Happy 2010! As we embark on a new year, the entire Givology team has very ambitious goals to raise more funding and support for students across the globe. As you can see in this newsletter issue, we’ve set our own new year's resolutions. With the devastating earthquake in Haiti on our minds, every dollar counts towards making a difference. Our partner in Haiti – La Vallee Community - is raising funds to reconstruct three local schools in the community that have been destroyed, and Givology chapters throughout the world have mobilized in solidarity!
This past winter vacation, I traveled to Uganda to visit the Circle of Peace School in Kampala, Uganda, one of Givology’s partners. After 15 years of transformative work in the community to provide education to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford tuition, the Lower Campus of the Peace School faced sudden eviction by its landlord, resulting in a scramble to raise funding to transfer and build the pre-K through third grade classrooms to the Upper Campus.
Having never traveled to Africa before, I didn’t know what to expect. Little did I anticipate that three weeks could inspire me so much! The immense love of Peace School community transformed the way I view the world. When we visited the villages, spoke and did activities with the children, and shared stories, I felt an immense amount of sadness that there was so much unmet need, but at the same time, witnessed how every little bit makes a difference.
I have so many stories that would be impossible to capture in this newsletter. For this reason, I invite you to follow my blog in “Notes from the Field”, where each day, I post a new entry from the detailed journal that I kept while in Uganda, along with pictures and short video clips. These blog entries capture each day at the Peace School and the discoveries I experienced.
For all Givologists who sponsored the Peace School, thank you so much! We met many of the students sponsored by Givology, and took more hundreds of photos and hours of video footage, which we’ll make available on our site.
To learn more about the relocation of the Lower Campus and the history of the Peace School, please click here.
With Best Regards,Joyce Meng,
**The project profile picture shows the high school before the earthquake.
When the magnitude 7.0 earthquake--the most powerful to hit Haiti in a century --struck Haiti on January 12, almost all of the schools within its quake zone have been damaged or completely destroyed. Due to the instability of all the buildings, the Haitian students are without schools and many of them have been left homeless, forced to live outside.
**Image provided by Washington Post.
This is not a picture of the school in La Vallee Community.
Tens of thousands of people are feared dead in Haiti's catastrophic earthquake, buried beneath demolished buildings, and traumatized citizens milled in streets strewn with rubble and scattered bodies. It's nearly impossible to track the exact number of deaths, making it much harder for the families to identify the wheabouts of their children. This project will be dedicated to the rebuilding and repairing of the schools in the La Valle/Jacmel region of Haiti in order to provide hope for Haiti’s future.
Though there is a great influx of relief funds to Haitian governmentt, it will take much time for the funds to reach local schools, if at all. The immediate need is to repair and rebuild the school structures in order to allow the children to return to school. Many of these children rely on the school lunch as their only meal for the day.
Click here to learn more about the project and how you can help.
Nicole Vournazos, Letter Campaign Intern
I am excited to note that the letter campaign has grown a lot over the past few weeks. We have tripled the number of online donor messages to Givology students and collected over 65 handwritten letters that will be personally delivered to the Givology students. As Givology continues to expand and sponsor more students, I hope we can continue to meet our target goal of 1-2 letters per child.
The letter campaign will also serve as an integral part of Givology’s high school, college, and regional chapters as they grow. Each Givology chapter will now have the letter campaign on a part of their potential agenda’s this coming Spring. In addition, over 15 college microphilanthropy clubs have been invited to join the Givology mission. The idea behind this is that we want involve other students in the letter campaign as well so we can give to learn and learn to give together –just like the Givology mantra states.
It truly has been a wonderful experience watching the letter campaign grow. I had the privilege to watch a letter drive at my school –students wrote handwritten letters to Givology students. I put some low-key music on and hung student profiles on the wall. Here, American students had the chance to see the wide variety of challenges that the Givology students faced. After reading, the students at my high school choose student profiles and wrote messages, drew pictures, and used colored paper to create letters. Each student did this differently; some wrote many letters in a matter of 5 minutes, while others wrote lengthy messages for 20 minutes. It was touching to hear a freshman, just fourteen years old, discuss how she wanted to help Maria, one of the Givology students. In just thirty minutes I saw an empty bin become filled with letters and the perception of many of my peers change.
One of my favorite letters was from Sam to Shangwen. Below are short excerpts from her letter. She writes:
Education will lead to a bright future. Good luck with your studies this year. Stay in school –it is the way to success. I know you may face difficult times but keep your head held high. You can do anything you set your mind too and I know with hard work, you can accomplish anything.
I know the American students are anxious to hear back from the Givology students. I cannot wait to see the relationships that the students develop.
Founded in October of 2009, the Canyon Crest Academy High School Chapter of Givology, called “The Raven Conspiracy” as a Giving Team, has already been extremely active and passionate as an organization on campus.
In December, the chapter sold holiday bread, old books and clothing, bake sale items, and provided face painting and live guitar as entertainment at the annual sweep meet at their high school. In total, they raised $182 to donate to Givology, getting the member involved as well as raising awareness about the cause.
One of the chapter’s long-term projects has been forming a partnership with a school identified in India by Manita Singh, the Chapter President. Because her family is primarily from India, it has been easy for her to visit the school. Manita says, “I have experienced firsthand the depth of the poverty and lack of education to children who really want to learn. I noticed that Givology has only one partnership with a school in India. I then embarked on a quest trying to find schools in India who want to be affiliated with Givology and fit the criteria of an eligible partnering school.” With a week, Manita has already had several leads with missionaries, government officials, and direct phone numbers.
The Givology Chapter at Canyon Crest Academy has been extremely active so far and we are incredibly excited to see what they will be working on next!
Fatinah is a student in Educate!’s Socially Responsible Leadership Course in Uganda. She is an ambitious yet realistic young entrepreneur, seeking ways to help out the community whenever possible. yet living with eight other family members on family income as low as $530 makes Fatinah's dream of becoming a teacher, let alone annual education, an even unimaginable task. Fatinah's aspirations and activism within community are truly promising to not only Fatinah, but also those around her, because she is devoted to ameliorating her local environment and we are confident that students like Fatinah are the ones who have the definite will and potential to make a change in their world.
To resume her annual education, Fatinah will need $350, an amount that can be fulfilled with small donations that begin with one person's willingness.
Click here to find out how you can help Fatinah!
Givology thanks Kavya Shankar and Nicole Hwang!
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