It has been an amazing year so far!
These Numbers Have Faces continues to grow, impacting dozens of students in South Africa, Rwanda, and Uganda! We spent most of March in Uganda and Rwanda. It was a whirlwind of activity, opportunity, and camaraderie as we met new students, assessed our programs, and built new relationships for further growth.
Here are a few specific updates about our programs with an emphasis on women’s empowerment.
Several young women will be graduating this year in Rwanda. The exciting thing is that with additional funding and new slots opening, we’ll have new students given the opportunity to attend University. We have initiated the application process, and we’ll have seven young women chosen from dozens of applications.
One graduate that we’ll miss particularly is Margret. She is a natural leader, and an incredible mentor to the younger girls in the program, particularly those who have faced significant amounts of physical and/or emotional trauma.
Margret is finishing here degree at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) where she majors in Computer Engineering. KIST has fewer than 25% female students, and is the premier science and engineering university in the country. Our dream is to help Margret get a job with a tech startup, where she would remain in Kigali building software for smart-phones and other Web platforms.
Check out more of our Rwanda stories and Student Profiles.
We have eight awesome new of students in South Africa this year. Our students are busy planning for a June retreat together, and the new students are acclimating to their peers and the new world of University education.
One of our new students, Phumza (pictured below), was in hospital for a week with complications from Diabetes. She is a brilliant Analytical Chemistry scholar at one of the best universities in South Africa.
We were concerned that she might need to leave the program to recover, and re-start the program after a semester.
After delving into her life situation, it became clear that her diabetes was causing significant medical problems. The core issue was that she was taking her insulin shots on an empty stomach. Further inquiry revealed that her father had been absent for most of her life, and she was far from her mother on the eastern cape. Her brother, who had been
able to supply a small monthly stipend, about $40, had been unemployed for some time and had ceased to do so. Her sister, who had also been supporting her, was pregnant, and needed to save money for the birth of her child. She was dependant on small hand-outs from her church for food.
The net result was that she was injecting insulin while on an empty stomach because she didn’t have any money to eat, and would skip days, going without eating due to lack of funds.
Once we were able to drill down to focus on the problem, we were able to address it. Our South Africa Director, Edwin, visited her several times in Hospital. Sadly, no other single person visited her during this time, including her siblings whom live in Cape Town.
Our South Africa Director communicated with her school so she would not be penalized for missed work, and facilitated the diet instructions from the medical personnel to ensure she would have proper nutrition. He also conducted a home visit in the townships. The home-visit assured us of her financial need, and it allowed us to make sure that she had refrigeration for food, a means to cook, and a clean, safe working environment for her studies.
We also immediately made a decision to implement a monthly stipend from our contingency funds, roughly USD $110, and that was wired directly from out staff in South Africa into her account, so it was immediately available for food the day she was discharged. The joy of this story is what she had to say about the experience:
"Because of These Numbers Have Faces, I've never felt so loved or part of a family." - Phumza
And it gets even better: When we shared her story through our blog and our advocate community, the support was overwhelming- we had donations coming in within minuets, and in less than 24 hours, the members of our community had raised enough support to take care of her food stipend, not only for this year, but for all four years of her college education. WOW!
For our US based staff, it is inspiring to see so many of our followers step up, and when given a clear choice between apathy and compassion, choose to let their humanity shine through, and reach out to support another human being on the far side of the Earth.
Learn more about our South Africa Program!
The issue of physical and emotional trauma and its impacts on our young female students is one that is of growing concern to us. In South Africa, Rwanda, and Uganda we know that this is an underlying and difficult problem, but one that cannot remain unaddressed.
Senior high-school girls in need of University scholarships.
I recently was able to sit in on an interesting discussion among university students in Uganda. In an open discussion forum, they were debating an interesting story:
“A young woman from a wealthy family has fallen on hard times when her parents died. They left enough money for her to finish her secondary school. When it comes time for her to attend University, and uncle offers to pay her tuition every semester. When she is one semester away from graduation, he says that she must have intercourse with him or he won’t pay her tuition, and she will be forced to leave university without graduating. Should she agree?”
The debate was fascinating to observe. One young man commented several times ‘that when someone gives you something, you must give them something in return…’ It became even more interesting when a young woman asked “When is it okay for a woman to beg, to be a beggar?”
I learned later that of this cohort of students, fully 1/3 of the women will bear children out of wedlock by the end of university, with significant negative repercussions for their personal, academic, and professional futures.
