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My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period

by My Arms Wide Open
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
My Arms Wide Open and GirlStuff.Period
I matter
I matter

In the past few updates I had let you know we would be starting interviews with community members to document their life journey's and the experiences they have had with us (you, me and My Arms Wide Open) to date. These interviews will give you insight into the experience on the ground and how your contributions and donations have helped the community grow and overcome challenges. Some have been very successful; some need more work and so we adapt to create the changes needed.

Changing circumstances for women and children

Each of the My Arms Wide Open and Bergnek Community Projects initiatives revolves around a common theme; changing circumstances for women and children. It's about enabling women and children to change the circumstances they were born into. Their circumstances don't define them, that's just what they were born into and these women are already proving to be so much more. Practically, it's not about categorizing them as their circumstances but helping to change the circumstances where they are, to enable them to create the positive changes they deserve.

Some of the things the women and people of Bergnek are doing to change circumstances for women and children include their community based business, GirlStuffPeriod.org and their Pads against Bullying initiative. Both programs support girls getting back into school, by providing them with menstrual supplies they don’t have or can’t afford. My World in a Garden helps to keep girls in school by providing the food they need, supporting the Pads Against Bullying program. These programs create the environment where they don't have to leave the classroom to find food; The health clinic will provide support for girls, expectant mothers, children and other community members. One Brick at a Time is designed to help create employment, focused on women. 

A message from Keabetswe (Keith)

My Circumstances do not define me

My name is Keabetswe Keith Mosumane I grew up in the rural community of Bergnek in Limpopo, in the Northern part of South Africa. There is no employment back home, and so I now live and work in Johannesburg with my wife and kids. My mother lives back home at Bergnek. After the loss of my son, Keith Jr., in 2008 God blessed me with three more kids, my daughter Bontle, who is now 11, my son Karabo, who is 9 years old, and Lebogang who is the youngest at 4. My kids are the heartbeat of my life. If you'd like to read more about my story, you can read about it here.

Why I chose to help change circumstances for women and children 

The loss of my son gave me a burning desire to change the circumstances for women and children in the community of Bergnek. In 2011 I co-founded a number of community development initiatives that were aimed at empowering and supporting woman, youth and the children of Bergnek. We are doing this through sustainable business ventures, that focus on Education, Food Security, Water & Sanitation, and Infrastructure and Leadership development within the community. The community has a population of +- 4500 people and its located 40km (21 miles) outside Polokwane (which is the nearest large town). The community has no clinic, although there is a Mobile clinic that comes twice a month.

“Health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and access to health care systems is necessary to fulfill this right. There is a close relationship between poverty, ill-health and limitations in access to health services. It is widely recognized that poverty extends beyond deprivation of income and material assets, Poverty is also connected to lack of opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. In this respect, health services, along with food, water, sanitation, knowledge and education, can be considered necessary conditions for good health. In order to alleviate poverty and contribute to better lives for the under privileged in our society it is necessary to address this complexity and focus on the interconnections between the many elements of poverty and health.”

                                                                                                               - Keith Mosumane, Bergnek Community Projects -

Poverty is rampant across South Africa

Despite the relative wealth of South Africa compared to other countries in the region, poverty is still rampant for a large majority of the population, and access to basic health care is still out of reach. The rural areas, like our community of Bergnek, are under-served and historically most neglected. People don't choose to be born into these circumstances, they simply are and often they are then forgotten. The only time the government officials thinks of us, is during elections when they need votes.  It’s during these election campaigns, that our youth are sold an entitlement mentality for government to do everything for them. This in turn becomes a problem in our society where people become dependent on the government to do everything for them. This has stifled small business and the dreams of the young people.

My goals and dreams

My goal is to help improve the lives of people in my community and break the cycle of poverty. My ultimate dream is to help build a community healthcare center in remembrance of my lost son.

I realize that these are very difficult financial times, but I would greatly appreciate any donation that you would consider giving, no matter how small.

Please contact me and share your thoughts with me through the comments and sign up for our newsletter.

I hope you and your family stay safe and healthy.  Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and remember to wear your mask. I'll be writing more next week

Until then ................

Keabetswe Keith Mosumane

#TakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement!

Please forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as donors, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

Don't give up on the communities we serve, we certainly won't either!

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GirlStuffPeriod is changing lives
GirlStuffPeriod is changing lives

2020 is off to a great start and I have to pinch myself to be sure it really is the end of February already.

Uncovering and understanding both the needs and the current priorities within the Bergnek Community

We are preparing for a next community survey coming up during the second quarter of this year. We use an outside third party to conduct the surveys and this time around, Engineers Without Borders ('EWB') Houston will be conducting the survey as they hand off to Engineers Without South Africa. We've partnered with EWB over the years to ensure we've had the right technical skills in the community to get things done right and be able to transfer real skills and expertise into the community.

Previous Survey Results

In the first week of December we will be getting our podcasts underway and we are really excited to be sharing those with. Although our resources are limited, we really have accomplished a lot over the past year.

In the previous survey we had completed by Universal Alliance in 2017 we learned that community was still focused on the water issues in the community as well as the high rate of unemployment among working age community members.

What have we achieved so far?

