This is our newest program, and we’re extremely excited at the possibilities. Let me give you some background: Across Zimbabwe, girls without any other option are forced into early marriage to men who are abusive, unfaithful and, in too many cases, infected with HIV. We’re trying to change that. We’re trying to give them nothing less, and nothing more, than control over their own destinies.
How? Since “women’s work” doesn’t get you very far in Zimbabwe, last year, we trained two girls in welding and basic building techniques– from laying brick to pouring cement. Now, we’re expanding program to establish ZimGirls Welding and grow it into an independent company for future trainees. And we plan to make it a model and template for other microenterprises run by, and tailored to, dozens of young women orphaned by AIDS.
The former trainees, Sithabisiwe and Thandi, are working with the younger girls on welding, and they are lining up with amazing enthusiasm. Fortunately, the U.S. Embassy in Harare helped us purchase a second welding machine!
We are very fortunate to have been offered a bit of container space by a fantastic foundation in New York, and are about to ship three sewing machines over. Several of the older girls already know how to sew, and we plan to bring in a pattern maker to help them get started on a small business making school uniforms, which are in enormous demand.
We’re just getting started and still haven’t put in place the all-important training in skills like recordkeeping and marketing. But once we have the funding we need, we’ll be off and running.
Speaking of funding, then, we need to ask, again, for your help: Starting on November 1, we are competing in the Girl Effect Challenge sponsored by
Nike and the GlobalGiving Foundation. In order to become one of the twelve winning organizations – which will give us the funds we need for our girls’ training program - we need as many individual donations as possible during the month of November. Donations don’t need to be large. Since it’s the NUMBER of donations, not the total amount raised, that will catapult us to the top, even $10 will make an enormous difference.
To donate two ways – PLEASE, not before November 1 or after the 30th -
go to http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/building-girls-futures/ and follow the instructions.
Our goal is 1000 donations. So can you spread the word and ask your friends and family members to give our girls a helping hand? Every little contribution is worth a LOT to us. Let’s take these young women viral!
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Chair, Board of Trustees