You did it!
We want to tell you of a little dream come true. For 2 years Annie and I have been longing for the Rwandan co-op's school age kids to be in school. We have played around with lots of different ideas for sponsorship and incentive programs. And like anything in life there were pros and cons to all our ideas. Ultimately we want the most kids in school for the most years. But we also want to accomplish that in the most dignified manner, where the moms are choosing the schools, the moms are paying for the schools (in Rwanda, that means tuition, books, and uniforms), and the moms are overseeing attendance and schoolwork. The ladies we work with have had many choices denied them in their lives. We don't need to make more decisions for them. We have striven to listen to their goals and then work together to come up with plans to meet those goals. And for the most part the goals are fairly straightforward- to have enough work to feed their families, to have enough work to pay the rent, to have enough work to move away from abusive situations, to have enough work to pay for school. So this year Annie and I set a business goal to purchase three times more product than ever before, with our eye to providing enough work for the ladies to cover school fees. And the ladies set a goal to make enough to pay themselves a monthly salary that would allow themselves to set monthly budgets for themselves and look to the future with hope and sanity. (Have you ever tired to seriously plan for the year ahead but had no idea if you were going to make plenty or zero? It's really hard). That brings me to the happy ending of Chapter One. This week we celebrated good attendance and good grades, really good kids, and really good moms. We celebrated with cake, mother-student relay races, and cash bonuses (because what kid doesn't like a few dollars in his very own pocket for the very first time?) Thank you to all of our donors and shoppers! We humbly and genuinely could not have done this without you. And a huge thank you to Jane and Cheryl, our leadership on the ground in Kigali, for making it happen. And if you want to learn even more about this outstanding group at the More Than Sparrows co-op, you can hop over to this guest blog post about a Typical Tuesday.
We hope that your holiday purchases will be reminders in your home of all we have to celebrate- a season to be incredibly grateful, a season when Hope came to the world, and lives changed through generosity and kindness. Now get to shopping so we can start 2017 off with even more growth and orders for our dear friends in Rwanda! ;) Jump over to the SHE Holiday Guide for amazing tips on having a richer, healthier holiday season. We're so honored to be featured! https://www.shechangeseverything.com/blog/2016holidayhandbook
And just in case you didn't see the announcement on Instagram , YOU FAR EXCEEDED our goal for our first order with our new partners in Haiti! We asked you to spend $450, and y'all blew our minds by pre-ordering about $2500 worth of product! YOU ARE AN AMAZING COMMUNITY, and we are so so very grateful!