Swap your cup of java to spread hope and help to children with Type 1 Diabetes in Ethiopia

“I want to help these kids gain access to the type of care, help, and support that I have been blessed to receive throughout my journey with diabetes. Just because they don’t live in the Silicon Valley, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same medical care I have.”

High School Freshman
California, USA

If you could trade your daily cup of coffee to help make a child’s life better, would you?

My name is Marina, I’m a 14 year-old high school freshman who lives in Northern California and I have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). After a recent family trip to Ethiopia to bring supplies to children living with Type 1 Diabetes, I decided to make it my mission to do more; however, I can’t do it all by myself which is where you can step in. By donating just $5, the amount of money you would spend on your daily coffee or latte, you can help me deliver supplies and diabetes education to kids suffering from Type 1 Diabetes in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is closer to home to me than most since my dad was born there. I felt a connection with the people, having seen firsthand the obstacles these kids have to overcome to manage Type 1 Diabetes made me so grateful for all that I have and how lucky I am to have been born in the United States.

I know that I’ve been fortunate to live in a country and area of the world where care is easier to get and I’m blessed to have parents who have helped and supported me with manage living with Type 1 Diabetes.  Just because these kids don’t live in the Silicon Valley and their parents don’t have fancy tech jobs doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same medical care I have.

Prior to our trip, my Mom and I collected a list of much needed diabetes supplies which we delivered to a pediatric endocrinologist once we arrived. Even though we brought thousands of dollars’ worth of supplies, and the supplies were helpful, what we brought was really only a drop in the bucket compared to what the T1D children in Ethiopia really need.

Even before we got home, I was convinced that I wanted, and needed, to do more. Like Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” I’m going to try. I think I can help. Because I understand this disease, I can give the children in Ethiopia with Type 1 Diabetes the voice they never had! I want to bring awareness to the world about what they desperately need to live better, healthier lives with less risk of long-term complications.

Please join me, by donating just $5 (or whatever you might spend on coffee), and then ask all your friends and family to do the same! The more friends and family that donate, the greater impact we can have on the lives of the Ethiopian children suffering from Type 1 Diabetes. I know, together, we can make a difference! Thank you for your support!

The Kaffa Exchange is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) operating under the parent company American Board for Child Diabetics with tax ID 46-1683231.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes (T1D), once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults. Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications. (www.mayoclinic.org)

How is living with Type 1 Diabetes different in Ethiopia?

Type 1 Diabetes is a challenging disease to have in the United States, but even more challenging in the developing world. Supplies are expensive and scarce. Specialized diabetes education is needed to help patients learn how to safely store their insulin without refrigeration, understand how native foods will affect their blood sugar and what decisions need to be made with the information provided by glucometers. Studies show that additional test strips and proper implementation of diabetes education programs in the developing world can improve average blood sugars and significantly reduce diabetes related complications.

What is The Kaffa Exchange?

I picked the name The Kaffa Exchange for our fund raising effort because (1) we wanted people to be able to give in a way that wasn’t painful, by just giving up one cup of coffee, and (2) coffee originated in the Kaffa Region of Ethiopia. If we get enough people to donate $5, we can really help the T1D children in Ethiopia get access to more supplies and diabetes education. The Kaffa Exchange is my way of being the change I want to see in the world!

Thank You to our Donors!


Eileen Mougeot

$50.00 March 22, 2020

I go to Ambo every year. I was supposed to be there right now but had to cancel! Would love to talk sometime!


Caroline Chan

$10.00 March 21, 2020

Keep up the good work!


Julie Morris

$5.00 March 16, 2020

Cory Esters

$60.00 March 8, 2020

Elizabeth Patterson

$50.00 March 7, 2020

Keep going for it Marina!


Nancy Riley

$100.00 March 7, 2020

I have some extra freestyle test strips if they can be of use


Arthur Combs

$60.00 January 22, 2020



Stacey Whitten

$50.00 January 1, 2020

So proud of Marina and all she is doing!


Ovidio Diaz Espino

$30.00 October 27, 2019
Anonymous User


$1.00 June 25, 2019

Heidi Kevin Weller

$30.00 June 25, 2019

You GO, girl!


Kevin McCaughan

$50.00 June 22, 2019

Just saw you guys on KTVU this morning and was impressed by what you have started. Good luck on your new adventure!