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[You . Are . Known]

In today's world, it is so easy to feel unseen and unloved. Sawubona exists to ensure the "invisible" people of our community are seen, heard, and advocated for. 

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About Sawubona

There comes a time in everyones life where our eyes are opened, and we begin to see the humanity in every person. For some, it starts at a young age, but for others, it may take a life time. 

For my mom, sister and I, the founders of Sawubona, that realization happened at an early age because of the influence of our parents. Growing up, we had many opportunities to meet people of all backgrounds, and were taught that it was our responsibility to help whoever we could. Those lessons, along with our experiences growing up, gave us the vision to create a non-profit organization that loves on everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and many other factors that cause people to be marginalized. Sawubona is a nonprofit that aims to raise awareness and funds for those living in poverty in San Diego, California. 

Because there are so many different needs related to homelessness, we have chosen a few groups we know are doing specific and good work. Keep scrolling to find out more about them and ways you can help. 


“Sawubona: I see you
To us, the word Sawubona says to people, I know you, I see your humanity, and I see the fullness of your being. ”

— Mary Grabowski, President

Meet Our Team

Our Executive Team is made up of a mother and two daughter trio. Meet them below.

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Mary Grabowski. President

Recent University of San Diego Alumni, Mary is a full time teacher in Chula Vista, Ca. Her heart for those the Bible identifies as "the least of these" stems from the influence of her mom and dad. Her vision is to create a space where all people feel known and have the freedom to become their truest self.

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Gaby Grabowski. Vice President

Joanna is a current USD senior in pursuit of a teaching degree with her concentration in Literature. She just returned to the United States after working in Greece as a relief worker for Syrian refugees, homeless, and human trafficking victims. Her passion to share God's love and joy with every child and person being marginalized in the world is the motivation behind everything she does.

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Gabriela Grabowski. Operations Director

Gabriela is the driving force behind the passion of both Mary and Joanna. Growing up in a community where people worked to survive rather than thrive, Gabriela always dreamed of being successful in order to help others. As she established herself in all her business endeavors, she never forgot about the people she came from. The structure of the way Sawubona raises money has come largely from similar events Gabriela has done in the past throughout her daughter's lives. Sawubona is a manifestation of the lessons and passions Gabriela shared with her daughters.


Our Programs


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Since our first Saturday at Pancake Peeps our vision has been the same; to make the love of Jesus evident in the lives of those living on the streets of Downtown San Diego.


Our mission is based on four foundational pillars that really embody who we are. 

  • Agape Love

  • Safe Space 

  • Bridging the Gap

  • Life Transformation 

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Rebecca’s Chance is the manifestation of our dreams to create a space for children to learn in a safe and loving environment.


4 years ago, our founders met a little girl who changed their views on the world forever. Her smile was bright, her mind open, and her heart full. As we got to know her more, we realized that there were many basic needs keeping her from being able to reach her fullest potential academically, socially, and physically. While we tried our best to successfully meet those needs, our eyes began to open to the vast problem amongst the many children living in poverty and/or homelessness in San Diego. Rebecca's Chance is a program we created to help close the gap for these children by providing food, tutoring, and mentorship.

Want to support the great work being done in these programs?


To find out more about each individual program, as well as our amazing partners, and ways to get in touch with us, keep scrolling down.

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To learn more about this program, click the button below and be connected to the program website!

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Through consistent tutoring and mentorship we are helping children living in homelessness in the San Diego area close the educational gap.


Our Partners

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Aztecas has made it possible for us to make our pancake breakfast every Saturday for years. Without their constant and unconditional support, we would not be able to provide meals to all 340 of our friends each week.

Alpha Project

Alpha Project

”The mission of the Alpha Project is to empower individuals, families, and communities by providing work, recovery and support services to people who are motivated to change their lives and achieve self-sufficiency. The agency’s many programs are available to all persons in need regardless of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Click here to visit their website and see the other amazing work they are doing.”

University of San Diego Athletics

University of San Diego Athletics

Both Mary and Gaby are University of San Diego athletic alumni and played for the university softball team. Post softball careers’, the athletic department has been a huge supporter of these programs by providing volunteers from their teams and throughout their department. Click here to learn more about USD Athletics

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We have partnered with the Smart and Final in our neighborhood to get discounts on all the supplies we need to provide food for all 340 people each week. With their help we have been able to extend our menu from just pancakes to eggs, fruit, and the occasional hash brown!


Contact Us

Interested in finding ways you can get connected? Please fill out the form below and we will get back to you right away!


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