Giving Back: Designs for Hope

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Chris Bond (on far right) had a dream to create the organization “Designs for Hope” as a way to develop, produce, and distribute technology for global humanitarian purposes.  “We seek to accomplish this task by developing your knowledge of the needs and obstacles that exist, and finding creative solutions…We are motivated by the love of Christ to overcome physical and spiritual darkness that affects billions. Designs for Hope purses partnerships with churches, businesses, and individuals who share our passion for innovation and the Great Commission.” (www.designsforhope.org)  Through prayer, love and support of family, friends, and strangers, Designs for Hope is a reality…and Chris Bond and the Designs for Hope team are giving back…giving to a world in need.

Designs for Hope will be traveling to Uganda this summer to not only deliver much needed generator kits, but also to spread the love and Word of Jesus Christ.   As a way to raise money for this trip, the Bond family repurposed old t-shirts into darling scarves, and are currently selling them in and around Trussville, Alabama and on the Designs for Hope website. (Keep reading for more details on how to purchase and help support.)

I had a chance to chat with the Bond family and interview Chris about Designs for Hope.  I was so inspired by the spunk of  Maddie (Chris’s daughter).  We could all take a lesson from her…her willingness to go out there and make a difference and raise money for that in which she believes!  Go, Maddie :)

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  • Tell us a little about the Designs for Hope team.

Chris Bond | Founder

Chris graduated from the University of Alabama in 1998 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Chris spent 8 years as a Research and Development Engineer in the automotive industry. Six years ago, being unfulfilled creating products only for American consumption, Chris began to teach engineering to high school students.  Chris started Designs For Hope in the summer of 2011.  He is married to Amy, and they have four children. His desire is to use his gifts and talents to design for the “least of these” and to make an impact on humanity.

Matthew Michalke | Director of Administration

Matthew graduated from the University of Alabama in 2006 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. After a brief time on the job, the Lord called Matthew and his wife, Emily, to pursue ministry training. Matthew attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX and graduated in 2010 with a Masters of Christian Education. Matthew currently teaches engineering in a public middle school and works with the adult education ministry at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Matthew has a passion to be involved in global evangelism and discipleship.

Joel Dison | Director of Partnerships

Joel is a project manager, an author, and an Associate Pastor. Joel graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1989 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and has worked for Southern Company for 26 years. He also graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011 with a Masters of Divinity.  Currently, Joel is a bi-vocational Associate Pastor at Ruffner Valley Baptist Church in Irondale, Alabama. His passions are preaching, teaching, missions, and writing. Joel is married to Patty and has two children.

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  • Describe Designs for Hope in three words.

Design.  Empowering.  Igniting.

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  • What inspired the creation of Designs for Hope?  

According to the International Energy Agency, 1.3 billion people worldwide lack electricity.  [Being without electricity is] more than an inconvenience, it means working and learning all but stop when the sun goes down. Reading, washing and sewing require burning expensive fuel for light.  News that could travel via radio, phone, or Internet never reaches these regions. In sub-Saharan Africa, the least electrified part of the world, 70 percent of people live in the dark. Other unwired regions include parts of rural Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

  • What is the bicycle generator kit and how is it improving the lives in developing countries?  Who was the designer?

In these same regions, where infrastructure is sparse, one form of transportation stands out as efficient, simple and cheap: the bicycle. Bikes are popular in developing countries, and anywhere bike wheels are turning — from farm to village, from home to school and back — they’re creating rotational energy.

That fact made gears turn in the mind of mechanical engineer and high school teacher Chris Bond. Why not harvest this rotational energy?

Bond acted, founding Designs for Hope, a nonprofit of three engineers (Bond plus an electrical engineer and a civil engineer). The group set out to design an inexpensive, durable device that would hold a generator on a bike, harvest its power and condition the electricity to feed a battery.

Designer was Chris Bond, created in June 2011.  First offered in February 2012

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  • Where has Designs for Hope placed their products?

Right now, we have product in seven different countries.  They are as follows:

Nicaragua
Zambia
Madagascar
South Sudan
Niger
Uganda
India

  • The Solar Powered Sustainable Electricity kit is another product that DFH has to offer. How are these kits changing lives?  Who is the designer?  

Like the Bicycle Generator Kit, the Solar Powered Kit provides power to those in extreme need.  This option is good for areas of the world where bicycles are not extensively used, such as Nepal, the Solomon Islands, the Amazon Basin, and more.

Designer was Chris Bond, created in 2012.  First offered in February 2013.

  • Designs for Hope’s “Winding Roads” blog post is so inspiring, and it touched my heart dearly. What motivates the DFH team to keep going despite road blocks and detours?

Deep down, what drives me is my relationship with Christ.  I have an insatiable hunger to be the man that God has created me to be.  I am never satisfied with this broken world, and I want to do my part to make it better.  We all have been given gifts and talents–mine is design.  We all have a concern for other people–mine is for those in distant places.  I found out that I can share the love that God has shown me through design; I can make a difference in this world by helping people find hope…this is what keeps me going.

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  • Your wife and daughter are making and selling T-shirt scarves to raise money for Designs for Hope summer mission. Tell us a little about this summer mission. What inspired your family to make the scarves?

This summer, we will be taking our first DFH mission trip to Uganda to distribute our bicycle generator kits, train pastors how to use them, provide Bible teaching for pastors, and minister in an orphanage. The trip is rather expensive, so my wife (Amy Bond) began praying that God would do a “fish and loaves miracle” to provide the money we need. The Bible tells the story of Jesus feeding thousands of hungry people by miraculously multiplying the meager lunch of a young boy – five loaves of bread and two fish.

My wife had heard of t-shirt scarves and thought she’d like to make herself one, so she did. When my daughter (Maddie Bond) got home from school that day, she noticed the scarf and wanted to know how to make one for herself. Before long, she was in the basement with her friend making scarves. My wife jokingly said that she should go and try to sell them to neighbors and she could give the money to DFH. A little while later, the two girls returned with a fist full of cash. An innocent facebook status update about our daughter’s afternoon escapade launched a profitable fundraiser for our upcoming trip literally overnight.

Our living room has turned into a used t-shirt warehouse and a scarf factory. My wife and daughter spend time each day making the scarves. They are available for $10 on our website at http://www.designsforhope.org. Colors are available depending on what t-shirts we have available. You can also like us on facebook and message me about ordering by check.

  • What other fundraising opportunities are on the calendar for DFH?

We sell t-shirts on our website.  They are $20 typically, but we are having a sale for the month of March, where they will only be $12.
We are also in the works for a 5K race in Talladega as well as a few other ideas.  Sign up for our Newsletter on our website , if you are interested in receiving information on fundraising among other great and exciting updates.

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It was such a joy spending time with the Bond clan and learning more about Designs for Hope.  I left that meeting thinking about how blessed I am…how I take so many things for granted…how I need to do more to give back and support those working so hard to make a difference in our world.

Like Designs for Hope on Facebook to keep up with all the latest updates! https://www.facebook.com/DesignsForHope?fref=ts

To purchase t-shirts and support Designs for Hope, visit their website! www.designsforhope.org

These scarves are totally fabulous!  Every fashionista needs one for her closet.  It is a great accessory for a plain jeans outfit...perfect for a day of shopping or running errands.
These scarves are totally fabulous! Every fashionista needs one for her closet. It is a great accessory for a plain jeans outfit…perfect for a day of shopping or running errands.

Want to learn more about the Vintage Inspired Passionista? Check out the See Jane Write interview! Here is the link: http://www.seejanewritebham.com/2013/03/blog-like-girl-bfw-2013-edition-abby.html

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Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn

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