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People of Passion

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GRACE STE. CROIX: Among us are those who believe in making a difference. Amongst us are people who are truly passionate about a cause and will give their time and effort to see that cause through to a solution. We are naturally drawn to these people because, let’s face it, passion is a rare yet addictive substance, a drug that steers us on a life path full of turns and twists we never imagined existed.

Who are these people born of circumstances similar to ours that do extraordinary things with little means to support their passion? They do exist and are out there to not only fight for their cause but to inspire others.

Take Holly Bantleman as a shining example. A young twenty something girl from London UK wanted to travel the world and see what was out there. While passing through Kenya, many people spoke of the small town nicknamed, 'London'. As a native of London England herself, she found it compelling to at least stop and visit. When she arrived, however, it was nothing of what she would have thought.

She found the inhabitants of this 'town' living in a literal garbage dump. Children played through the rubbish and families made shanties in squalor. People hunted for plastic bags so the women could weave stronger bags and sell them in nearby areas. The town itself had an odour that was borderline repulsive. Though the inhabitants were extremely loving, accepting and curious of Holly, it was impossible to imagine that people lived in this dump. It was even more unimaginable that Holly was standing right in the middle of it.

However, Holly did not do what most people would do. She did not turn around and find her way straight back to the safety of Nairobi. Instead finding her passion she stayed: she was determined to get these people off of that site.

Holly went to work and enlisted friends, volunteers and family. Her visions was ,1) to create a charity called Raise The Roof Kenya through which she buys land and builds more appropriate homes for Kenyans. 2) That this would be a charity whose full donations would go to the construction and betterment of these people. 3) To obtain gently used bras for the women to use so they had more support. Holly would fly to Kenya a few times a year on her own dime. The goals seem vast, but with a lot of work, patience and help Raise The Roof Kenya became a successful charity. Holly’s bra campaign is on-going and she makes sure her volunteers can add a few bras to each of their suitcases en route to Kenya. She organizes many charitable events to support her buying land for homes and schools for the people, but most recently Holly has taken on her most important project: Raise the Roof Kenya Team 1000. RTRK1000 is Holly’s newest vision to build the Barut Development Centre for Kenyans to learn skills in order to not only remove them from the garbage site, but to give them the ability and education they need for their families to remain away from it.

Holly’s goal is not only to stop the lack of education in this area, but to prevent it for future generations. She believes that if one thousand people donate one hundred pounds (roughly one hundred and sixty dollars Canadian) it will give her enough to hire Kenyans to build this huge community centre. It creates jobs and a lasting stand in the community, proving that these people’s lives will change and that the future generations of this area can have a better life. Donators will have their name placed on the centre’s walls. For those donators who may not have that amount, any donation, no matter how small, is happily accepted.

It is often said that the key to success is ten percent circumstance and ninety percent attitude. The circumstance happened to be for Holly that she was in a certain place at a certain time with a certain mind set. The attitude was her passion to take on what seemed to be an impossible situation and begin to solve it.

Many of us wait for our calling to show the world what we are made of. We wait patiently for the fireworks display or a huge sign that gleams to show us what we are supposed to be made of. But, this is not life. Holly’s sign came in a rubbish pile in rural Kenya. She found the amazing people with harsh circumstances and decided to change it around. Whether your passion is to solve a challenge or help another solve a challenge, it is time to rise to the occasion.

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Grace Ste.Croix is a writer, entrepreneur and a motivational speaker in Canada. She writes for a number of international magazines on subjects including personal growth, health and wellness, and current events. She uses her legal experience in her writing to dissect current issues. As an animal rights campaigner, she strives for tougher laws on animal abuse and encourages their adoption from humane societies and animal shelters. Visit her at and and on Facebook:Grace Ste.Croix

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