By KRISTY O’LEARY | PIVOT Magazine Writer & Owner of Scout & Burrow
How much impact can one dollar make in the world? Imagine being able to hand a dollar to someone who really needs it in India, China or Uganda. Joshua Brake, Founder of Kutoa.org, is actively funding initiatives that solve social problems and reduce suffering one dollar at a time.
Hailing from Georgetown, Ontario, Joshua is a Pastor, husband and Father of four young children. Kutoa began as a journal entry after visiting a home for girls saved from brothels in Calcutta. “It really takes so little money to change their lives and take them from suffering to empowerment,” says Joshua. “Kutoa is based on the reality that people everywhere are equally important, equally valuable and hold the same potential.” He and his family are so passionate about their ability to create change they invested their entire savings into developing Kutoa.
With members in 112 countries Kutoa.org is an online platform that allows anyone, anywhere to donate one dollar a month to a world changing project. Each month a different organizational partner is featured. These organizations share three initiatives and users can vote on where their dollar will go. At the end of the month all of the dollars will be given to support the initiative with the most votes. It sounds simple, but it the organization is tapping into our most valuable global resource …our children.
Joshua believes Kutoa.org can be taken from an online platform to a global movement by engaging youth. He is currently working with teachers in the Toronto area to bring Kutoa to middle and high school students. Kutoa creates a very real way to educate children about our collective challenges, their purchasing habits and global politics. “Our youth are both social and justice minded. Give them a platform that links the two and they will do both. Whether in grade 2 or grade 12, Kutoa has proven this and each month students discuss complex issues at age appropriate levels, weigh the potential solutions and grow in empathy as they vote & give,” says Brake.
Joshua’s vision for youth engagement is much grander than one dollar a month. “It is amazing to see the excitement on their faces when they have done something for someone else,’ says Joshua. ” Individually and together they have become agents for change, and it inspires their soul to want to do it again and get others involved.” Just as giving becomes a habit, so does empathy and engagement.
Joshua’s vision is ambitious. “I want to expand the Kutoa platform to allow people anywhere in the world to learn in their own language and give in their own currency.” He is also developing his long-term public relations strategy to build partnerships with large corporations and organizations and he is actively seeking speaking engagements in order to get the word out.
As with most ambitious projects Kutoa.org is not without its challenges, he needs more users and corporate sponsors. “We need socially conscious teachers and forward thinking companies to come alongside us and invest in our global movement,” Joshua explains. “Providing either the kids to be involved or the cash to enable our growth will help us with our global plan”.