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.
The Open Doors Team
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.
Dear friends of Open Doors,
We hope you are doing well and your 2013 has gotten off to a fantastic start! It has been a few months since we were last in touch and so we wanted to quickly share a few exciting updates from our end.
Foremost, we are excited to announce the selection of 3 new Open Doors scholars for 2013! In total, we are now assisting 10 talented students from the South African communities of Masiphumelele and Ocean View in their pursuit of a higher education, an accomplishment that would have been impossible without your generosity and continued support. Through conversations with the students and our partners on the ground, it is clear that each of our scholars remains committed to learning and to using their education to help their families and the broader communities in which they grew up.
Our new 2013 scholars hail from Masiphumelele and have all been active in community life, from playing soccer on local teams to participating in after-school art and music programs. Their career interests span the gamut and include auditing, pharmacy, and environmental management. While their family members have worked hard, whether as security guards, plumbers, or cleaners, to help pay their secondary school fees, the students are now in need of much greater financial support as they strive to achieve their dream of getting a college education. That's where Open Doors is happy to step in! Our scholarships help defray expenses necessary for succeeding in college, from registration fees to transportation and school supply costs.
Our 2013 scholars are looking forward to starting university this year. As one student put it: "The only way to achieve everything I want is to first finish up my education, because this will be the direction towards my dreams and goals. Having education and knowledge with skills…will open doors for me and create many opportunities." The students recognize and value how their higher education will not only change their lives but also afford them the opportunity to transform their community. For example, the scholar interested in a career in pharmacy is excited to someday return home to work in a community clinic.
As 2013 continues to unfold, we will keep you updated on the progress of our students and on our broader fundraising and organizational plans! We would just like to end our message by sharing a note we received from one of our donors a few months ago:
"As a temporarily displaced South African, I was so pleased to find this project on GlobalGiving, as I strongly believe that education and opportunity are the two most important things South African youth need. Thank you for the opportunity to be a small part of making than happen."
The real thanks goes to all of you! Open Doors started as a vague dream for us after we spent the summer serving as teachers in Masiphumelele and Ocean View back in 2009. It is only through the support and kindness of donors like yourselves that our organization became a reality and has been able to tangibly impact the lives of hardworking South African students. We cannot thank you enough!
Wishing you all the best for 2013,