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A New Young Leader Emerges

Your support is helping young adults in Nigeria get the mentoring support they need to become successful adults.  Bukola is one of the young adults that are already making a difference thanks to the mentoring program she was able to attend thanks in part to your support.  Bukola is a 15 years old, senior secondary school student in Lagos, Nigeria.  Read in her own words how she was able to make a difference in her community: “Ever since I attended S.M.I.L.E's Young Leaders Mentoring Program, I have felt a sense of responsibility and a compelling passion to make a difference within my immediate environment. In my school, we had a very serious challenge with environmental pollution caused by the giant heap of refuse located behind the academic block. The school authority had put in a lot of effort at disposing of this refuse regularly but with the very high student population, waste was generated rapidly. After a while, it seemed the Waste Management Agency was overwhelmed and avoided my school for months. This resulted in a mammoth refuse heap. I felt so concerned and compelled to do something, so I confided in our Vice Principal who also is my mentor and the coordinator of S.M.I.L.E's Young leaders' Club in my school. I also discussed this with members of the S.M.I.L.E. team. These three individuals were great motivators who encouraged me to go ahead with my intentions. I went to the waste management agency office in Ketu and was directed to their headquarters in Ijora. I presented pictures of the refuse dump to them at the headquarters and appealed that they come clear the refuse heap. They promised that the situation will be addressed and gave me a contact number for follow up. I had to call severally, reminding them of my request. At last, it was like a dream, after several attempts, the refuse truck finally showed up on a Thursday evening to clear the refuse. With so much joy in my heart, I decided to sweep the remaining refuse after the truck left to ensure the place was properly cleaned. Everybody was surprised yet very elated and relieved. I felt great and so happy that I was able to make an impact in my school. Students now regard me with great respect and teachers admire me and often use me as a reference point. However, that was only a part of providing a lasting solution to the waste management challenges in my school. The school is currently planning to procure sacks/bags so we can bag the refuse neatly to make it easier for waste management agency officials to pack, which we believe will encourage them to come around more often. Today, I am not only the deputy governor of the S.M.I.L.E Young Leaders Club in my school and the Vice President of Health and Life Planning Club but also the newly appointed Head Girl of the school. My profound appreciation goes to S.M.I..L.E for this laudable mentoring and leadership development program that provided me the necessary guidance and helped me discover my potential to make a great difference. My generation certainly needs more initiatives like that of S.M.I.L.E to guide the youth towards our destinies.” Thank you again for helping future leaders like Bukola make a difference.
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Over 100 children received school supplies - partnership with the GEED Foundation

Over 100 children in Benguema, Waterloo, Sierra Leone received school supplies through our partnership with the GEED Foundation. The school supplies that we provided were highly appreciated as part of the support provided to the community.

The Gilo Education and Economic Development (GEED) Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Sierra Leone with the aim of providing school materials and scholarship to kids. It also provides microfinance to women in Sierra Leone.

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Album Date: 
Sat, 12/09/2017
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Freetown Flood & Landslide Update: The Emergency Camps are Phasing Out

The flooding and mudslide in August was a terrible tragedy in Sierra Leone. Thanks to your support, over the past months, we have provided food, water, clothing and other basic supplies to the families in need. We have also provided psychosocial counseling and educational classes. We could not have done it without your support.  Thank you so much for helping flood-affected families in Sierra Leone.   After such a tragic event, the transition back to normal life is not an easy one. Because of this, and to help continue the process of helping, we organized a Fun Fair on November 11, 2017. This was a special treat for the kids residing at the Juba Response Emergency Camp. The Fun Fair gave these children a chance to enjoy an event and provide some healing from their traumatic experience. The event included a skit (play) and a musical concert by a well-known, young artist. More photos are available in the full photo album One of the main preventive measures highlighted in the skit was the importance of hand washing. Kids were encouraged to wash their hands before eating, after using the restroom. Parents were also encouraged to wash their hands before feeding their kids. The skit highlighted areas such as hilltops, the bank of streams and slums as dangerous areas people must stay away from to protect themselves and their children. Develop Africa’s Director, Mr. Abu Conteh, encouraged both the kids and parents to adhere to the preventative measures of cholera highlighted in the drama by the kids and also to stay away from vulnerable areas. In his speech, he advised parents to do everything in their power to send their kids back to school. “Education” he stated “is the key to every success of a nation. Education is the poor man’s friend.” These emergency response camps were set up on a temporary basis. Long term, keeping the families in tents is far from ideal. With this in mind, the families were informed several weeks ago that the camps would be phased out. Families were encouraged to accelerate plans to move out. In order to help them transition out, the families have started receiving care packages (money towards housing expenses, food, water, clothes and other basic supplies). “After the landslide, mudslide and flooding on 14 August 2017, camps of tents were set up to house displaced people. The Office of National Security (ONS) over the weekend engaged with displaced victims at the various camps in Freetown on dispatch plans and procedures for the closing down of the camps on 15 November 2017. The camps will come down and the victims will be removed from the camps.”  - Full Article from Awoko.org  Another news article states, "On 20 November the ONS announced that verified survivors who had not received their aid packages would be permitted to continue sleeping in the formal and informal shelters until they did."  -Full Article- Theguardian.com By November 22nd, at least 28 families had left the Juba camp, with more families leaving every week. Many of the families expressed a sense of powerlessness and uncertainty about their future.  We have obtained the cell phone numbers of many of the families. We plan to continue to provide support to them - particularly in the area of scholarship assistance for the children. These families truly need all the support that they can get as they try to start life over.
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Supporting Schools With Supplies in Cameroon in Partnership With The US Army

