Feb 13, 2021

Dyeing Delay Continues

Thank you for helping us get back to school!
Thank you for helping us get back to school!

With the COVID pandemic continuing throughout the world and new variants appearing, Rwanda continues to struggle along with so many other countries, lesser developed countries being hit especially hard. Our dyers are still unable to dye as we are unable to get fabric to them; our taxi entrepreneur and law clerk are unable to work due to ongoing pandemic related lockdowns. 

There are a couple of bright spots in the gloom, however. All the children whose schooling we support are now back in school, and we have paid all their fees. Unfortunately, the schools all raised the fees due to Covid issues, we understand increases are for cleaning and safety supplies. Without your generous support our families would be unable to cover the increased fees and the kids would be out of school.

The other good news is that we have provided a modest loan for one of our families to begin building their own home after ongoing challenges associated with their rental home. They are excited, and we are, too.

Our founder, Nancy, is still hoping for an opportunity to visit Rwanda this spring after having last year's visit cancelled due to the pandemic. If it is safe for her to travel, she would be able to bring the needed fabric to the dyers so they can produce more wraps and scarves for us to sell on their behalf, restoring desperately need income. Of course, with the slow rollout of vaccines and uncertainty about border restrictions, it is unknown whether her trip will be possible. 

Because of the ongoing challenges our families continue to face, we are continuing to increase our project goal over time. We started this effort on GlobalGiving in September of 2018, so our cumulative monies raised have covered nearly 2 1/2 years of support for education, entrepreneurship and skills building so that our families can have a fighting chance of becoming self-reliant. We are committed, with your ongoing support, to continue our efforts to provide not a hand-out, but a hand up, to these humble yet proud people who have suffered so much.

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Feb 13, 2021

Your Support Continues to Feed our Families

Thank you!
Thank you!

Back in the spring of 2020 when we first began the Pandemic Food Relief project for our Rwandan families, we thought it would be needed for a few months - perhaps through the end of the year. Of course, as the virus has continued to spread and new variants have appeared throughout the world, the hardship for these families, already struggling, endures. We have increased our goal so that we can continue to provide food relief as well as some medical support for families suffering from stress-related illnesses as a result of the pandemic's impact on their lives and livelihoods. 

Your ongoing generous support of this special effort is critical and profoundly appreciated. With your gifts we have been able to assure that our families have at least two healthy meals a day, whereas before our help they were struggling to afford even one. With the children back in school, they are able to access school-provided meals, but that does not help the adults.

Our board met in January and committed to continue our efforts to provide monthly food relief until the families we support are able to regain their hard-earned incomes as the lockdown eases. We could not do this without your steadfast support. Thanks to you all, including our generous monthly donors who help us plan our cash flow in support of these incredibly proud and hardworking families.

Dec 7, 2020

Back to School!

First Day of School
First Day of School

We are delighted to report that eleven of the children whose education we support are back to school full time. We provided education for all of our children in the home-based tutoring pods through September. In October, the government started a phased reopening of schools based on age. In October, the kids had a small break and got their uniforms ready and supplies and books in order. Children seven and older were welcomed back to school November 2. They are so happy to be back to full studies and with their classmates again. The entire population in Rwanda is required to wear masks, and this also applies to the school children. The six youngest kids are still studying in the home tutoring pods until we hear more from the families about when their schools will reopen.

The taxi project is self-sustaining at this time. Although customer demand is not back to full capacity, our entrepreneur is able to transport citizens throughout Rwanda and keep his car maintained and insured.

Thankfully, we had enough Umva scarves in inventory during the pandemic to sustain the ladies income through this slow period. Sales are down in the shops of our retail partners due to closures and limited hours. Our annual October show in New York was cancelled which was a major setback for sales. It is our greatest hope that the ladies can begin dyeing again soon, and we can return to our former level of production and sales. In the meantime, these gorgeous wraps and scarves make wonderful holiday gifts!

As is the case around the globe, the pandemic has impacted our families deeply, yet we are working hard to help sustain them through to the other side. Your ongoing support of our efforts to help Rwandans rebuild their lives and their society is deeply appreciated.

Stepping out of school
Stepping out of school
On the way to high school
On the way to high school

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