In February we updated you on the progress we've been making in our discussions with Engineers Without Borders on our 'One Brick At a Time' community development program and we have more good news to share.
Please share this update with people and organizations you are connected to.
We're Excited - We ARE moving ahead!
As you might have known our negotiations and discussions with Engineers without Borders have been going well and we have been recently been informed that the 'One Brick At a Time' program will now proceed, with the first visit, taking place in September of this year, which is spring in Bergnek. The Bergnek community and ourselves are certainly excited about what's taking place and are truly grateful to our partners and supporters at Engineers Without Borders for working through the process with us.
This is the next BIG step in helping the Bergnek community to achieve a sustainable water source as well as build out distribution and access, particularly for the children and the elderly in the community.
The BIG idea?
Unemployment is a huge problem in Bergnek and South Africa as a whole, for that matter. To address unemployment in Bergnek, Bergnek Community Projects and My Arms Wide Open® support the community to establish projects that connect over the immediate, medium and long term. The One Brick at A Time initiative is one that is more long term, and has a number of nearer term objectives included in it, such as the collaboration with Engineers Without Borders. Each project within the program will not only transfer additional skills into the community it will also provide additional employment in Bergnek, and help to generate the resources to address other priorities within the community including health-care and housing needs.
The program starts by addressing water access and distribution. The community needs a reliable power source and a larger water capacity. This is being addressed using solar-based pumps that can pump the volume available, which is more than the current pump can handle. The next project in the program addresses sanitation needs, particularly for children and the elderly. From there we extend infrastructure and with the increased water capacity have the ability to begin a brick making business to generate revenue and to enable the community to build much needed housing and a healthcare centre.
As you can tell, this is a BIG idea and the Bergnek community is intent on making it a reality.
We NEED your Help to BIG idea manifest in Bergnek
We need to raise 5% of the total cost of the program ourselves and need your help. That's a total of $7,500. Help us to get more and more people involved in the One Brick At a Time Program, which provides a direct benefit to the children and people of the Bergnek community in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
Can you make a new donation today or perhaps set up a monthly or quarterly recurring donation? Please consider it and take action today. The girls, women and children we serve are grateful for all of the support you have already given them.
Another form of contributing: There are also opportunities for you to join us in Africa to work alongside these truly wonderful people in the Bergnek community. Take a look at the EcoTravel link below for more information.
Thank you for your continued support of the women, girls and children of the My Arms Wide Open communities.
In our most recent report we talked about the progress we've been making with the One Brick at A Time program. We call it a program because it is actually a series of projects that lead to the outcome the community of Bergnek has established as their intent and goal for the program overall.
Over the holiday season the application with Engineers without Borders proceeded from the local chapter level in the United States to the National level. The community has been proactive and responsive to the questions they've been asked and additional information required to support the proposal and things are looking very favorable for an overall approval very soon. We will certainly be posting more on this as soon as news becomes available.
Help this BIG idea manifest in Bergnek
Help us to get more and more people involved in the One Brick At a Time Program, which provides a direct benefit to the children and people of the Bergnek community in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Please forward our reports/emails and ask friends and family if they would like to support the My Arms Wide Open's programs.
We are excited to share our latest project update and report with you. We have lots of activity taking place that supports the Bergnek Communities goals to create employment through the One Brick at a Time project.As you know the project is not just about establishing a brick-making business in Bergnek. It's about establishing the brick-making project as an anchor in the community to create a sustainable business that generates revenue to support a whole host of initiatives within the Bergnek Community. These include:
Over the past few months we have been working hard to come to an agreement with Engineers Without Borders, in the United States as we reported earlier. We are very happy to report that we have completed the project planning paperwork and submissions. Our next step is to break the overall project, which is sizeable, down into three projects that will each be implemented in 2014 and 2015. The chapter supporting the project is getting everything ready to present to Engineers Without Borders, USA for approval.The commitment My Arms Wide Open has made is to raise 5% of the total costs of the over-arching project directly, in support of the community. That’s where we need your help and support. Please support the women and children of Bergnek and make a donation today. If you can make a recurring donation, that is greatly appreciated by the women and children of Bergnek. Together, we can do this and support a highly disadvantaged community to sustain itself in the long term. Thank you for your ongoing support!
One of our biggest challenges in getting our 'One Brick at a Time' project to a point where we can begin work is in establishing a direct, reliable and sustainable water source.
Well pumps and reliable water sources
In 2011 we funded the installation of a new pump and well in Bergnek. With the help of the City of Polokwane we have been able to maintain that pump and keep the water flowing enough to support only the basic needs of the community. Last year we were able to get a second pump installed too.
Unfortunately this year we had a breakdown in the equipment and the person supporting the maintenance of the pumps was not able to repair it and the city could not commit to costs for the new parts needed. We have since stepped in and provided the funding for the parts to restore the pump, however the community had gone without water for nearly two months before we where made aware of the problem. This has forced us to find other solutions as the volume of water is now only back at the basic needs level.
Partnering for success
Over the past few months we've been in discussions with a number of other organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, to find the partners we need to fund the much needed infrastructure needed for this project to ultimately be successful. Negotiations are going well and we are almost at the point where we have a commitment to fund the purchase of a much larger well pump as well as the solar power to keep the pump running sustainably going forward. We will publish an update as soon as we have a firm commitment from Engineers without Borders, who have now had representatives visited the community.
We need your help
We are grateful for your continued support. This is an important project for the community to build housing, a medical centre and provided much needed employment. Please support the project in any way you can. Think about joining us on one of project trips as part of our Eco-Travel initiative. Visit our website for more information about the Eco-Travel and we will also give you more information on how you can make a portion of your trip costs a deduction by contributing through the GlobalGiving project.
Thank you for all you do.
Progress in our fundraising campaign for the Bergnek community Projects, One Brick at a Time initiative have been slow as far as the online campaign itself goes. Work we are doing in other areas is ramping up and will ultimately support the One Brick at a Time project.
The need is real and it is not going away. We need the means to build more housing that meets some reasonable requirements and standards to provide safe and adequate housing for the community of Bergnek. The community is in desperate need of a formal health clinic that can properly service the needs of the community in general but more importantly in pre- and post-natal care as well as infant and care for mothers.
Those of you that are involved in the My World In a Garden - Sister Walls program will see an update there this week too which will give you insight into how we are connecting our programs providing support for the overall community needs within the Bergnek community.
A large part of the 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' program is not simply the establishment of the walls but the fund raising part of the program that is ongoing to support both additional walls in South Africa and North America as well as creating funding to support other community initiatives such as, 'One Brick at a Time'.
When we build 'My World, My Garden, Vertical Food Wall Systems' in North America we sister those walls with the community walls we have in South Africa. In this case it is the 'My World In a Garden, Bergnek' project. We then 'sell' each of the plant spots in the North American wall for a quarterly donation of $15 working to get each of the 2,500 spots in the wall 'sold' and supported with a total of $60 per year. Half of the funds raised go to support new initiatives and the maintenance of the wall at the Ray-Cam Centre in DTES Vancouver as an example and the other half go to support community projects that the members of the Bergnek Community want to support such as "One Brick at A Time".
Although we have multiple mechanisms to support each of the My Arms Wide Open projects and initiatives we need your help to spread the word and to keep supporting the project directly. This will enable us to get the Bergnek community the help they need in the shortest time possible.
Thank you for the support you have already given and we look to the seeing more as we spread the word and create the path to a successful start for the Bergnek, One Brick at a Time, community owned and based business.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.