Thank you so much for your loyal and generous support of Let Us Build Ourselves! While “We couldn’t do it without you” is always a thoughtful sentiment to express to donors, in this case it couldn’t be more true. That’s why this is a difficult report to write. As you know, our wonderful group of dedicated folks has been working very hard to teach their neighbors and community members how to read, write, and do basic math and, along with all of that, they are helping to instill pride, confidence, and dignity where there often is none. Being illiterate is a heavy burden and the Let Us Build Ourselves team’s mission has been to try to lighten that load.
The last several months have been a challenging time for our team. The demand for their help remains high and they try not to turn anyone away who wants to learn. The group gets some of their revenue from generous supporters such as you as well as from a traditional dance troupe they put together. This talented troupe is comprised of children of some of the women we tutor along with other children in the village. It also includes street children in the community. These children also receive tutoring from the team and benefit from the healthy, positive environment. They learn self-discipline and how to work as part of a team and they gain confidence and self-esteem, all attributes that will help them leave behind life on the streets.
The dance troupe is often hired to perform at weddings and other festive events and celebrations. Unfortunately this endeavor has not been as lucrative over the long haul as the Let Us Build Ourselves team had anticipated. As a result, meeting monthly expenses has been very hard for Innocent and his team. They have had difficulty meeting payroll and several of the teachers have gone without pay, just so their students can continue to learn. In June, Innocent reported here that they had caught up with payroll – to that point - but they were still short to meet other expenses. Since June, they have continued to struggle financially. This has been demoralizing for them all and several team members have had to find other work. Sadly, the Let Us Build Ourselves team feels they may have to close the door on their venture.
The team’s annual budget is $5,000. This year, revenue from all sources, including your generous donations and the dance troupe, totals just $770, a tremendous shortfall that the team has done their best to work around. We are hoping to find one (or several) donors who would be willing to sponsor the team, making a commitment to support the team from year-to-year. In the meantime, we would be incredibly grateful if donations could at least help Innocent and the team cover the shortfall to date: $2,982. This would catch them up on payroll for the past three months and cover outstanding expenses such as rent, class materials, etc. Any contributions at this point will help and will be gratefully accepted but we must ask: is there a donor out there who would be willing to make a larger gift to help Innocent and the Let Us Build Ourselves team continue to do their admirable and important work?
Again, our heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude go out to everyone who has supported this project. Without you, hundreds of people, mostly women, would not have the ability to even sign their name to a piece of paper. Thank you.
PROGRESSIVE REPORT OF RWANDAN WOMEN LITERACY PROGRAM END OF FIRST TERM 2015
Dear Sir / Madam,
We are sending a report of the first term which just ended the week of May 19th 2015. The first term started by the end of March 2015 and we plan to commence second term on 13th of July 2015.
Accept our strong thanks for your continued partnership in making Rwandan women literate. As usual the number we have in class is twenty women and their progress is impressing. In fact they can construct short sentences and they can count. They are also able to do some addition as well as subtraction of numbers.
In our previous report we had said about sensitizing women on the importance of literacy and we managed to do this as we have started debating sessions at least once weekly and we have noticed the success as they are able to share ideas and speak in public.
Challenges are as follows
- As mentioned in our previous report the renovation of the classroom as well as furniture maintenance was not done due to insufficient budget.- Although we managed to pay old debts of teacher’s salaries, there is some doubt for the coming months.- We still have a problem of a computer and printer which are normally helpful in preparing examinations and reports writing as well as doing various documents.
Our plan for the second term is:
- To continue teaching reading, writing and simple arithmetic.- Maintaining sensitization programs of debates on literacy importance especially to a girl child- Organize study tours of various business centers, so that they can be able to prepare their own small projects.- Training women on their rights.
Here are some questions to share
- Are you seeing domestic violence cases in your country? If so what are the impacts to a woman and girl child?- As far as human trafficking is concerned who are affected most men or women?
Dear partners, thanks again for your friendship and we continue to pray for continuity.
From our team “Let us Build Ourselves” we wish you happy moments in your endeavors
Thank you very much,
It is a great pleasure at this moment to send you our sincere greetings. The year 2014 passed with twenty more women who are now literate thanks to everything you do to make our program succeed.
As a matter of fact, women continue to experience changes in our community since this program started. There is a remarkable transformation of lives; although there is still a long way to go.
As far as the students program is concerned, we are still in the process of registering new students and we expect to start the new term in April 2015.
In our previous report we mentioned the evaluation of our implementation that was done by our ex-students who gave us some useful advice in the field. An interesting thing is that our former students have been sensitizing other women in the community to come and join this program and this is working.
