My Arms Wide Open

My Arms Wide Open's purpose is to rebuild communities through supporting mothers, children and youth to break the chain of their parents' past prejudice, to create community and preserve their culture. Guiding principles for My Arms Wide Open mirror those of founder Warren Te Brugge. "These are the principles by which I live my life and make decisions to deliver value in the eyes of the communities I serve."
May 13, 2013

2,500 Opportunities... For KIDS!

Ray-Cam Community Cooperative My World My Garden
Ray-Cam Community Cooperative My World My Garden

We've been making Progress

Our second Vertical Food Wall at the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre is built and we are busy getting ready to get the plants in the wall containers for our official launch of the wall set for 10:00am June 5, 2013.


There is a new garden in the Vancouver, DTES community!  “Warren’s Wall” is a unique vertical vegetable garden, built by My Arms Wide Open® (MAWO), to support the food program at Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.  Like its “sister food walls” in South Africa, Warren’s Wall will bring focus to community, food security and family.  It will provide a special learning opportunity for the children and youth at Ray-Cam to work side-by-side with the Centre’s seniors to plant, maintain and harvest the vertical garden. Other members of the Ray-Cam community will not only benefit from the garden’s harvests but will take joy in watching it grow. A portion of each harvest during the growing season will be canned or frozen for use in the Fall and Winter.


Our garden has room for 2,500 individual plants and we need your help to make it grow and flourish.

Be a member of the Carrot ClubFor as little as $15 every 3 months, you can adopt one plant.  Or, you can adopt several!  You can also choose a one-time donation in any amount you wish, or you may wish to become a special “Warren’s Wall Founding Patron” for $1,000.  

Visiting the wall: You can visit the wall in Vancouver by checking in with the staff at the Ray-Cam (920 East Hastings, Vancouver, BC V6A 3T1) who will be happy to show you around.

To set up your quartely recurring donation or make a new donation please visit:

Quarterly donations on-line will repeat on an ongoing basis.  You will receive a tax receipt for the total amount of your donations in the previous year in February of the year following.  You may cancel at any time.

Each donor will also be credited with a plant in MAWO’s other vertical food walls in Bergnek and Cradock, two tiny rural communities in Eastern Cape, South Africa.  The gross proceeds from your donation will be split evenly between Ray-Cam and MAWO for ongoing support of the vertical food walls.

A Special 'Thank you!' to our Vancouver Community Partners

Our newest Wall at the Ray-Cam Community Cooperative could not have been possible without the tremendous support of our Vancouver Community partners including: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the City of Vancouver/Vancouver Foundation, Strathcona 1890: Urban Seed Project, Twin Lions Contracting, In-Form Engineering, Reliable Electric, UBC Civil Engineering and Craig Yates, a young structural fabricator, who did all the welding of the wall for us.

Let's Keep the Walls Growing!

Please keep spreading the word and if you can sponsor one or more of the plants in the walls on a quarterly basis. The quarterly donations keep the walls growing and new projects budding in each of the Ray-Cam and Bergnek Communities. To set up your quartely recurring donation or make a new donation please visit:

Thank you for your continued support!

Breaking Ground
Breaking Ground
Breaking Ground 2
Breaking Ground 2


May 9, 2013

GirlStuff.Period is taking acton & changing lives

Cradock, Eastern Cape
Cradock, Eastern Cape

We've been busy!

We have been busy this past quarter working with partners and some schools in the communities of Cradcok, Eastern Cape. Keabetswe drove down to Cradock to visit with 4 schools this past week and to distribute Menstrual Kits to over 200 girls at 4 Cradock schools. He and Nini have been working with the teachers at the schools to get girls the menstrual products they need to stay in school. He will also be visiting 2 schools in each of Polokwane and Gauteng later this month to distribute another 200 Menstrual Kits at those schools.

This was all made possible through the support we received from you to get Keabetswe around the country in South Africa as well as our partners and supporters at and AFRIpads in Uganda who manufactured the kits for GirlStuff.Period. Working in partnership to support girls education:, AFRIpads, My Arms Wide Open through our joint #Pads4Oprah campaign, are hoping to garner the attention and ultimately form a partnership with the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to create a robust and truly sustainable program to enable girls to be educated at the same level as boys and to be able to avail themselves of all the opportunities that boys are exposed to.

What else have we been up to?

The ladies of GirlStuff.Period have been busy working hard to get ready for some orders we are working on in South Africa. We are not ready to share details as yet, but as soon as we receive our first Purchase order we will be sure to share lots of details with you all.

In the meantime we’d thought we would share some of the pictures we received from Keabetswe after his trip around South Africa this past week.

Thank you for your ongoing support and contributions to this important cause. Please keep spreading the word and if you can make a recurring donation to keep the GirlStuff.Period business growing.

Pads4Oprah Campaign
Pads4Oprah Campaign
Pads4Oprah 2
Pads4Oprah 2
May 7, 2013

Taking collective action to fund community needs

It's for the future of the children of Bergnek


Progress in our fundraising campaign for the Bergnek community Projects, One Brick at a Time initiative have been slow as far as the online campaign itself goes. Work we are doing in other areas is ramping up and will ultimately support the One Brick at a Time project.

The need is real and it is not going away. We need the means to build more housing that meets some reasonable requirements and standards to provide safe and adequate housing for the community of Bergnek. The community is in desperate need of a formal health clinic that can properly service the needs of the community in general but more importantly in pre- and post-natal care as well as infant and care for mothers.  

Those of you that are involved in the My World In a Garden - Sister Walls program will see an update there this week too which will give you insight into how we are connecting our programs providing support for the overall community needs within the Bergnek community.

A large part of the 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' program is not simply the establishment of the walls but the fund raising part of the program that is ongoing to support both additional walls in South Africa and North America as well as creating funding to support other community initiatives such as, 'One Brick at a Time'. 

How it works

When we build 'My World, My Garden, Vertical Food Wall Systems' in North America we sister those walls with the community walls we have in South Africa. In this case it is the 'My World In a Garden, Bergnek' project. We then 'sell' each of the plant spots in the North American wall for a quarterly donation of $15 working to get each of the 2,500 spots in the wall 'sold' and supported with a total of $60 per year. Half of the funds raised go to support new initiatives and the maintenance of the wall at the Ray-Cam Centre in DTES Vancouver as an example and the other half go to support community projects that the members of the Bergnek Community want to support such as "One Brick at A Time".  

We Still Need Your HELP

Although we have multiple mechanisms to support each of the My Arms Wide Open projects and initiatives we need your help to spread the word and to keep supporting the project directly. This will enable us to get the Bergnek community the help they need in the shortest time possible.

Thank you for the support you have already given and we look to the seeing more as we spread the word and create the path to a successful start for the Bergnek, One Brick at a Time, community owned and based business.

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