The last time I uploaded a post to this blog, I was still in Zambia, under the grass-thatched black plastic, trying to distill my thoughts into 300 character articles. As tempting as it is to wax poetic from my current vantage point–on a citenge in an air-conditioned room in the city of the great and powerful Washington (aka the ever-demanding, unquestioned, omniscient entity that was always changing our policies, delivering dry powerpoints, or requiring more reports…or so said we in the field, at the time)–I’ll cut to the point:
Sixteen months after I left my site, I received confirmation that the application Mrs. Alice Namonje Mwesa and I submitted at the tail end of my service had been approved! To remind you, she is the leader of the reusable sanitary pad school entrepreneurship/movement that became the enduring program of my service. (The fact that my presence on this was peripheral is probably a reason the program has continued to succeed.) The application requested assistance from the U.K.-based organization, Tools with a Mission (TWAM), which has an office in Kitwe, Zambia. Last week, I learned that TWAM has approved the following items:
[8 sewing machines, a great GRE word, 1 computer, 1 scanner, and 1 printer]
While all of these items will significantly improve the capacity of the club’s operations, the group hasn’t just been sitting on their heels. Rather, they have continued to receive support from the government and interested NGOs. This past March, for example, Water Aid collaborated with the GLOW girls on an advertising campaign. Ba Alice has continued to travel throughout the provinces to promote improved female hygiene practices, fearlessly addressing this cultural taboo.
The agreement with TWAM is such that they will secure the equipment as long as the applicant pays for the shipping costs. The shipping cost of these materials is equivalent to 2,230 ZMW (about one month of a teacher’s salary), or $218 USD (+$10 for the money wiring fee; grand total = $228). TWAM’s deadline for receiving these funds is the year’s end. Though Ba Alice could probably amass the funds over time, I am concerned that the time frame is too short to collect the money AND get it to the Kitwe office within three months.
So my request to you: Help me cover the shipping fee.*
Extra benefit: If you pledge any amount, I will write you a letter with an enclosed SASE (throwback!) in which you can tuck your dollars. I don’t have Venmo, so this is the second easiest way for me to collect your contribution (the first being to download the app, which I’m resisting).
How to help:
Help me cover the shipping costs of valuable equipment to the GLOW Lubunda Women’s Club** in two quick steps.
- Fill out this contact form, so that I know where to send the awesome letter (even if I don’t know you, I promise it will be worth it).
- Return the enclosed letter to me ASAP with your donation!
I will update this post once I receive enough pledges to cover the fee. If contributions exceed the $228 request, 100% of the contributions will still make it to Zambia. Excess money will support GLOW program needs, defray school fees for students who can’t afford the uniforms, books, etc., or whatever else Ba Alice and the group deem appropriate.
* I will send the money upfront now, but hope that you will also like to contribute to this important community development. For those of you who have supported us in the past, thank you! For those of you who are supporting us now, thank you!
**GLOW: Girls Leading Our World