History

 

Inspired by the spirit of St Ignatius, it all started as a group of young men and women at the Institute of Finance Management at the heart of Dar es Salaam city center aiming at supporting group of kids who have been begging for food and other basic needs to people around the city. The group organizes their friends and the charity work began by donating food items and school support to the group of kids who were residing in Kigamboni area.

Months later, a formal NGO around this group was formed—YOGAA (Youth Group Action Aid). With the well wishes and support of Fr Jerome Manyahi, Headmaster of Loyola High School, graduates went on to live out the School Motto and Ignatius spirit of Men and Women for Others.

As the organization expanded with more men and women getting involved, the idea of owning our own house came up. So a house was rented at Kigamboni, and the first group of seven boys (James Haule, James Mdota, Athumani, Mussa, Evarist, Ayubu, and Haji) were brought in, and embarked on their dreams of becoming independent and fulfilling their full life potential.

The young men were enrolled at Loyola High School. Their daily journey to school was approximately 15 km crossing the ferry, and taking daladala to this prestigious school. The journey was long, but so was their dream, as they were each determined to fight the poverty cycle and become successfully independent, through education.

In July 2006 Daudi Mboma, then Vice-Chairman of YOGAA, met Billy Bludgus—a volunteer and teacher at Loyola High School. Through their working relationship for the community service program at Loyola High School, Billy was introduced to the YOGAA initiative. Inspired by their work, in which he passionately supported and took part in, Billy established a Non-Profit in the USA to assist in raising funds for the House in Dar es Salaam. With combined efforts, a plot of land was purchased, and construction of what would be known as House of Blue Hope began at Mabibo. With the color blue reflective of color represented in both the Tanzania and USA flags, hope was brought about by two men from these two countries.

Soon after, Adam Weise, a friend of Billy Bludgus, joined Daudi Mboma and spent a little over a year supporting the young boys at House of Blue Hope. During this time, House of Blue Hope Trust was established as a trustee in Tanzania with a primary objective to continue raising funds to operate and sustain the “House of Blue Hope” for street children in Dar es Salaam.

Blue Hope strives to raise funds, grow networking opportunities, generate social awareness, and additional support for a variety of self-sustaining social development projects and programs to effectively fight social injustice at a grass roots level. As the late Mwalimu Nyerere, founder of our beloved nation Tanzania said, “Education is not a way to escape poverty, it is a way of fighting it.” Our efforts have focused primarily on addressing education and poverty among young boys and girls in Tanzania, in our efforts to eradicate poverty in the country.

Meet the Board

Kazmira Pedonesi

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Kazmira Pedonesi graduated from Florida International University with a MBA in 2007, and from the University of Miami with a BBA in Marketing in 2004. While at the University of Miami, Kazmira participated with fellow board members, Billy Bludgus and Scott Sadowski, on Executive Boards of student government and other service organizations. After college, Kazmira was eager to assist Billy’s work abroad with the House of Blue Hope and the growth and development of its kids. She serves as House of Blue Hope’s current President.

Kazmira lives in Austin, TX and works as a network engineer for Acadia Technology Group, an IT consulting firm.
 

Adam Weise

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Adam Weise attended the University of Miami, where he met fellow board members Scott Sadowski and William Bludgus. Shortly after graduating in 2007, the three of them climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser for what would soon become the House of Blue Hope. 

Struck by the importance of the cause, Adam moved to Dar es Salaam to live and work on the project full-time.  Adam is now a diplomat for the Department of State, where he has served in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Washington D.C.
 

Scott Sadowski

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Scott Sadowski graduated from the University of Miami in 2004 with a BBA degree in Finance. As a student, Scott worked on Executive Boards of several student and service organizations on campus with House of Blue Hope founder, Billy Bludgus. In addition to serving as a Board Member, Scott serves as House of Blue Hope’s Vice President of Finance and Vice President of Programming. He works closely with our budget and audit, fundraising efforts, as well as the many events hosted by House of Blue Hope throughout the US.

Scott lives and works in Florida as an equity research salesperson at the broker-dealer Gabelli & Company, Inc and as an external wholesaler at Gabelli Funds.
 

Billy Bludgus

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William Bludgus founded the House of Blue Hope during a three-year stint living and teaching in Tanzania as a volunteer after college. During his time in Tanzania, he recognized the vast gap in life opportunities between kids who have access to education and those who do not. Along with our Tanzanian colleagues, he oversaw the feasibility studies, fund raising, planning, construction of our facility, and implementation of our programs.

He lived in House of Blue Hope’s first house for several months with the inaugural group of boys before moving back to the U.S. in 2008. Billy currently lives in San Jose, CA, where he serves as the Dean of Student Life at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School. He graduated from the University of Miami in 2005 with a B.S. in Mathematics, Education, and German, and from Fordham University in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Education Leadership, Administration, and Policy. He is currently completing his doctorate in Catholic Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco.

Billy travels back to Tanzania every summer to evaluate the project, explore expansion opportunities, and spend time with the staff and kids of Blue Hope.
 

