Well I have been back in the states for just over a month. In some ways Africa seems like just yesterday and in some ways it seems far too long ago. Coming home was truly bittersweet. I had to leave Neema the little girl who captured my heart so quickly but I was able to return home to my friends and family who I love so dearly as well. I actually returned home to find out that a very dear friend was sick. She’s doing better now but it is truly such a lesson for us when someone we love is ill. We are all so blessed to have the ones we love in our lives, and even more so we are blessed to be loved in return.
Coming back I knew that I had to do more than just put Neema through school. That effort, as amazing and life changing as it is, seems so small and easy to do at this point. School is set-up, I e-mail back and forth with the principle to check in on her and send my love, and I’m already counting down the days until I can be back in Africa and she how she’s grown.
It was time to dream big- so I called in the reinforcements- my girlfriends! And last week, after dinner and while sitting around Kiara’s coffee table we (Ashley, Kiara & I) signed the articles of incorporation and the NEEMA Foundation was formed. I don’t have grandiose plans of changing the life of every child in Africa- instead it is much more of a bottom’s up approach- working to change the lives of children, one at a time, day by day. There are a lot of other non-profits so why not just join them you might ask? Well, there are very few established non-profits in the area of Africa that I visited. Those that do exist there are just like the Neema foundation- a small group of very passionate people doing it day by day, dollar by dollar. Most of those non-profits are also focused on a specific population, either an orphanage or a specific school. And although we will have strong partnerships with both types of organization I wanted to keep our charter a bit more broad so that we can work to improve the lives of all children in Africa. Our mission is simple- help get more kids into school and help get these kids access to technology. And I think there are a lot of people out there who are looking to make a difference and to really SEE the difference they are making- and we can provide that!
I won’t go into full charter and programs here as we are still ironing everything out. What I will do though is ask for your support. We need volunteers & we need $$$$. J We are still in the process of getting our 501c3 status from the IRS so were actually not really asking for donations yet but we are asking for pledges. Actually to get our 501c3 status we have to be able to demonstrate that there is interest in the non-profit and that we will be able to raise enough funds. Getting pledges from people like you will really help us to do that. Our donations will go towards education and providing the kids access to education materials and computers. The first money raised will go to buy computers for Ebenezer Primary School.
We are also trying to fill an immediate need for the school in Africa- they have asked for 100 math sets. You can purchase a set from us for $10 and we will ship it to them. You can even have your kids send along a letter or picture to the kids if you want them to know who donated it J Our goal is to buy ALL 100 of these sets in October! It’s a great project as even kids can pitch in some allowance and help change the life of a child in Africa!
Please consider buying a math set & also making a pledge towards the foundation. If you are interested you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll then send you info about buying a math set (again just $10) as well as how to make a pledge. Because the goal is actually to get as many people involved as possible we ask that you only buy one set per person (3 per family) and then pledge any additional funds that you are interested in giving. This will help us to get more people involved with the organization and will also really get us off to a strong start to get those computers!
Thank you so much for all of your love and support. This dream started with the wish to change the life of one little girl, but together we can change the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Tanzania.
SALAMU KWA MPENZI WAKO,
(With love from my heart,)