Royal Dynamite and a personal commitment from our co-founders. While in the business of making cool tees and collaborating with cool brands, we’re really in the business of changing lives. Our Co-founder Nadia Marie Sasso volunteered with GESSL to teach girl empowerment workshops that would provide young ladies with tools they could use for a lifetime.
Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL) is a year round program, which seeks to inspire, empower and enlighten Sierra Leonean girls. The organization enhances the leadership skills of young girls through workshops and community development projects that are held throughout the year by young female mentors . Their goal is to empower a new generation of Sierra Leonean female leaders.
7) USC School Of Pharmacy
On May 17th 2014, a team of 13 students from the USC School of Pharmacy embarked on a 10 day service-learning trip to Ghana. The mission of Project Ghana was to establish a global-active pharmacy voice, while learning about Ghana’s health infrastructure, volunteering, teaching and providing health screenings to local communities. Most of their outreach efforts took place in the central region of Ghana, known as the West Gomoa District. This area is estimated to house over 220,000 citizens, making it one of the highest populated areas in the country.
Consequently, it is also an area of greatly needed developmental strategies and improved health access. About 74% of the district’s population reside in rural areas and many homes lack water, electricity, kitchen or toilet facilities. However, the greatest disparity lay in the education and healthcare sector. The highest level of education of most individuals compared to the United States, is the equivalent of an elementary school education. There were only few clinics and a single hospital to serve its constituents. They knew this would be a challenge but we were set on four objectives which were to “Volunteer, Give, Teach and Share”.
As one can imagine, a service trip of this magnitude would be costly. We partnered with these students to lead their fundraising campaign and became one of their elementary education sponsors for school supplies.
This journey taught us that life is not measured in number of years but in the number of lives we touch. Together we were able to educate over 1,350 children at seven primary schools, and deliver 180 pound care package to United Way Ghana, Sisters of Teresa Home and Westphalian Orphanage. The Pharmacy students were able to screen local villagers for diabetes, hypertension and educate the community on topics such as environmental health, HIV/AIDS awareness, dental hygiene and family planning to address the high rate of teenage pregnancy.
Knowledge is power but having the tools and supplies to learn and achieve knowledge is key. Thank you for your support. Cheers to Lucky 7.
By Raphael Saye