Liam Ahearn

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Liam Ahearn graduated from Georgetown University in 2005 with a BA in Economics and History. At Georgetown University, Liam was also the Director of Community Service for the college’s local chapter of the Society of Collegiate Scholars. He has been a board member of the House of Blue Hope since 2011.  He became involved in fundraising for the House of Blue Hope in its initial years through his friendship with founder, William Bludgus and became more involved with the organization as he learned more about its purpose and intentions to help impoverished communities, in Tanzania, through education. Liam currently runs the annual House of Blue Hope golf outing and other events in the NYC metro area.

Liam works as a Managing Director at the Gordian Group in New York where he provides investment banking services to companies and creditors involved in distressed financial circumstances. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and three kids. 
 

Daudi Mboma

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Daudi graduated from the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar es Salaam in 2008 with an Advanced Diploma in Computer Science. While at IFM, Daudi teamed up with other Loyola High School graduates and started a group known as YOGAA (Youth Global Action Aid). The group aimed to support street kids around the college campus which is located at the heart of Dar es Salaam city center. During holidays, Daudi volunteered by supporting Billy Bludgus in community development project at Loyola High School.

It was then that they decided to join forces and formed House of Blue Hope. Daudi lives in Dar es Salaam and works at the Dar Institute of Technology. He has just finished his Master’s degree in IT & Management at IFM.
As a government employee he is involved in number of government projects including The ICT for Secondary School Teachers (Ministry of Education) and the Vocation training and Telemedicine project (Ministry of Health and Social Welfare).

 

Bill Drogemuller

Bill Drogemuller graduated with a masters degrees in Education and Educational Psychology. Following school, he was a teacher for ten years followed by ten years in business. Realizing his passion as in education, he returned to work as an elementary and high school counselor for twenty-two years. Bill has always had an interest in children who had struggles. First as an advocate for children with “ learning disabilities”, then as a counselor with students considered “at risk” as it pertained to personal/social issues as well as academic struggles.

As a board member, Bill has been involved in research on children with albinism, HIV children, attachment disorder issues, and career interest surveys.
 

Dan Pedonesi

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Dan Pedonesi graduated from the University of Miami with a BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering in 2004. After graduating from the University of Miami, Dan’s work took him to Southeast Asia, where he and his wife lived for a couple of years in Singapore. The opportunity to spend time traveling and working throughout Indonesia, Thailand, India, etc. brought a whole new perspective to needs and challenges that face the world. Dan is a board member of the House of Blue Hope, and is proud of the work that the organization does to overcome the challenges and provide opportunities for those in need.

Dan lives in Austin, TX and works as a network engineer for Virtu Financial.
 

JaNeika & JaSheika

James

JaNeika and JaSheika James graduated in 2003 from the University of Florida with Bachelor Degrees in Telecommunication. Introduced to House of Blue Hope through board member, Liam Ahearn, as well as President, Kazmira Pedonesi, the ladies immediately identified with House of Blue Hope’s mission to help eradicate poverty through education. JaNeika and JaSheika joined House of Blue Hope as board members in 2017, and currently serve as part of the Communications Committee. 
JaNeika and JaSheika are currently Producers on Fox's hit series, EMPIRE. 

 

Ashly Witkowiak

Ashly Witkowiak is a psychotherapist/mental health professional and House of Blue Hope board member who works especially close with the children, dedicating her services and expertise. 

With her knowledge of child development and the development of the family over the life span; Ashly focuses on helping House of Blue Hope children and their families reach their full potential. 
 

Claire Stadhouder

Born in Australia and raised in the Netherlands, Claire Stadhouder has traveled the world and lived in several countries. She now lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 2 young boys. She has a background in art and event organizing in both the Netherlands and the UK. With a life long passion for psychology and what motivates people, she is now a coach specializing in Mindset and gives workshops to elementary school children about mindfulness and growth mindset. It has always been a dream to help children less fortunate by educating them, giving them tools and hope for a different future. It was therefor an absolute honor and privilege when she was asked to join the board of House of Blue Hope in 2020. The dedication and drive the organization has for these children is inspiring and she is excited to contribute to this worthy and wonderful cause.
 

Paola Weise

Paola Weise graduated from PUCMM in the Dominican Republic with a law degree and a Master’s in Business Law from Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Paola worked as a corporate attorney for multinational companies - representing and advising them in their multimillion dollars operations, projects and investments in the Dominican Republic. She is currently working in the Grant Management Unit of the Public Affairs Section in the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. In 2016 Paola visited House of Blue Hope as part of the annual trip to Tanzania, she immediately fell in love with the kids and the mission, back then, of opening a new house for girls; she kept in touch with HBH as a donor and followed all the developments closely. In 2018, Paola returned to visit HBH and this time she decided to get more involved in the decision-making and in the lives of, the now, boys and girls of HBH as a board member. Paola’s legal background brings a unique skill set to the team.

Kevin Kennedy

Kevin Kennedy is an attorney living in South Florida with practice areas in Real Estate Litigation, Community Association work and Civil Litigation. After graduating from Nova Southeastern University in 2008, Kevin went on to open his own law firm in 2010.

Kevin graduated from the University of Miami in 2004, with honors. While attending UM Kevin formed lasting friendships with other HBH Board members (Billy Bludgus, Scott Sadowski, Adam Weiss, and Kaz & Dan Pedonesi).  As an undergraduate, Kevin worked on several student and service organization executive boards.  Kevin has been a longtime supporter and donor for the HBH and is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to assist the Board and help the children of Blue Hope.