The projects that the community initiated, supported by My Arms Wide Open, have focused in those two areas over the past 3 years. The water issue has been reasonably addressed and at least increased the amount of water that is now consistently available to the community. However, we believe we can still do better and improve upon the current state. On the unemployment side we have a tremendous amount of work to do and we’re expecting to hear that this is still a big priority for the community. The survey results will certainly make it clear for us and give us the direction the community expects us to take over the next 2-3 years.

We’re looking to the community to understand how needs may have shifted since the last survey and how priorities have shifted since then.

During the survey trip Engineers Without Borders plan to do a maintenance training for our water distribution system so that we can take care of broken taps and pipes ourselves going forward.
--
#TakeAction

There are many ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we count on you and the people you know to help us, help girls in many communities in south Africa.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.org.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 
We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Menstrual Kits from GirlStuff.Period
Menstrual Kits from GirlStuff.Period

The holidays are approaching 

Out in Bergnek, we're all getting ready for the holidays. Yes, even when we don't have much, we still spread joy and laughter in our families and communities.

Starting our Podcasts

In the first week of December we will be getting our podcasts underway and we are really excited to be sharing those with. Although our resources are limited, we really have accomplished a lot over the past year. 

Everything we do in the community is connected and each of our undertaking supports the others and of course the community as a whole. You’ll hear about them in the podcasts as well as what we are doing next.

As an example, last week we met with Engineers Without Borders to plan a trip for April; 2020 to come into the community and do a maintenance training for our water distribution system so that we can take care of broken taps and pipes ourselves going forward.

Water is life for all of us

This is really important for us. Up to 2011 we had water maybe once a week and sometimes no water for many weeks. My Arms Wide Open came and installed a water pump and well for us and then helped us to get Engineers Without Borders to come and do another one. The past two years we have been so lucky, because we now have water every week, twice a week. This helps us to focus on our other projects and businesses to help our community. 

We wish you love and happiness these holidays.

Keith Mosumane, Bergnek Community Foundation

--

#TakeAction

There are many ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we count on you and the people you know to help us, help girls in many communities in south Africa.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!

Links:

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Spring time in Bergnek
Spring time in Bergnek

Spring is in the air! 

As we move into spring the team in South Africa is getting ready to start a new program to increase awareness and expand the GirlStuffPeriod business.

Starting in October Keith is working with Citizen’s Media (“CM”) to do a series of interviews with the residents of Bergnek as well as the women on the GirlStuffPeriod team. The interviews and the recordings resulting from them will be published on the CM site with the intent of raising funds to support the ongoing projects as well as increase awareness of the business.

We’re excited because we always learn something new when a third party comes in and does the interviewing and asks the questions the community feels are important to answer. We will be bringing these interviews to you as well, in the form of additional reports, as they are made available to us, so look out for them.

--

#DontTalkTakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
The ladies
The ladies

It's fall in the southern hemisphere and as our children in North America are really excited that summer holidays are about to begin, in Southern Africa our children are into the swing of the new school year, that runs from late January through early December.

Why is the fall, or autumn, as it is known down south, such an important time? Well, with school only having just started up for the year, we want to keep as many girls as we can, that are working on grade 8 and above, in school so that they don't miss any opportunities that are sure to be presented at schools across South Africa during the school year.

What does that mean?

What Rainet, Queen, Suzie, and Anna will tell you is that they have personally experienced what happens when you are not at school as a girl in South Africa because you couldn’t afford food every day, let alone the cost of menstrual supplies. Here are some of their thoughts on from a recent call we did. Here’s what Suzie had to say:

“When I was at school If fell so far behind because we are poor, and I had to miss school when my period came because we had no money for tampons or pads. I fell so far behind because I couldn’t understand what the others had learned when I was away. Eventually, I stopped going to school because I felt I was not smart enough. 

I learned now, that it wasn’t my fault, but it was still my life and what happened. I’m happy now, I am one of the people in GirlStuffPeriod because I can help other girls and I feel good about my work.”

                                                      - Suzie, GirlStuffPeriod.org -

People living on other continents in developed countries don’t understand what girls go through in developing countries, because their privileged circumstance gets them or gives them all the basic things they need and take for granted. 

Queen added to the conversation: 

“A lot of people look at us and say we are not so good. Really, we are good, and we work hard too. I have three little children and I love them so much; I will do anything and everything to help them. I wish I had a chance to learn more. More about me, but I did what others said was a way to have a little bit of money and I got pregnant so I could get the money from the government. I want my children to have a better chance.” 

                                                         - Queen, GirlStuffPeriod.org -

These are talented and very smart young women, who haven’t had the opportunities they deserve and that is what the My Arms Wide Open team, strives to do. Give girls more opportunities to learn, thrive and grow. 

Take a look at Rainet, Queen, Suzie, and Anna’s site at GirlStuffPeriod[dot]org and see their work. 

Each of the Bergnek ladies wants a chance to be successful, they have the potential. Help us to help them, please.

--

#DontTalkTakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

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Organization Information

My Arms Wide Open

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Website:
Twitter: @MyArmsWideOpen
Project Leader:
Warren Te Brugge
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
$16,594 raised of $45,000 goal
 
606 donations
$28,406 to go
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