We are so very thankful for the opportunity to partner with the US Army in Cameroon

 

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Album Date: 
Mon, 11/27/2017
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Cameroon Students are Enjoying School

The students at Bitame Lucia Nursery and Primary School (BLIS) are enjoying school thanks to your ongoing support that has provided school supplies, books, and scholarships for them.  Since school reopened, the older students are enjoying playing sports and excitedly learning in school.  The nursery students love playing, exercising on the playground and also learning in their classrooms.  The kids are so grateful for the opportunity to learn and prepare themselves for a bright future.  Thanks again for making a difference for these deserving children in Cameroon and helping us and the school achieve the mission of providing the children with an opportunity to receive their education.  Your continued support to help us provide scholarships, school supplies and needed school improvements is greatly appreciated.
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Future Freetown Leaders Start New School Year

Thanks in part to your ongoing support, more future leaders received scholarships for this school year.   A total of 51 students received scholarships to go to school this year.  There were 23 students in primary school and 28 students in secondary school that received scholarships for school.   Some parents in this part of the world find it financially difficult to send their children to school. The scholarships made school possible for each of these students. School materials like books, bags, pencils, crayons and also solar lights were distributed to some of the beneficiaries. Several beneficiaries are: Agnes who just started class 6 and hopes to be a banker when she completes schooling. Joseph just started Senior Secondary School (S.S.S 2) and is working to be an Engineer when he completes school Joy who is now in class 6 and would like to be a doctor when she grows up. You have helped make an impact on multiple schools and many children's lives with your support. We deeply appreciate your kind assistance. We are thankful that we are doing our part to prepare them for a brighter future. Please join us in providing more children in need with uniforms, school supplies, and scholarships.   
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Most of The Trees We Planted are Growing

We are delighted to report that most of the trees we planted have taken root and are growing. You can see some of the growth in the included photo. You can see more photos in the full album.   Tree planting is a slow process that takes years. So we are not expecting large immediate results.  Unfortunately, some of the seedlings withered out and died.  So we are planning to do some more planting in the next 1-2  months to replace the ones that withered away. Since we launched this project, in August, Freetown experienced a heavy rainfall season. Torrential flooding and landslides resulted in over 800 dead/missing.There is a dire need for reforestation and these recent incidents highlighted and confirmed the need for action n this area.  While there are hundreds of acres that need to be reforested, we are definitely on the right track. Your support is so very much appreciated as we continue to follow the steps recommended by the local Environmental Protection Agency.
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Microfinance Loan Ensures a Better Future for Tigidankay

Thank you for your continued support, which has enabled women like Tigidankay to have a better future for herself and her family. Our microfinance or microcredit loans give individuals a helping hand to get their businesses going or to help them grow their existing businesses.   Please check out the video of appreciation from Tigidankay  In the video she says:  "Hello, my name is Tigidankay and I am one of the microfinance beneficiaries. I used the money to expand my small business. I am retailing soap, sugar, and milk. I also sell perfume spray that I give out on credit and collect payment at the end of the month. The microfinance loan has helped me be able to take care of myself and my family. Thank you!” We are so thankful that we are empowering lives and helping them become self-sufficient.  We are overcoming poverty one family at a time. You can continue to help make a difference by signing up for a recurring donation. This will support microfiannce loans for more deserving women like Tigidankay.  Thank you again for making a difference!
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The Dream Home has Running Water!

Thanks to your support, the Dream Home children now have running water!  The funds from this project helped purchase a water tank, connect the well to the tank and install the solar pump.  This water supply will enhance cleanliness, providing better health and sanitation for the kids. This is a benefit that all children should enjoy and we are thankful that together we made this a reality. You can see an album of photos at this link in addition to the one below. You can see Felicia using the new water pump in this video.   Thanks so much for helping bring running water to the Dream Home!
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Project SAIL - 300 pounds of Books and School Supplies Collected

Sravya is a high school student in NC who collected 24 boxes / over 300 pounds of  'gently-used' school supplies to help educate kids in Africa.  

She started a non-profit organization named 'Project S.A.I.L.' - Student Alliance For International Literacy – http://www.ProjectSAIL.org - to conduct several drives in her area to collect educational materials. 

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Album Date: 
Mon, 10/23/2017
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