Jo Brosius is the founder and CEO of A Villager’s Hand.
From a very young age, Jo had an interest in other languages and cultures, and a passion for the marginalized people around the world. She began traveling at the age of 15, and later worked as an international journalist with the BBC and CNN. Eventually she joined the diplomatic service, working for the British Government. To date she has traveled to more than 60 countries. A Villager’s Hand is a lifelong dream of hers that will help people around the world that she has met through her travels.
Dianne Smith is the Director of A Villager's Hand. Growing up in the Appalachian foothills, she dreamed of exploring the world. An avid reader, she vowed to experience the sights, smells and meet people everywhere. In her 22 years of military service, she traveled extensively experiencing cultures worldwide. While in the Army she experienced the reward of serving others especially those in difficult circumstances. A lifelong commitment to serve others was born and continues to be lived out by her whether serving on disaster relief or humanitarian aid teams. Joining the work of A Villager’s Hand is the natural progression of these desires.
Abbie Darst serves fulltime as director of publications and media relations at Berea College,where she serves as the editor of the Berea College magazine. She has worked as a journalist and in some form of marketing and public relations for 15 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Berea College in English writing and communication. Born into a military family, Abbie has traveled across the country and around the world, which shaped her outlook on people and life. She has joined A Villager's Hand as a marketing and online sales contributor, hoping to grow the sales reach and provide more income for the women involved in this fair-trade partnership through reaching a more diverse market.
Ray Mirembo , Health Programs Officer, is the third child in a family of 5, born and raised in Kenya. Growing up, they did not have much in his family and he was quintessential example of being “raised by the village”. Food was mainly from neighbors, clothes from his cousins and teachers helped him a lot with school supplies. It was by the grace of God and well-wishers that he was able to attend high school and eventually get a scholarship to Berea College. Those who helped him did not have much of their own, but they saved from the little they had to help. This kindness always reminds Ray to look out for those in society who might be going through tough times and offer help in whatever way he can. Working with A Villager’s Hand provides him the perfect opportunity to reach out and give back to society. Ray is currently a medical student at the University of Kentucky and part of the Rural Physician Leadership Program. This program helps prepare him to handle challenges faced by underprivileged in their pursuit of access to health care.
Saitoti Kaloi is the in-country partner and coordinator of all our Kenyan groups, as well as the representative of Emayanata, our group of Maasai. Saitoti is Maasai and one of twelve children. He graduated with a degree in Economics from Maasai Mara University where he achieved student leader of the 2011. He is also the founder of Smartfoundation, an organization which seeks to motivate and inspire student to act on social issues. He has written a book called Concept Of Success, which is not yet published. He has a big heart for his Maasai community and education. He is a student community student leader and has been top of his class since primary school. Saitoti has started a Give A Goat campaign to help stop the practice of FGM among his people. Welcome, Saitoti!
Margaret Nakato is the Coordinator for Katosi Women Development Trust. She has a degree in Development Studies specializing in Community Development from the University of South Africa. She has a passionate interest in rural development; engaging rural communities with special emphasis on women to initiate and manage development processes. For 16 years she has worked with women growing from one group of 28 women in 1996 to 17 groups that bring 485 women together to equitably share resources, knowledge and skills for improvement of their livelihoods. At KWDT her work begins with ensuring that women are at the center of development processes and ends at ensuring that she gives them all the support they need to effectively occupy that position.
Sr. Le Thi Thao has been working with street children for over twenty years through Friends for Street Children. She helps run fee free schools for children ages 5-12, where the children receive uniforms, books, and encouragement to stay in school. At least a thousand children are helped annually through scholarships. Disadvantaged women in the city's poorest area can earn a good income through crafts, and the profits help to support the FFSC centers.