One of our biggest challenges in getting our 'One Brick at a Time' project to a point where we can begin work is in establishing a direct, reliable and sustainable water source.
Well pumps and reliable water sources
In 2011 we funded the installation of a new pump and well in Bergnek. With the help of the City of Polokwane we have been able to maintain that pump and keep the water flowing enough to support only the basic needs of the community. Last year we were able to get a second pump installed too.
Unfortunately this year we had a breakdown in the equipment and the person supporting the maintenance of the pumps was not able to repair it and the city could not commit to costs for the new parts needed. We have since stepped in and provided the funding for the parts to restore the pump, however the community had gone without water for nearly two months before we where made aware of the problem. This has forced us to find other solutions as the volume of water is now only back at the basic needs level.
Partnering for success
Over the past few months we've been in discussions with a number of other organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, to find the partners we need to fund the much needed infrastructure needed for this project to ultimately be successful. Negotiations are going well and we are almost at the point where we have a commitment to fund the purchase of a much larger well pump as well as the solar power to keep the pump running sustainably going forward. We will publish an update as soon as we have a firm commitment from Engineers without Borders, who have now had representatives visited the community.
We need your help
We are grateful for your continued support. This is an important project for the community to build housing, a medical centre and provided much needed employment. Please support the project in any way you can. Think about joining us on one of project trips as part of our Eco-Travel initiative. Visit our website for more information about the Eco-Travel and we will also give you more information on how you can make a portion of your trip costs a deduction by contributing through the GlobalGiving project.
Thank you for all you do.
Progress in our fundraising campaign for the Bergnek community Projects, One Brick at a Time initiative have been slow as far as the online campaign itself goes. Work we are doing in other areas is ramping up and will ultimately support the One Brick at a Time project.
The need is real and it is not going away. We need the means to build more housing that meets some reasonable requirements and standards to provide safe and adequate housing for the community of Bergnek. The community is in desperate need of a formal health clinic that can properly service the needs of the community in general but more importantly in pre- and post-natal care as well as infant and care for mothers.
Those of you that are involved in the My World In a Garden - Sister Walls program will see an update there this week too which will give you insight into how we are connecting our programs providing support for the overall community needs within the Bergnek community.
A large part of the 'My World In a Garden - Sister Walls' program is not simply the establishment of the walls but the fund raising part of the program that is ongoing to support both additional walls in South Africa and North America as well as creating funding to support other community initiatives such as, 'One Brick at a Time'.
When we build 'My World, My Garden, Vertical Food Wall Systems' in North America we sister those walls with the community walls we have in South Africa. In this case it is the 'My World In a Garden, Bergnek' project. We then 'sell' each of the plant spots in the North American wall for a quarterly donation of $15 working to get each of the 2,500 spots in the wall 'sold' and supported with a total of $60 per year. Half of the funds raised go to support new initiatives and the maintenance of the wall at the Ray-Cam Centre in DTES Vancouver as an example and the other half go to support community projects that the members of the Bergnek Community want to support such as "One Brick at A Time".
Although we have multiple mechanisms to support each of the My Arms Wide Open projects and initiatives we need your help to spread the word and to keep supporting the project directly. This will enable us to get the Bergnek community the help they need in the shortest time possible.
Thank you for the support you have already given and we look to the seeing more as we spread the word and create the path to a successful start for the Bergnek, One Brick at a Time, community owned and based business.
We are now in a position to move the Bergnek Community Projects, One Brick at a Time project forward. After our recent visit during which we had a number of meetings and the successful implementation of three projects in the Bergnek Community we are ready to put the campaign into full swing.
We are grateful for those of you who have put your hands up early and made contributions to the project already. In addition to your contributions we have received additional contributions directly that have enabled us to set up the corporate structure and officially register Bergnek Community Projects, under which One Brick at a Time falls, with the necessary agencies in South Africa. We have a firm commitment of support for the business from regional contractors and building suppliers as well as the local councilor who represents the Bergnek community. Councilor July has also presented the business and the community projects to the regional Mayor. This may not be something that sounds important but it is critical in rural environments for us to get the support of the broader community and the local government.
As we launch our social media campaign for 'One Brick at a Time' we ask for your support in spreading the word and reposting the project on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds using the following link and tags: Creating capacity in rural communities http://ow.ly/hrSS3 #SocialEntreprenuer #MyArmsWideOpen #OneBrickataTime #GlobalGiving
Please forward this message and join our mailing list to stay updated.
Communications and December Campaign
Our "One Brick at a Time" campaign has not taken hold yet. We have held back somewhat as we put the necessary building blocks in place within the community and with potential partners in the region around the community. We now have a campaign set for December to increase communication on social media and through our eNews distribution list.
Opportunities and Actions
In our recent trip to Bergnek, October 2012 we met with the community and the regional councilor to address specific items while working within the community on three other projects.
Our biggest opportunities to date that we have taken action on are:
Our goal is to initiate the 'One Brick at a Time' community-owned business in March 2013. In order to do this we need to raise the first half of the funding required to purchase the first level of machinery and raw materials needed.
Working together, let's spread the word and help the Bergnek Community take control of their future!
Thank you for your support and commitment to the people of Bergnek and My arms Wide Open Foundation
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