Hello from all of us at Your Sisters!
The last few weeks have been full of making special memories! We have had two groups of visitors out to Your Sisters, which always brings a lot of joy to the girls. They just love having new friends to play with and learn from. We are so proud of the girls and love seeing them grow each and every day. They are doing very well in school and have been learning how to read and write in English, do addition and subtraction, and much more. It’s so rewarding to see them advance, both educationally and emotionally. They are quite the little family! Their bond grows deeper each day and it is clear that they have found the security and love they need at Your Sisters.
We are committed to supporting them to find who they are as individuals and it is so beautiful to watch each girl develop and share their unique personalities with us!
At this time we are still very small, with only 7 girls, and we are not in a rush to expand. We are looking forward to the day we’re able to welcome more to our special family, but we want to make sure it is done in a strong and sustainable way. The girls that come to Your Sisters become our family and we are committed to them for life. Not just through grade school and secondary school, but really for and throughout their entire lives.
Our desire is to create a healthy learning and living environment for each of the girls, which also allows them to grow and thrive as individuals. Currently, all are sharing one small bedroom, which leaves no room for storage or a place for the girls to have any privacy. Over the last year, the staff has been able to manage with the very limited space, buckets of water for showering and doing laundry, no plumbing for a shower, and having the girls eat their meals on the floor, due to lack of space. Even though Your Sisters is abundant in happiness and love, there are things that are lacking and we are committed to changing this situation as soon as possible.
We are so grateful and excited to share that three of our girls have been sponsored over the last few weeks! We are very much looking forward to finding sponsors for our other four girls in the next few weeks. The support we have been blessed with fills our hearts and will continue to help us provide a very bright future to orphaned girls.
Your Sisters Project Update:
The builders have been busy at work over the last several weeks! We are excited to announce that our program room and kitchen exterior are 90% complete! This week, we plan to have the windows placed and the building painted.
In order to complete the project, we have a bit of work left to accomplish the interior. With your help we will finish and be on our way commencing our first women sewers working “On Site” in the Program Room. This will be the first step towards our overall long-term goals of helping women get a start, learn valuable skills, and build community with one another, as well as serve as mentors and role models for the girls at the orphanage.
There are several items we will need to ensure that the program room and kitchen are fully functional and can be used to their greatest potential.
Some of the items you can assist with include:
- Windows for Completing the Building: $1000
- Interior & Exterior Paint: $650
- Counters for the Kitchen: $500
- Outlets & Power Supply: $500
- Large Gas Cooktop for the Orphanage: $400
- Toilet, Sink, Mirror: $300
- Work Tables for the Program Room: $250
- Shelving: $200
- Shower: $200
We are aiming to have the full project completed by March 31st. If you are interested in helping us purchase any of the above items, please visit our donation page today.
We are also very much looking forward to sharing the exciting future developments Your Sisters has planned. We are looking forward to being able to give the girls their first shower, providing them with their own bed to sleep in, and much more.
Thank you for helping make each step of the way possible!
Our building is on the way up….Thanks to all of you for your help in making ALL that we do possible. Little by little, with each of you, we can move mountains! We love you!
We are so grateful for the support and help from our recent volunteers! Sam from South Africa, Clare from Australia, and Victoria from Australia. Thank you, Thank you!!!
Your Sisters Creative Community Program sure has been busy the last few months! Our focus is helping women in the areas of textile design and taking local jewelry making to the next level. Here are a few recent pictures with the women and volunteers!
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear brother, Todd Miller, whose kindness, love, and joyful spirit was shared with all of us here at Your Sisters.
On June 2, 2012, Todd Miller landed on Tanzanian soil to embark on a three-week adventure of a lifetime that would ultimately lead to the roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Bright-eyed, fit, and ready, he united with his dear friends, Bellamy and Kelly, here in Arusha.
As the coordinators of his trip, we came to love Todd instantly. After the first night of staying up late sharing life stories with friends, we came to see the depth of Todd’s big-hearted, open, and adventuresome spirit. Not more than 12 hours into knowing him, we felt such a kinship to this incredibly special man.
