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!
- 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