Open Doors Education Scholarship Foundation

To help disadvantaged students in South Africa access and benefit from the power of education so that they may give back and bring changes to their communities.
Sep 4, 2012

News from Cape Town

Simphiwe and His Artwork
Simphiwe and His Artwork

Dear Supporters of Open Doors Foundation,

Summer is a time for adventures.  Three summers ago, members of Open Doors Foundation first set foot inside Masipumelele (Masi) and Ocean View (OV) – two underprivileged neighborhoods on the outskirt of Cape Town – and saw the possibility of helping these communities through higher education.  This summer, one of our teammates, Tim Sun, went back to South Africa, and brought back with him encouraging news from the ground.

To date, eight students have received scholarships from Open Doors.  Our 2011 scholarship recipient, Simphiwe from Masi, is one of the top students in his class at University of Cape Town, Michaelis School of Fine Art.  Antonio, one of our 2012 recipients from OV, is receiving first-rate grades at the Mathematics program at University of Cape Town.  Buhle and Zintle, both from Masi, are exceling in their respective programs at University of the Freedom State.  Still others, Philiswa, Mkuseli, Anathi, and Mwande, have used their scholarship to purchase supplies to aid either study or preparation for reapplication to universities.  In general, funds have been dispensed for expenses such as registration, books, and laptops.  While our scholarship cannot cover the cost of education in full, it does provide a much needed relief to financially constraint families.  In his conversations with students, Tim noted the excitement current high schoolers showed upon learning about our scholarship, and the appreciation current recipients expressed for the support the scholarship provided.

All this would not have been possible without you.  We at Open Doors are truly grateful for your generosity.  To ensure that your funds are creating the most impact possible, we have worked closely with local non-profits such as IkamvaYouth and MasiCorp in recipient selection as well as scholarship distribution.  Tim’s trip this summer further strengthened our partnerships, and opened up the possibility of creating an on-the-ground non-profit that is directly affiliated with Open Doors to better coordinate fund flow.

This coming year is teeming with new opportunities.  During his stay in Cape Town, Tim got to talk with volunteers that are currently serving in Masi and OV, and many of them expressed a keen interest in continuing their ties with these townships by joining Open Doors.  We look forward to welcoming them into the Open Doors community.  Back home in the United States, Open Doors was selected in Global Giving’s website redesign program.  We are set to work with a team of talented students from the College of Arts at Kennesaw State University this fall to revamp our website.

Although this summer is drawing to an end, our adventure of helping communities through higher education continues.  We at Open Doors invite you to stay with us on this journey: “like” us on our Facebook page, donate through GlobalGiving, visit our revamped website once it’s ready, and be sure to tell friends and family about this cause that you support.  However you wish to contribute, we feel lucky to have you on board.

Antionio at UCT
Antionio at UCT
Masipumelele Library
Masipumelele Library
Jun 7, 2012

Spring Update for Open Doors Foundation

To the Open Doors family:

Spring is once again upon us! We have been busier than ever seeking new ways to improve our reach and be more effective not only with fundraising, but also on the ground. Many exciting ideas have been tossed around by our team and we look forward to this fundraising and scholarship cycle!

In our last update, we announced our scholarship recipients and wired their scholarships to South Africa. The students have received theses funds and have been putting them to good use. We are paying for tuition, books, transportation costs and even meal stipends. However, more important than these contributions, we are investing in the futures of these qualified young individuals. They know they have our support and are fully intent on honoring their commitment to their community of support. Many students will be coming back to the Masiphumelele area for their first extended break this summer. It will be great to have them all together again and share their experiences with the younger students in the community!

Aside from these great developments in South Africa, we have had a lot of congratulatory news on our administrative end as well. One of our core members, Amy Wang, recently finished up her undergraduate career at Harvard University. Another core member, Tim Sun, was accepted into the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We congratulate them on these momentous events and thank them for their support for the Open Doors Foundation.

Lastly and perhaps most excitingly, Tim Sun will be going to South Africa this summer to the Masiphumelele area. We are excited for one of our core members to make his return to the area that we are working for. Not only are we excited to see the difference that you helped create, but it will be a great opportunity to really entrench our support for the community and the students. This will be a chance to show them our dedication and our support in person!

We thank all the donors that really made all this possible, for both us as an organization and the students that we support. We really couldn’t do anything without your generosity and kindness. Our core purpose remains the same, using education to better communities from within.

We thank you once again for choosing and supporting our cause to make a difference in the world.

The Open Doors Foundation Team

Mar 12, 2012

An Update from the Open Doors Foundation!

The Masi Library, one of our vital local partners
The Masi Library, one of our vital local partners

Dear Open Doors supporters,

We hope your 2012 is off to a great start! The New Year has brought several exciting developments for our organization which we are looking forward to sharing with you.

Since our last update in December, the college application season began and completed in South Africa. Our 2011 scholars did incredibly well in this process and will be enrolling next fall in a range of institutions including the University of Cape Town, the University of the Free State, the University of the Western Cape, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The scholars cannot wait to start their college careers and are thrilled to have an opportunity not available to most of their peers: the chance to pursue their passion, whether nursing, accounting, social sciences, or information technology, in a university setting.

We have wired the funds for our students over to South Africa. The scholarships are being distributed and monitored by our local partners, dedicated individuals in the education field who have worked closely with the students and have played a vital role in their educational growth over the years. Through these scholarships, your donations are helping to cover the costs of tuition, room and board, and school supplies for these students. They (and we) cannot thank you enough!

Open Doors has also seen several major internal developments over these past few months. Our team has been restructured for increased efficiency and focus. Volunteers now either serve as part of the Board of Directors helping to plan and execute fundraising efforts or sit on the Core Team developing our larger organizational vision and strategy. Efforts are also underway to register Open Doors as a trust fund in South Africa thus making it easier to get our scholarships to South Africa and to manage them.

Finally, a large focus of our team has been thinking critically about needs on the ground in Masiphumelele and Ocean View and how our organization, with its particular capabilities and mission, can tackle these issues in an effective and sustainable manner. From exploring innovative social-impact strategies to strengthening our partnerships with local organizations both here in the US and in South Africa, we are striving to expand our fundraising network and methods in order to better foster community development in South Africa. Stay tuned for exciting updates in this area!

As always, let us know if you have suggestions or comments about our efforts, especially our drive toward developing a more robust and self-sustaining operating model. We value your input and thank you sincerely for your continuing support.

Masi students in the Cederberg Mountains
Masi students in the Cederberg Mountains
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