These Numbers Have Faces CEO Justin Zoradi made the immediate decision to commit $2,500 on the spot to initiate a process around gender, sexuality, and women’s empowerment. Our first step was the creation and dissemination of a questionnaire that would help clarify perceptions of gender and relationship norms. The survey was given to both men and women who are university graduates, and whom attended an elite secondary school on full scholarship for two years, which has a heavy focus on moral leadership and character development. In a sense, they are an academic and cultural elite.
While we have not completed an analysis all of the results, one trend is clear: Physical abuse is considered a normative and appropriate response in sexual relationships.
We need to have a way to address this with our students that is appropriate, effective, and adequately funded. While we are not experts at implementing gender-based curriculum, we are fortunate that there are many organizations on the ground that focus on this, with a long work history in the region and a solid track record. There exists a range of curriculums and interventions, as well as a full spectrum of behaviors that they are designed to address.
We see this as really a two-part process. The first addresses the downside behaviors- mitigating the effects of sexual violence, coercion, and dealing with trauma. The second aspect is more positive, focusing on engagement and empowerment.
To put it in concrete terms: How do we help heal a student who has endured sexual assault, prevent it from happening again, and also make sure that she attends a youth leadership conference with the poise, confidence, and ambition to participate and to thrive?
We know that there are no easy answers, and this is not our primary expertise. But we can commit ourselves, and we can begin. And you can help us. If you’d like to do something concrete to help young women in Africa attend university, become an advocate for These Numbers Have Faces.
In conclusion, our programs are expanding and gaining increasing depth and strength. We also continue to realize that the need for education is significant. There are new areas, especially gender, sexuality, and women’s empowerment, that demand our attention and a commitment of resources.
Thank you for your continued interest and support for These Numbers Have Faces.
These Numbers Have Faces Scholars in Rwanda recently completed the final training session of their 3-part leadership training program. Training sessions covered: Entrepreneurship 101, Financial Literacy and Leadership Development & Goal Setting. The trainings were dynamic and required the students to actively participate in the session discussions and exercises.
The students’ first training module covered Entrepreneurship. They learned the basics for developing a successful business idea. Through their group exercises, they identified business opportunities; including a saloon (hair stylist/barber shop) and a public transportation company as both of these business are limited in the area of their homes. Their trainer stated:
The second training session covered Financial Literacy. After discussing the basics of how to choose a bank and open an account, much time was dedicated to the necessity of creating a budget and the importance of saving. The students received templates to create their own budget and were encouraged to prioritize saving for emergencies and future dreams. They were challenged with an exercise: keep track of everything they spent on for a week, in order to discover what are necessity items and how to help avoid impulse purchases.
The final training was on Leadership and Goal Setting. The students were taught: “Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.” They were guided on how to set goals in the areas of: education, career, finances and family. Their training provided key suggestions on how to choose goals that are measurable, attainable and relevant!
All training sessions were conducted through a partnership with our new friend John Gasangwa of Inkomoko. John’s statement about thetraining:
The students enjoyed these sessions so much that they asked John to return again soon to train them on project planning and business plan development.
They’ve been empowered and they’re ready to be leaders! Watch out Rwanda!
These Numbers Have Faces university scholars have been having a fantastic semester. In South Africa, they are currently taking final exams. They have each been studying hard throughout this semester and they are determined to perform well in their exams. Through the Community Impact Model, our scholars are learning the value of giving back to their local communities. Each student has been balancing their college work with community service projects.
These Numbers Have Faces Scholar Zimkhita volunteers at a Children's Home in Khayelitsha, a township severely penetrated by gangsterism, crime and violence. She tutors the older children in their school work and spends valuable time playing with the younger ones. Zimkhita loves spending time with the children and is focused on making an impact in her local community.
