In the last several months, four different groups have come to Tanzania to visit Your Sisters, volunteer, and to experience the adventure travel of this amazing country.
Off to a Great Start in the New Year!
As 2014 is underway, we are grateful for the progress we have made this past year and are filled with promise for the year ahead. We could not make it all happen without the support of our sponsors and donors…thank YOU!
Since mid-December we have been back in Tanzania working our three program areas:
Your Sisters Orphanage for Girls
A new year and a wonderful new school. The girls have started at St. Margaret’s and already we are seeing improvements in their studies. Read our “Latest Update” on our Orphanage page for more details. Expanded bedroom accommodations are still planned for the girls once we have additional funding.
Creative Community Program
Our program room is complete! We are now able to help more women learn or improve their sewing skills so that they may become more economically self-sufficient and give them hope for a brighter future. Already this year, we have interviewed and welcomed eight more ladies into the program. Read our “Latest Update” on our Creative Community Program page. In addition, we will be introducing three new creative Your Sisters products to compliment our signature Heart Bags.
Volunteer and Travel Program
We will soon be rolling out our new Summer and Winter itineraries. Whether volunteering time at Your Sisters, participating in a women-focused cultural experience, venturing on safari, or climbing up Mt. Kilimanjaro, we have something for everyone. Learn more about our itineraries under “Latest Update” on our Volunteer and Travel Program page.
These are just a few of the activities that we are working on in Tanzania. We head back to the states mid-March and look forward to re-connecting with you to share first hand our stories.
We are excited about the year ahead as we continue to make great strides on our vision at Your Sisters. Together, with your help, we can make incredible things happen.
With our love and appreciation,
Libby and Frank
Building Project Update
A year ago Your Sisters began building a small kitchen and program room to replace a dilapidated outbuilding. A lot of work has been completed since our last update. All exterior and interior walls, flooring and roofing are finished! We are able to use the program room for a temporary classroom while we actively campaign for funding to finish the interior, complete with plumbing, shelving, cabinetry, and appliances. (Pictured is our finished program room side!)
Orphanage for Girls
The girls are making great progress in school, learning English, mathematics, social studies, geography, and science. And…they are growing! In fact, we have decided to add a mobile dormitory to our existing site to help give the girls some room to spread out a little and have their own personal storage. This will alleviate the crowded, small bedroom with multiple bunk beds! Our long-term plan is to buy our own land and build a permanent facility with a dormitory for up to 25 girls. Until then…the mobile dormitory will give the girls some much needed breathing room!
Creative Community Program
Your Sisters Creative Community Program has had a very busy year! With 12 women sewing full time, we have been able to make a significant presence in the local marketplace. Both gift shops and safari lodges carry Your Sisters items for sale. To date, we have sold over 1500 of heart bags. The sale of these bags have provided women with an solid income, making an impact on their own families. Our unique business model returns the profit from all sales back to the program and supports our long-term goal of becoming a self-sustaining organization.
Volunteer & Travel Program
Over the past year Your Sisters has welcomed eleven groups to Tanzania. They visited with the orphans, spent time with the women in the Creative Community, experienced incredible adventures on safari, mountain climbing, and the exotic beaches in Zanzibar. Watch for additional updates to learn more about volunteer and travel opportunities.
Libby & Frank in the U.S.A.
Since April, Libby and Frank have been back in the states with two objectives: 1) to welcome baby Grace into the world (she was born in July) and 2) to build on the solid foundation they have begun, taking Your Sisters to the next level! (Check out our current blog on the Fall/Winter Campaign we just kicked off!)
It’s an exciting time as so many people are getting involved. Your Sisters thanks you for taking part, too!
One Sunday afternoon, we took the girls out for a special outing across town for playtime, exercise and a picnic at Planet Lodge Park. There were no lack of smiles, screams and joy when seven girls walked (or really I should say ran) into park. Filled with trampolines, swings, slides, inflatable bouncing rooms and more…the girls had a blast! This is one of the few places in Arusha where the girls could squeal, laugh, and play in the grass for hours and hours! You can’t help but smile, too…take a look!
Read about Libby Bailey and Your Sisters featured in The Oregonian. Local newspaper in Portland, Oregon.
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!
We love hearing from our volunteers about their experience visiting Your Sisters in Tanzania. This especially heart-felt message really highlights the impact a visit can make and the picture below says it all…saying good-bye is sometimes hard.
Hi Libby and Frank,
Wow, it’s strange to be back in America. We have soooooo many luxuries and modern conveniences that are taken for granted here. Well, where to begin?
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 as well as the 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 and Your Sisters cannot help but fall in love.
Love you guys!! Please give the girls my love.
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!
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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!!!
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