This postcard was written by Chi Nguyen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative. Chi is traveling to and visiting GlobalGiving's partner organizations in the nine countries of Southern Africa.
On Wednesday, February 19th, 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting with Antonio Gambino, one of Open Doors Education Scholarship Foundation's beneficiaries. We met and conversed at Jameson Hall, with the beautiful scenery and ambiance of University of Cape Town (UCT)'s campus as our backdrop. Antonio's intelligence shines through his conversation, his drive for excellence is most apparent. He tells me that he chose his major because it was considered the most difficult at UCT. Hearing this strong statement coming from a child of Ocean View, an impoverished community in South Africa, was indeed astounding and empowering.
Coming from the community of Ocean View, Antonio was faced with numerous obstacles in his pursuit for higher education, one of which being the unemployment of both of his parents - stints of unemployment that lasted for years on end. Antonio's talent and love for education had shone through even during his high school years and eventually led to him being picked out by one of the would-be Open Doors Education Scholarship Foundation's board members as a potential candidate for their scholarship. Antonio tells me that he is so grateful for the assistance that Open Doors has given him to achieve his dreams in education and career. With the help that Open Doors has given him, he can and is studying at Africa's most prestigious university, where he is free to chase every and any dream he ever had for himself. Here, he is no longer limited in scope and capability. Here, he is given the same opportunities as his peers. Here, he can fight for his future. Here, he is on a level playing field.
To the Supporters of Open Doors,
This winter has been one of the harshest in recent memory for the United States. Flight delays, citywide shut-downs, and record lows seemed to have happened week after week. At the same time, our students in South Africa have been enjoying their summer breaks and preparing to start the new school year. As the promise of a warm spring comes to us, the promise of another year of learning comes to them; change is in the air.
Due to your generosity during our winter fundraiser, we were able to raise enough to support one additional student for two years through our scholarship program! Together, we are working to eliminate the financial walls that hold back deserving students from continuing their education. We at Open Doors take pride in our tradition of transforming a community one student at a time.
In addition, we are ecstatic to announce the selection of four new Open Doors Scholars in 2014. These students are have a diverse set of interests, yet all share the common goal of serving and improving their communities. They are:
Lindokuhle: The first of her family with a chance to attend university, intending to study either physiotherapy or law.
Phumza: A student with conditional acceptance at the University of the Western Cape intending to study Environmental and Water Studies.
Yolanda: A student with conditional acceptance at the University of the Western Cape intending to study Biotechnology.
Neliswa: An undecided major with a strong commitment to community service.
Your donations will actively support these four students by working to eliminate the financial barriers that would have prevented them from entering university. They are reaffirmed in their choice to seek higher education and now have more time to focus on what really matters: their education and development.
Thank you all again for your continued support. It is through your donations that we are able to continue to support these deserving students and keep their dreams alive. As the seasons change the rest of the world also changes. We believe that your donations will continue this tradition of change and empower our students to make a difference in the world.
The Open Doors Team
Dear Friends of Open Doors,
Hope you are getting excited for the holiday season!
As 2013 nears a close, we wanted to provide you with a quick update on some of the exciting things going on at the Open Doors Foundation:
1. We've revamped our website: Please visit http://www.opendoorsscholarships.org/ to check it out!
2. We are close to announcing our five 2014 Open Doors scholarship winners: We have three fantastic students already selected to receive a 2014 scholarship and are in the midst of screening applications for our remaining two scholarships. We are looking forward to telling you more about these talented students soon!
3. We are currently kicking off our holiday fundraiser: Since we founded Open Doors back in 2010, we have been able to award scholarships to 12 South African students who are now successfully pursuing their interests in a range of fields from law to environmental studies. This feat would not have been possible with the kindness and generosity of donors like you.
To continue helping talented students pursue their dreams of a tertiary education we will need to raise additional funds for the upcoming year. Our goal is to raise $8,000 by December 31, 2013 to support our current scholars as well as scholars to come. Every contribution helps, regardless of size, and we hope you will consider donating once again to Open Doors this holiday season.
No matter what, however, we can't thank you enough for the support you have provided us over the years. Together, we have been able to tangibly change the lives of kids in South Africa and the communities in which they grew up. We so appreciate you joining us on this journey.
All the best for the holidays,
Dear Friends & Family of Open Doors,
Though August is almost over, a new academic year is starting here in the United States and in South Africa. However, you don’t need to be a student to remember what that feels like: a lot of energy, anticipation, and excitement for what lay ahead. Though most look forward at the start of a new journey, we’d like to ask you to look backwards. Glance behind to the road you’ve taken and you’ll be able to see all that you’ve accomplished and how much you’ve grown since the start of your journey.
Our new scholarship recipients just finished their first year of college and are more than eager to start again. However, we’ve asked the same of them: what was your year like? Here are just a few samples we’ve gotten from our students.
The donations and financial support that you provided throughout the past few years have made these opportunities possible for our scholars. You’ve made their dream of education come alive and above all else, given them the motivation to continue with their studies. Don’t forget that each and every one of your contributions goes directly to the students to pursue their educational goals.
On behalf of all our students, we’d like to extend our deepest gratitude. We have always believed that education is a transformative power and the gateway to changing communities. Your support continues to fuel this belief. As you all carry on into the fall, we ask that you keep us in your thoughts and that you’ll continue to find us worthy of your support.
To the supporters of Open Doors,
The seasons are changing once again. For most of us, spring has receded and summer has staked its claim on our days. Most of us wouldn’t consider that for our scholars, winter is coming. It is always good to take a step back from our own bubbles and think globally about the interwoven connections that tie all people together. Regardless of where you are at the moment, the world is constantly changing.
Not to be left behind, we has taken the initiative to further improve our organization to better serve the changing needs of both our donors and our students. Behind the scenes, we’ve worked to:
Improve scholarship delivery to studentsWe have decided to directly support our students and go through less red tape with intermediary organizations in South Africa. In effect, we will be able serve our students more efficiently and disburse scholarships faster than ever before to meet the financial needs of our students in a timely manner.
Increase accountability and communication between ODF and our scholarsWe’ve set up an accountability system in which our scholars are assigned mentors in ODF to not only answer logistical questions, but also to strengthen our personal relationships. The better we know our scholars, the better we can serve their needs.
Make logistical changes to our social media platformsTo keep our supporters up-to-date with all things Open Doors, we’ve been re-designing our website to include a blog roll with consistent updates from students, donors, and the ODF team. We expect that this website will be unveiled in June!
Through all these changes, we can promise you that our original mission remains the same: to empower students to change their communities through higher education. Likewise, all your support throughout these years has been the driving engine for us and our scholars. We cannot thank you deeply enough. Thank you for helping us create the changes for a better future.
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