We were thrilled to arrange the group’s climb, and upon their return, Todd was beaming! Joy radiated from his eyes and infectious smile. He was on top of the world—he successfully met one of his life goals: summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro!
Although Todd and his group were eager to go on safari, they insisted on spending a few days with the young girls at Your Sisters Orphanage & School. Todd wasn’t so much focused on bringing the girls lots of stuff, he simply wanted to interact with the girls, witnessing and absorbing their daily lives. He enjoyed seeing and experiencing what goes on at this special place, what spirit fills the air, as well as the spirit that fills the hearts of all who are involved. Todd bonded quickly with the girls and all came to love him as a big brother.
During Todd’s time with us, we shared incredible memories together, playing, learning, singing, and laughing. In such a short time, Todd really became an extended family member. We felt a strong bond with this first group of travelers. Todd, Bellamy, and Kelly greatly impacted all of our lives here at Your Sisters.
We felt strongly that Todd would be a close brother for life and very much hoped he would find a way to come back to visit again, to see how the girls’ lives were unfolding as well as witness just how much our reach had expanded. We knew Todd would continue to be proud of all that our YourSisters.org was doing to improve the lives of women and girls in Tanzania, a land that had become so dear to him. By the time Todd was preparing to head back to the US, he was already planning his return.
Todd Miller will be dearly missed by all of us, yet we know his spirit endures brightly—like a brilliant comet in the sky.
To our generous, kind, patient, loving, and wonderful friend and brother. Your Sisters thanks you for everything.
With love and heartfelt appreciation from your Tanzanian family,
Your Sisters Girls & Staff.
To say that my experience in Africa was life changing would be a massive understatement. I didn’t realize until I came back home just how much my trip had affected my perspectives, outlooks, and overall goals in life. Africa has become a lens through which I now see the world. While living there, I encountered the good and the bad, profound joy, and overwhelming sorrow.
To become completely enveloped in a foreign culture is something too unique to fully describe. Every day, it seemed that something wild and exciting was thrust into my path, whether it be a new food, speaking Swahili, a crazy “dala-dala” ride, or a Maasai tribal ceremony! However, more than any adrenaline rush, the amazing people I met made the most lasting impact on me. Working with Your Sister’s Orphanage filled my days with love and learning. Those little girls taught me so much about compassion, tenderness, and joy. I looked forward to seeing them every day and left the Orphanage feeling enriched and fulfilled. The beautiful, rural location and the wonderful staff turned Your Sister’s into my home away from home. The dynamic scenery and people give the whole area a certain feeling of enchantment. I know that beautiful Africa and her people will forever be in my heart. So, be warned: Anyone who travels to Africa cannot help but fall in love.
-Tess H. (Summer 2012 Volunteer)
We are so grateful for the volunteers that brought down children’s books this month. The moment the books were delivered was priceless. The girls were so excited to have books of their very own for the first time. These books will help empower, educate, encourage, and teach each of them. Thank you volunteers for the fabulous books!
A couple weeks ago our volunteers knocked down our 23-year-old mud hut that was falling apart and had become unsafe. This left Your Sisters without a kitchen, one of the liveliest and most vital parts of any home or shelter. Though this was the safest thing for us to do, it left Mama Sion, the orphanage Head Mother, with only a small, temporary makeshift kitchen for cooking.
Now we need your help to build a new, safe kitchen where Mama and staff can prepare meals for the girls and family at Your Sisters. Plans have been drawn for a new Maasai roundhouse kitchen and eating hut, but no progress can be made until we receive enough funding. Our goal is to raise $15,000, the ultimate cost for the project, by the end of the month!
So here’s what we need from you.… a donation! Whether it’s $5 or $5,000, any amount will help Your Sisters build the replacement kitchen, program room and complete bathroom, each of which is vital to the progression and expansion of Your Sisters Orphanage!