our story


In 2015, a small group of entrepreneurs came together with the goal of paying it forward and doing the most good.  With a vision of universal equality, a belief in the potential of others, and a commitment to making the greatest possible impact, we chose to focus our efforts where poverty was highest, and the dollar could go furthest – sub-Saharan Africa.

We began in the West African country of Burkina Faso in partnership with another non-profit organization, buildOn, with a focus on building schools to increase access to education.  We soon expanded independently to include clean water and food security projects to ensure other vital resources to development.  We established our first field office in Burkina Faso in 2017, and we expanded to the country of Malawi in Southeastern Africa at the start of 2020.

Today, The Sonder Project continues to work directly with communities in both Burkina Faso and Malawi through high-impact, sustainable development.  We strive to listen and work in solidarity with our global partners, to lift them and their future generations from poverty, until life’s opportunities are available for all of us to share.

what's in a name

Sonder is defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” Whether a character is the main protagonist, or simply an extra in the background, their story is equally powerful and meaningful. This concept reflects our core values, our global vision, and our belief in the potential of others. It is the ‘sonder’ project to bring out the stories of those who live in the margins and to ensure that they are given an equal opportunity to pursue happy, meaningful lives. It isn’t just for the main character to live happily ever after! The incorporation of a thumbprint in our logo reaffirms the unique quality and intrinsic value of every individual – especially those living in impoverished communities. It reflects the mark used by many members in our partner communities who are illiterate to affirm their commitment to our initiatives. Symbolically, it also marks the first step taken toward empowerment.

founding partners