Challenges we continue to face are as follows:
- Every time we start a new year we require materials for the classroom and this requires funds to help support our illiteracy teaching.
- The problem of paying our teachers remains unsettled.
Our plan for this first term is as follows:
- Teach another 20 adult women from our community- Teach the alphabet- Teach reading, writing and simple counting- Sensitize women on the importance of literacy. We ask:
Dear partners in womens development, we thank you once again for maintaining a relationship of high standard. It encourages us and brings us hope.
From our Team “LET US BUILD OURSELVES” we wish you all a forthcoming joyous Easter.
Please receive greetings from this side wishing you a peaceful completion of the year and beginning of New Year 2015. We continue to appreciate the partnership and cooperation from you, towards women development, thank you so much.
In our previous report we had mentioned that we were beginning the third term and it is pleasure to see that we have come to its end. Our students are now capable of reading, writing and calculating at reasonable standards. Moreover they have been equipped with business skills as well as their civic rights knowledge and now practice them.
One thing of great interest in this year’s group is that all women managed to send their girl-children to school and all of them had been able to open bank accounts in various banks. Furthermore, some of them have been elected in different leadership positions at the grassroot level. In fact they are doing different things such as Entrepreneurship and Cooperative formulation. Some of them have been trusted to be community health workers and they are doing well.
As far as testimony is concerned, we have one lady, Saidate, who told us that she is happy due to the impact this programme is having on her life.. She says:” I am now able to read signboards and I couldn’t do this before joining this literacy programme. I can read for myself different announcements, newspapers and letters, I have become an active participant in local meetings, I am now giving correct balance of money in my fruits business, while I do remember to have been doing it with doubt and difficulties, I am extremely happy my husband has promised that we are soon going for legal marriage at local government authorities.”
Here is an interesting story to share: we entered in a competition prepared by NGO called “ RWANDA WOMEN NETWORK” focusing on GENDER BASED VIOLENCE. Our dancing troupe INZOVU (elephant), which is helping us in fundraising for literacy program, participated, and this was from the 16th November 2014 to the 15th December 2014 our troupe was awarded first prize after an outstanding performance.
The following are the challenges we have been encountering:
- We are still unable to raise enough money for teachers’ salaries on a regular basis.
- Although we have managed to add some equipment and costumes to our dancing troupe INZOVU (elephant) which is helping us in fundraising for literacy programme ; we still need more to fully equip the troupe so that we can avoid rentals from other sources.
Our future plan for the coming year of 2015 is as follows:
In your country:
Dear Partners in women development, we send much appreciation for everything you have made us achieve; and we believe we shall continue accordingly. It is something unforgettable.
Thank you so much,
We thank you for the collaboration and partnership towards women's development. Your support is of great importance to us. Currently we are at the beginning of the third term of our program, the first of September 2014.
In our last report we had mentioned that we had taught 20 women to read, write, solve math problems as well as introduce the subjects of women rights and some business skills. This training was carried out without obstacles. Additionally we managed to prepare for the end of second termexams, plans for the third term program, and carry out student study tours that helped them achieve business skills. We also sensitized students about the benefits of cooperatives in the development of our societies. As a result, most of them are now enjoying being in cooperatives.
We would like to share with you the testimony of one of our students, Placidie, who managed to apply and receive a bank loan which she used to rehabilitate a house and erect a water tank from which she sells water to the neighbors. From this she is able to pay her children's school fees although she herself is a widow. She thanks Let us Build Ourselves to have enabled her to better know the dignity and value of a girl in society and to take action. She says that if she has not been in this literacy program she wouldn't have been able to achieve all of this.
Chronic challenges continue to be:
- Teachers salaries are paid irregularity.
- Monthly operating costs continue to get higher.
- The issue of replacing the dancing troupes INZOVU (elephant) costumes remain unsolved. The costumes are getting worn out and we now have to rent some when we are invited to perform. This dance troupe helps us in our fundraising.
The following is our plan:
- Continue to teach reading, writing and mathematics as planned from the beginning.
- Prepare for examinations for the end of the third term.
- Increase study tours for students since they have proven to be impactful.
- Continue encouraging students to form and join cooperatives.
- Continue training women on their rights and business skills.
- Organize the fifth graduation ceremony.
I would like to end by asking two questions. In your country is the number of women bigger than the number of men as it is here in Rwanda? Do you have women in decision-making positions in large members, as it is the case here in Rwanda?
Once again, please accept our appreciation of your support and participation in advocating for women’s rights.
The Team “Let us Build Ourselves" in Rwanda
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