Friends of Open Doors,
We hope that you all are warm and well doing this winter holiday season. There is nothing quite like coming together with friends and family to appreciate one another and count our blessings.
Open Doors Foundation has been busy as well, continuing to work closely with our friends at Kennesaw State web design to create a new logo and website. Our new logo is making its debut here on Global Giving and we hope to launch our revamped website in December. Our hope for this website is more connectivity between our donors and our students. As you browse online for gifts this holiday season, please check in with us as well!
During this holiday season of thanksgiving and merriment, it is easy to forget the struggles of those around us. This recent clip from the New York Times shows the struggle for safety and education continues in South Africa. Let’s not only count our blessings, but share them with those less fortunate all around the world.
On the ground this year, our scholarship applicant pool is bigger than ever. On top of the 8 students we currently support, we are expecting to give out at least another 5 scholarships. 5 of the students have already been accepted into university programs contingent on them maintaining their grades until graduation. Some of the fields of intended study are: Commerce, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physiotherapy, and Pharmacy studies. We are not only investing in these students, but also their future impacts in the community. All the hard work and dedication of these students is starting to pay off as more doors are opening for them. We still believe that their continued education is the key to opening these opportunities they have worked so hard for. Your continued support and donations allow us to be that key.
In the spirit of the giving season, we will shortly being our winter fundraising push. Keeps us in your thoughts as we seek to empower our upcoming class of 2013 Open Doors Foundation Scholars! Thank you all for your continued support. We look forward to bringing you more good news soon!
The Open Doors Foundation Team
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.
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.
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!
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