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.
We hope you are doing well! We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and kindness over these last several months. Due to the impressive uptick in the number of applications we received this summer, we are excited to announce we have increased our fundraising target to $16,000 to help put eight fantastic students through college. Our updated Global Giving page can be found at http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/scholarship-for-8-south-africans/.
Our seven newest scholarship winners exhibit not only academic excellence but also a desire to give back to their communities in concrete and meaningful ways. Their interests span a variety of fields from politics and accounting to social work and nursing but they are similar in their desire to use their tertiary education to improve the lives of those around them. Below are excerpts from winning applications so you can hear our scholars in their own words:
“No child deserves to be abused or restricted from their childhood. I plan to go back to every community that I’ve ever lived in and mak[e] sure that every child and family are doing ok. Everyone deserves to have a better future and a happy life.” Zintle, 2011 scholar interested in social work
"I believe that the only way I can… give to my community [is] by going to the libraries and schools to tutor all those kids who are determined to change their life so that when they reach grade 12 they can also be able to enter the tertiary institution and then change their lives and also the lives of all those who are around them." Mkhuseli, 2011 scholar interested in nursing
“I want everyone to… live happy lives in our community...We can do that if we could work together with the government because I believe that working together we can do more.” Mawande, 2011 scholar interested in politics
All of our 2011 scholars have submitted their applications to university and are slated to receive their scholarships in early 2012.
As the New Year unfolds, we are also rolling out a new fundraising initiative. While supplies last, donors who give $200 or more will receive an original painting from Simphiwe, our 2010 scholar currently studying art at the University of Cape Town! Simphiwe wanted to offer these paintings as a thank you to donors like you who are making tertiary education a truly viable option for students like him.
We would love to hear from you if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about our efforts. Thank you again for your support and have a wonderful holiday season!
Thank you so much for your donation to the Open Doors Foundation! With your support, our organization collected over $5000 from nearly 75 donors during the April fundraising challenge. This was more than enough to earn us a permanent spot on the Global Giving website!
We are also pleased to announce that Simphiwe, a 2010 winner, will be awarded his scholarship this coming summer to attend the University of Cape Town. The Masiphumelele Corporation, a respected institution in his community, has agreed to take charge of distributing these funds to Simphiwe and monitoring their use. Our remaining funds will be put towards supporting future scholarship winners.
In other news, Open Doors recently merged with the World Teach Alumni Initiative, a student-run group working in Ocean View and Masiphumelele that offers grants to fund student-led initiatives in these areas. Our organizations share a common goal of transforming these communities by supporting education and youth leadership, and we are excited to work together towards that end.
Looking towards the summer, our primary focus will be utilizing the World Teach volunteers who will be working in our targeted communities during the next few months. These volunteers will not only be essential in encouraging local students to apply for scholarships and grants but can also help them gather the resources necessary to successfully complete the application process.
We will send further updates about our progress as the summer unfolds through our website (www.opendoorsscholarships.org) as well as through Global Giving. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments about our work, definitely let us know. Thanks again for your help and support!