Promoting global community
development onevillage at a time

A note from the founders

We originally started onevillage with a mission of focusing only on education, but through our research and personal experiences, we realized that education is tied to health, which is tied to infrastructure, and all three are linked to a community's economic development. Based on the interconnectedness of these four areas, we decided to change our focus from a micro approach to a more holistic view of working in the developing world. We believe that by focusing on each of the most basic underlying issues affecting a struggling community, we can build a support structure that spreads positive change locally, regionally and globally.

Our Team

Jill BlumbergLEGAL

In 2009 during a year-long sabbatical from work, Jill decided to spend time volunteering at an orphanage in rural Kpando, Ghana. While Jill hoped it would broaden her perspectives and that she could make a change in the lives of the children she would be working with, she was totally unprepared for the impact the experience would have on her personal goals, her priorities and her life. After traveling extensively in Africa, as well as other underdeveloped countries on her trip and experiencing the impact that these places had on her, upon returning to New York, Jill knew that it would be impossible to return to her career as an attorney. Luckily, while volunteering in Ghana, Jill met two other American volunteers, Leia and Sarah, who were equally moved by their experiences in Africa, and together, they were inspired to create onevillage.

Before starting onevillage, Jill was a real-estate attorney living and practicing in New York City. In addition to her real estate practice, and as a way to fulfill her passion for helping others, Jill also counseled several nonprofit organizations, and volunteered with and served on the Board of several different nonprofits. Jill obtained her BA in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University where her senior thesis was entitled, "An Analysis of Foreign Direct Investment Abroad Including Implications in Developed Countries," and her JD, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School.

"All of humanity, regardless of what part of the world we live in, is connected by a single universal purpose—to better ourselves, our lives, and our station in life. Poverty is a chain that binds all of us, and I believe that by helping those around the world who need assistance in bettering themselves and their communities, we will make a difference in all of our lives by breaking that chain and changing the world for the better."

Leia WelshCOMMUNICATIONS

Leia's career began in marketing and advertising before her passion for education and the developing world led her to volunteer in Kpando, Ghana. She formed an incredible connection with the community and realized that although Kpando's culture is rich and the people's spirit is strong, a very real need exists for many of life's basic necessities. It was while living in Kpando that Leia started to understand the true nature of giving. She did not simply want to give what she felt was necessary, but wanted to work with the community to determine what needs were most important to them. Leia strongly believes that giving is important, but must be done in a strategic manner. "So often in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to take a minute to really listen. We need to listen to what people feel they need, not just what we think they need. We must work side-by-side with communities and their residents to create a picture of a better future and plan to get there."

Leia is currently working as a Business and Communications Specialist for a local nonprofit in Denver, CO. Leia holds a BA in Communications from DePauw University and an MPA from the University of Colorado Denver.

"We have a responsibility to make the world a better place for ourselves and our neighbors. When doing so however, we must understand that term 'neighbors' does not just mean those living on the same street, in the same city, or in the same country, but our neighbors stretch all the way across the world."

Sarah LindquistHEALTH & WELLNESS

Sarah graduated from Roanoke College in 2002 with a BS in Athletic Training and went on to earn her Master's of Physical Therapy at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. During her college and graduate school studies, Sarah became passionate about communities and countries around the world, in particular Africa. In August of 2008, Sarah finally made her dream a reality when she left her job to volunteer in Ghana for 6 months. While there, she had the opportunity to assist Margret Marquardt Hospital (a local hospital in Kpando, Ghana) in developing a physical therapy program. She was also blessed to live at Ryvanz-Mia Childcare, where she fell in love with 15 resilient children who showed her the beauty and simplicity of each day. Upon returning to the US in February 2009, Sarah continued to feel a strong connection to Ghana, and in particular the small village of Kpando. Sarah returned to Ghana in January 2010 to lay the groundwork for onevillage's first initiatives in Kpando, and to continue her work in sustaining the physical therapy clinic she originally began.

Sarah is currently working in an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Chicago and is in the process of becoming a certified functional manual therapist. She dreams of one day opening a free physical therapy clinic to bring physical therapy services to those who cannot afford them in the Chicagoland area.

"Education may be the single most important factor in the development of every child and young adult around the world. I believe it is our global responsibility to work together to make education possible for every child, no matter where they live or who they are. Through education, each generation will have the opportunity to make the world a better place."

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.Ralph Waldo Emerson