Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank You Pizazz It! Scrapbooks

A major THANK YOU goes out to Pizazz It! Scrapbooks in Pickerington, Ohio!! I was allowed to purchase a $100 gift card to Pizazz It! Scrapbooks which will be raffled off at $1 per ticket or $5 for 6 tickets. This raffle will continue on for two months (until September) and 100% of the proceeds will go toward the purchase of school supplies and hopefully sponsoring at least one child in The Gambia (hopefully more!) to go to school for an entire year! See their website (blog tab, News2know) for more details

**Gambia School Facts**
The cost of a child to go to school in The Gambia for a year is only approx. $125 per child which may not sound like much to an American like myself but in The Gambia only the “rich” can afford to send their child to school. The Gambia has a new law called the Education Policy which allows females to attend school free of charge until ninth grade. Males on the other hand still have to pay to attend first through ninth grade. Females must pay to attend tenth through twelfth grade, which unfortunately tends to keep them from going to school past ninth grade. Before the Education Policy less than 40% of children in The Gambia attended school. While the new legislation policy has pushed progress forward significantly and is improving with attendance, the lack of school supplies is still severely hindering the education process. However, we are here to help that seda seda (slowly, slowly as they say in Pulaar).
Thanks again to Pizazz It! Scrapbooks and to those who are supporting the cause by purchasing raffle tickets! I sure hope YOU win the $100 gift card!

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Introduction

This is my induction into the world of blogging. I have never been one to blog about anything in the past but now my family and friends have been encouraging me to start one so that I can share the experiences from my project, A Future For The Gambia. At first I wasn’t sold on the idea of this kind of blog because honestly who wants to read about fundraising and donations? But then I remembered that this project is about so much more than that – I want to make a difference. More importantly, I want to show people that every individual has the power to make a difference. That was when I decided that I did need to blog about what I am doing but not just so that I could share the experiences from my project with everyone. This blog project is more for me than anything else so that a year from now, hopefully longer, I can look back to where I started and see how far I have come.

Explanation time – The name of my project is A Future For The Gambia. In March of 2009, I went to The Gambia on Africa’s west coast for the first time and fell in love with the country and its people. During the month I spent there, I couldn’t help but notice the extreme difference in everyday life for them. When it was time to come home to the States, I returned bursting with ideas on ways to help! Since then I have been collecting clothing and school supplies from friends and family, as well as purchasing many supplies myself, to ship to the country and be distributed to the schools and families in the villages. In March 2010, I shipped four containers full of these items to The Gambia and when I called to see if they were helpful, I was overwhelmed by the response! It meant so much to them that I had done this for them that when I called they couldn’t do anything but say thank you over & over & over again. After realizing the impact that these supplies had for them, I knew that I wanted to do more. Until now, this had been a personal endeavor but I knew that by making it public that I could make a bigger impact than I ever could on my own.

About a month ago I decided to implement some ideas for expanding my efforts. I gave this project its title because the future of The Gambia is what I am trying to influence. With each new generation comes a new future for every country so the easiest way to make an influential change is to begin with the children. The main focus of this project is to collect gently used clothing and school supplies. Any money collected will be used to pay for shipping of these supplies and with enough help, it will ultimately lead to be opportunity to sponsor children in The Gambia to have the chance to attend school. In addition to expanding my efforts to include the help of people outside my own personal family and friends, I am now working with members of the Peace Corps who are currently living and helping in The Gambia. In early 2011, I will be returning to the country to meet with these Peace Corps members and distribute the supplies that I have collected to the neediest school and families in the villages. Until then, I will be doing my best to collect as much as possible with your help!

Now that you know the history of the project, let’s focus on the future!