The most exciting news to report is the success story of These Numbers Have Faces Scholar Zinthathu. This past June, Zinthathu graduated from Northlink College with a degree in Marketing. It was a beautiful celebration with her family, friends and These Numbers Have Faces South African Staff. Even more exciting... two short months after her graduation, she was offered her dream job working for the largest provider of medical plans in South Africa. In her own words: "I've got a new job, I'm so happy! Thanks to God, this is my dream job now I got it. Yahoo! I love my new life! I've never been this happy. Thanks to These Numbers Have Faces and all the people who have helped me get this far." Zinthatu has been working at her new job for 4 months and has begun her financial reinvestment into the These Numbers Have Faces Scholarship Program. In Rwanda, These Numbers Have Faces Rwandan women scholars are also achieving their dreams to be great leaders for their communities. Lydia, Lillian, Margaret, and Jackie each strongly agree that education is the key to success and the foundation for their future. They have great hopes to make a huge impact in their communities and change Rwanda from the inside out.A recent NY Times Article reported that women hold 56% of all heads-of-state parliament seats in Rwanda. This presence of female leadership is a great step forward to the region expressing diversity and promoting equality and justice.Here are some of their words on what it means to them personally to have leadership in Rwanda that understand the importance of women leaders:“It really encourages me to have such leadership that considers and values women. It shows me that there is equality in our country. As a woman, there is something I can contribute to my country basing on the abilities that God gave me.” - Lydia“The leadership in Rwanda gives me hope to become a leader in the future. It is very encouraging to me as it gives me assurance of being as equally important in my society. Tt also gives chance for our families to prosper since they are largely made up of women.” - Jackie2012 has been a fabulous year and 2013 looks even brighter with expansion to additional countries in East and Central Africa!!
Hi, my name is Alexis. I am a Senior Program Associate on GlobalGiving’s Project Team. On July 28, 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting These Numbers Have Faces in Cape Town, South Africa and participating in one of These Numbers’ student meetings. In attendance at the event were 14 scholarship recipients and their parents, guardians, or representatives from their families.I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to These Numbers’ programs in South Africa! I had the opportunity to mingle with some of the students and their families and learn more about the program from Edwin and Beata, These Numbers’ staff members in Cape Town.Let me share some of my take-aways from the event:These Numbers is more than a scholarship program. If nothing else, this Saturday meeting showed me that These Numbers is interested in more than providing the money needed to pay for a college education. The organization aims to provide holistic support to help students achieve their full potential. The program pays for text books, pairs students up with tutors, and even works to find alternative housing options for students living in difficult circumstances.These Numbers requires students to get involved in their communities through community service. In order to continue receiving funding from the program, students must complete a certain number of community service hours per year. As a result, students are volunteering at soup kitchens, running clothes collection drives, and tutoring younger students in their neighborhoods. This means that in addition to developing academically, students are taking on leadership roles in their own communities. These Numbers is not just investing in a small group of promising students, they’re investing in an entire community in the greater Cape Town area!These Numbers is facilitating financial re-investment into the program. I was very excited to learn about the organization’s financial reinvestment model, which requires students to reinvest 25% of the cost of their schooling back into the program over the course of several years after graduation. Not only is this a great way to ensure the program’s sustainability, it is also a way for alumni to stay committed to the program’s future success. In addition, Edwin and Beata are already prepping students to become mentors for future students, including requesting their referrals and recommendations for future scholarship applicants.What was even more exciting than the re-investment model itself, was the response the proposal received from the students and parents! The general consensus at the meeting was that it was important for current students to reinvest into the program after they had graduated and secured jobs. As one guardian explained, these students are fortunate to have received the opportunity to go to university; it is up to them to help ensure that other students are afforded the same opportunity.These Numbers incorporates student and parent feedback into their programs. During the meeting, Edwin and Beata spent a lot of time reviewing various aspects of the program, including the re-investment model, for the students and their parents. But beyond telling students about the program, they also asked the students and their parents for their feedback and suggestions! I was thrilled to see the meeting attendees engaging with Edwin and Beata in conversation about the challenges facing the students and the role that These Numbers plays in their education.Thank you, These Numbers, for inviting me to spend the day with you! I had a great time and look forward to my next visit to Cape Town.
As part of our exciting partnership with Africa New Life in Rwanda, we've added four young women to the These Numbers Have Faces family. We're so excited about the work that is going on in Rwanda, and we want you to meet one of our new scholars, Margaret.
Margaret was born in Uganda and is the second-born out of seven children. Until college, Margaret's education was paid in part by the Ministry of Local Government and in part by her mother's cousin, since her parents couldn't afford school. Once she began her college, her sponsor through Africa New Life paid for the initial year, but couldn't afford anything beyond that. Margaret stopped university for one year and volunteered in Kageyo while waiting to return to school, and became a part of the These Numbers Have Faces family in 2012.
Margaret attends the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology and is studying engineering and information technology. She was recently offered and accepted a leadership position in the Esther Home as a resident assistant, volunteers with Africa New Life, and sponsors a child from her community.
We're so proud of Margaret and all of the girls living in the Esther Home! We'd love to keep you updated about everything that These Numbers Have Faces is up to in Rwanda and South Africa, be sure to stay up to date by 'liking' us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.
Thank you for your support, you're making awe-inspiring things happen.
- Stanton + The TNHF Team
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