Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good News, Not so Good News

We have had some very exciting news from one of our sewing centers.   The letter below is from Serigne Kandji, the cluster leader for the Millennium Village cluster in Potou, Senegal. The sewing center, Jigeen ca Waarwa, ("Women at Work") is in Leona. 

Girl working with tailor

Dear Judy,

Thank you once more for the great job you are doing to help alleviate poverty in Africa.  I just want to let you know that the sewing centre in Leona, Senegal, has now become autonomous. The committee is now capable of paying the tailor, the manager, meet the various expenses and remain with a profit. The initial fund has been totally spent, but the women have close to USD2,000 in their account.

The girls are learning well and we have plans of sending them to a training centre in Louga for a few days/weeks so that they can complete their training and get certificates. We will decide with the tailor when the right moment is. Once the training is complete, each of the girls will get a simple sewing machine on loan. I also personnally pledged to offer a machine as my contribution to what I see as a very noble cause.
With kind regards,

It is so encouraging to see one of our sewing centers become autonomous, which is the goal.  We hope we can help many more to reach this point. That's one reason we're so excited about the success of the GlobalGiving campaign to support the RockPads project at the Little Rock ECD sewing center.

Foyer Kuluje de Galbal
Unfortunately, everything does not always go so smoothly.  At our newest center, Kuludje ("Joy"), in Galbal, Niger,  it has been a very dry winter and food is extremely scarce.  

There are 23 students enrolled in the sewing and literacy program.  Most of the students are married women who are finding that with the drought, they don't have the time  for vocational training.  Trying to feed their families is a more urgent responsibility.  Also because of the drought, they don't have enough money to purchase the basic supplies needed for the program.

We have changed the class schedule so that the women can come in a little later.  Hopefully this will make it possible for more of them to attend.  We are still trying to come up with solutions for the financial challenges.  It is important for the success of the project that the women  purchase their own supplies, so we can't just donate supplies.

Why are we sharing this bad news with you? For three reasons:

  • We want all of our contributors to know that we are being completely open and transparent with you about how things are progressing with our various projects. We want to share all the news, not only the good news.  Eliminate Poverty Now values the trust you place in us to use your donation well.
  • We want to know any bad news ourselves, because otherwise how can we get better?
  • Finally, we realize what a great challenge we face. If eliminating extreme poverty were easy, it would have been eliminated a long time ago.

Hopefully, we will soon have better news to report from Galbal.


Pads for Peace Business Educates 2000 Kenyan Girls

Things have been going very well. Eliminate Poverty Now was successful in the GlobalGiving Challenge: more than 50 people have donated more than $4000. Based on our original budget, that was enough to pay for  sanitary pad kits for 160 girls in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

But wait - there's more: two fabric companies have offered to donate ALL THE FABRIC we need to manufacture the pads!  A.E. Nathan in New York is donating  all the fleece and flannel. Fabri-Quilt in Kansas City is donating all the nylon. Isn't that AMAZING?

And to top it off, Lilly Oyare - the founder and director of Little Rock Early Childhood Development Centre, where parents are manufacturing and distributing the pads - has arranged for the donated fabric to be shipped to Kenya by the U.S. Ambassador!

What does all this mean? It means that instead of providing sanitary pad kits for 160 girls, we'll be able to supply kits to 216 girls!

We couldn't be more grateful for this outpouring of generosity.