Hello Partners in Hope,
I want to share with you four amazingly exciting things that have happened for The Hope Project over the past three months. I’ve been so anxious to tell you about them. Please keep in mind as you read this letter, these opportunities happened because you gave to keep the doors open and the teachers teaching. This is the foundation that all these tremendous gifts flow from.
SEW MUCH HOPE
Joseph, our school principal, has along with the Liberian staff, longed to create an in-house vocational program for our current high school students. Their goal is to have 3 vocational certification options available for our high school students. The three desired areas/industries, chosen by Liberian staff because of their employment stability in Liberia, are: Drafting, Culinary, and Tailoring/Sewing. We hope also to have an IT Certification once our computer lab is up and running.
This past spring, we were given the opportunity to apply for a grant with Project Redwood of Tides Foundation, an amazing group of Stanford Business alumni, whose mission is to provide funding, expertise and connections to social entrepreneurs who address the challenge of global poverty. Just last week we were informed that we were receiving the full $25,000.
We proposed a program called Sew Much Hope which will fully fund a sewing classroom with sewing machines and supplies for two years. It will also have a micro-loan component providing for 30 graduates to apply for a micro-loan to purchase a sewing machine and begin their own businesses.
This $25,000 grant is a beautiful opportunity to begin the work of simultaneously earning a high school and vocational degree, providing opportunity for self-sustainability for our graduates.
While in Liberia this past year, some Hope International graduates on scholarship approached us and said that if they had a motorcycle, they could pay for their own food and living expenses while at college, since that is not covered in the scholarships we have provided. Motorcycles are the Taxi/Uber/Lyft of Liberia. It got us thinking and the Liberian Motorcycle Club was launched this summer. This will be a pilot program with four motorcycles (we currently have two) for 4 students in different parts of Liberia to have a small business opportunity while pursuing their educations. The motorcycles are $800 and the students will have 15 months to pay back the loan for the bikes. A small portion of each payment goes back into the school as a payback for the opportunity. This is an exciting time for The Hope Project as we continue to walk beside our graduates, creatively supporting their sunglass needing bright futures.
We applied for a grant to continue the completion of our new buildings on campus. Through the generosity of the Douglass Financial Services JSB Program, we were awarded a $10,000 grant as well as a $25,000 matching funds opportunity. This is significant and we are so grateful. The tiling of the first floor and windows have been installed and the bathrooms are now functioning. It’s the first time in the history of the Hope International School that we have had flushing toilets. We have until May 1, 2020 to raise the $25,000 to be matched. Little by little we are getting there. As Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”
FAMILY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP
Through the generosity of one of our partners, a gift of $25,000 from a family foundation was granted to our Scholarship Fund. Through this generosity the top 2 graduates from the class of 2018 were granted full university scholarships. Additionally, 15 students were awarded vocational scholarships. This is the kind of opportunity that will transform the future of Liberia…one graduate at a time.
Now, I know that is a lot of amazing things to have happened recently. Big, big stuff. But as I said at the beginning, YOUR perpetual generosity is what allowed us to have graduates to receive scholarships and micro-loan opportunities and to have a renovated campus that will house a sewing lab and future vocational opportunities. YOU did that! WE did that! Together, with our partners in Liberia, we are making ways where none existed. Thank you for dreaming big with us.
The Hope Project