Monday, November 10, 2014

We're in! Are you?

Hey there!

I'm going to assume that since your here today, you know a bit about what we do at No.41. Or that someone you know shared with you a bit about what we do and here you are. So, thanks!

We've got a great opportunity on our hands to feed 500 new students next year and we need your help.

I wanted to take some time and share with you why we do what we do. And why you should, too.

I'd love for you to know exactly what this means not just to the students, but to their families. And for their future. And for the future of Rwanda.

Nearly every country around the world has a school feeding program, and each day at least 368 million children from kindergarten to secondary school receive food at school. This massive figure indicates that governments recognize school feeding as an essential tool for the development and growth of school children, communities, and society as a whole, and as a social safety net. (via. World Food Programme)

So what are the benefits?

A meal gets students to school and keeps them there. There are a wide range of benefits associated with the school feeding, many of which extend beyond the classroom:
  • Safety Nets: School meals acts as income transfers for the household, helping families to educate their children and protect their food security in times of crisis. School meals support healthy development so children can become healthy and productive adults, breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty in the world’s most vulnerable areas. 
  • Nutrition: In poor countries, school meals are often the only regular and nutritious meals a child receives, acting as an investment in the child’s future. Without them, hunger and micronutrient deficiencies can cause irreversible damage to their growing brains and bodies. 
  • Education: A daily school meal provides a strong incentive to send children to school and keep them there. They allow children to focus on their studies rather than their stomachs and boost their education by increasing school enrollment and attendance, decreasing dropout rates, and improving cognitive abilities. 
  • Local Agriculture: Most food is procured locally, which benefits local farmers and the whole community while enhancing the sustainability of the program and makes healthier food baskets.
What does this mean for you?

I think it means we have a responsibility. Those of us who know nothing about the true meaning of "starving", have an responsibly to live a bit more simply, so that others may simply live.

You already know that we are feeding 1,200 students and teachers, every day, whose whole world has been changed by a feeding program we started at their school.

And now we've met some new students in Rwanda. They are hungry and their parents are trying, yet struggling, to feed them. We have the opportunity and the honor to partner with this school and their parents to make sure they get at least one hot, healthy meal every day.

I'm asking you to partner with us. We can meet this need. We can change their world, too.

Will you make a donation today, no matter how large or small, because where you live shouldn't define how you live? And no matter where you are, food should never be too much to ask?

To get started, we need 250 brand new sponsors at $10 a month. We are about 10% funded.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Around the House:: Baby Steps

This video of Tarison is a little over a year old. Now, the little man runs all over the place saying things like, “Mamma, coming”, “Hello, birds”, and our favorites “No” and “Stop.”

I love this video for so many reasons! First, it makes me stop and think about all that has happened here in the past year. Tarison is no longer a baby, but a very funny and active 2 year old. Secondly, you might not recognize all the voices in the background but they are some of our regular people, our family, Tash, Muhoza, Flora, and Fanny. Thirdly, and most importantly, I hear the sounds of encouragement and excitement coming from everyone in the room. 

I believe that when someone tries something new, grows a bit in an area, or is willing to learn something new our reaction should always be encouragement, excitement, and clapping. Just like when a child is learning to walk they are encouraged and cheered on to keep going and keep trying, I believe we as adults do the same thing or at least we should.

At 41 our ladies are making some baby steps of their own! They are realizing the importance of what they have been given or shown and are starting to take ownership of 41. As we all know being a leader among our peers isn’t always easy but being a leader when you have been told that you are not important, you lack resources,  or you don’t have a place makes it seem impossible. Some of our girls have had quite intense pasts and believing that they have value and something to give can be difficult. Despite this, some of our ladies are coming together to form leadership and responsibility teams. 

We sit every Friday and talk about the past week. Two weeks ago I was asking if they had heard or thought of coming up with an investment/small loan community among themselves. They told me that they had one in place for about 6 weeks! I was told who the president, secretary, and treasures were and how the system works. I was amazed! They told me that Tara had talked to them about this a long time ago but they hadn’t been ready to start one until 6 weeks ago. 

At that same meeting I was informed that not only do they have a small loan system set up they have managed themselves into responsibility teams for our daily operations. Normally, when a new order comes up I will meet with Xavera to discuss design, needed materials, etc. but she informed me that I would need to meet with the “design team” also. They explained that each lady was responsible for a job that contributed to the sewing project and that there were consequences for missing meetings or their assignments. Now, it’s been only 2 weeks but I haven’t, one time, had to ask if someone was doing this or not doing this, they are managing themselves! We are so proud of these baby steps that they are making and, more importantly, that they are realizing that they have value, what they are doing is valued, and that what they are doing should be done well.

So yes, we here at No.41 watch as they take these baby steps, clapping, cheering, and excited to watch them grow.