It is another beautiful day in Atlanta and I am so impressed with all of the letters that have been written from our donors to our Givology students. As letters coordinater, I enjoy reading the letters before they are sent off to our wonderful translation team at UPENN. I found Emma’s letter particularly inspiring! It is simple to write to our students: click message me under a student’s profile to get stated. You can find Emma’s letter below!
We start with our first word. Sometimes it is Mommy or Daddy, other times it is yes or no. But this is where it starts. From our first word we start to build a vocabulary of hundreds of thousands of words, until we begin to build a world through language. It is estimated that the human brain can hold 10^15 bits (in computer language) of information.
And yet, when we lack basic skills, like the ability to communicate with others, it cuts us off from the very thing we crave the most: to connect. And in the case of those who lack recourse, it mitigates the ability to establish the factors of basic sustenance. This is why I truly believe in Givology’s mission: to help students learn skills such as English.
Students who want to learn face many challenges though. At our Sri Lankan partner, Tea Leaf Trust, over 80 percent of the students supported by this NGO live on less than 1USD a day –the UN’s indicator of extreme poverty. Beyond steady income, this particular province of Sri Lanka faces many challenges such as a male alcoholism rate at 85% and a female domestic violence rate of 83%. Young people, usually women, are married at young ages, which is often reflected in self-harm and suicide. In addition, children usually do not have access to qualified teachers, income for class fees, or even transportation to schools.
These factors that perpetuate cycles of destitution can stop now. Tea Leaf Trust has formed the Central Education Project to teach students English in rural tea communities. English skills provide an opportunity for students to find employment away from the labor of the tea plantations. In turn, this empowers students and allows them to shape their own lives. It also reduces the chance that they will follow the destructive paths of those around them.
Teal Leaf Trust students
The Community Education Project will train 18-24 year old men and women English. In turn, these students will act as student teachers to children monitored by the Tea Leaf Trust staff team. 800 children from 8-11 years old will receive free English education at 9 different locations in 2012. Thus far, 79 student teachers have already finished their training and CEP already has 706 students enrolled in its program. 60 percent of these students have gone on to find full-time employment.
I believe these statistics hold a lot of weight moving forward. I cannot wait to see students putting sentence together and sounding out their words like l-e-a-r-n and r-e-a-d. My hope is that these students will continue be a part of rewriting the statistics that the Tea Leaf Trust project has so gracefully done. This November, Givology will be holding an event to support Tea Leaf Trust on Saturday, November 12th in Manhattan. To find more information about the
event visit Tea Leaf Trust Event and to learn more about the project click here: Tea Leaf Trust
I was unsure what to expect starting my sophomore year at Emory. It was like looking in mirror of what I had seen last fall-hoards of incoming students with maps and confused parents. It was hard to expect anything from my younger peers but wake up on time, get to class, and slowly begin to integrate within the college community.
And yet over the past weeks, I have had many opportunities where I sat in a circle by the fireplace and was surprised by their keen interest in our Givology students. Unlike the apathetic class of younger students I had imagined –only fascinated with next late-night campus events or enthralled their roomie’s latest sorority gossip -I found a class who was eager to learn more about the challenges our Givology students face.
What makes our letter writing process unique from other types of giving is that it requires students to expand their horizons beyond their immediate mileau. The letter campaign has students send messages of support to Givology sponsored students in order to encourage them to do well in school. Over the past few weeks, students had the ability to marginally interact with those who were attempting to receive basic education, nevertheless that of a college one. They raised many questions during our letter campaigns such as how do students get to school? How do parents choose between one child and another’s education with insufficient funds? What materials do these students need to learn?
And little by little, the questions continued to flow. Students were curious about solving the problems of education when they felt connected with those who they were helping. Despite the fact that I cannot answer all of these questions it was such a rewarding experience to see that my peers were asking.
Below is an example of one of their letters!
To message a student online, click message me under a student’s profile.
The Emory students are at it again: this time the freshman class is taking charge. Yesterday, they sat down by the fire place in Longstreet-Means, the freshman dorm, and wrote letters. There were crayons and multicolored paper. The students produced a wonderful array of letters and I cannot wait to send them off to our students. Keep up the writing! Or, click MESSAGE ME under a student's profile to send a letter of support!
This past weekend, the Emory club, Making Minds Matter, sold bubble tea at our Emory Wonderful Wednesday fair. Making Minds Matter hopes to raise funds to support education for girls in developing countries. We raised $80.00 that will go toward Brenda from Starfish One by One at the end of the semester. Below are just a few pictures from last Wednesday =)
Sarah has been an outstanding donor at Givology and has taken the time to speak with us about her Givology experience. Thank you so much Sarah for sharing your thoughts!
What inspired you to write a letter?
I sponsored my first Givology student in December 2010 after reading the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The decision to sponsor a child's education was something I took very seriously, I wanted to be involved in Givology and I thought that writing a letter to my student was a good way to be involved. I was inspired to write a letter because reading the stories of the students inspired me and I hoped that my letter would help my student realise there was someone out there in the world who cared about them and wanted them to receive an education.
The stories of the students are truly inspiring and reading their letters brings so much joy to my day. I hope my letters bring as much joy to the students as their letters bring to me.
How do you choose a student to donate to?
I started off sponsoring one student and now I have donated to three students. Choosing a student is never an easy decision because I wish I could donate to all of the students. Choosing the first student was a very rewarding experience; I went through all of the students available many times - I looked at their photos and read their letters.
Eventually I chose a student in Ghana and was able to donate the full amount of funding required. When I see the photos of the students I have sponsored, it brings a smile to my face.
What kinds of questions do you ask your student?
I have written a letter to each of the students I have donated to. I like to ask the students what their favourite subjects are and how they are enjoying school. I also like to tell the students a little bit about myself. Finally I like to tell the students they can achieve anything because I really want these students to know that despite their circumstances they can change their life if they study hard.
Is there anything you would like to share with other donors about your letter writing experience?
The letter writing experience is something all donors should do. I take great joy in writing letters to the students and receiving the updates from the students is always exciting. The last student I sponsored wrote in his letter that all he needed was love. This really touched me. For some of these students, they may have lost their parents in tragic circumstances or perhaps their parents are ill. These letters can bring them some joy, hope and love.
If you'd like to make an impact on the life of a child or school through Givology, click here.
We had a lot of fun writing letters to the Emory students this week. Thanks to all of the Emory students here in Atlanta for your help! Below are some of the letters to our students. We loved the stickers =)
You can send a letter to a student too! Under each student's profile is a tab that says MESSAGE ME. Click here to email a student and send them your message of support!
Letter example for the Emory students
Letter suggestions for the Emory kids
We had a table at Wonderful Wednesday, the Emory weekly activity fair, for the letter campaign this week.
Our table at Wonderful Wednesday!
Students writing letters to our Givology students =)
I am so excited to note that lots of new letters are pouring in from across the country. As a student at Emory, I am very excited to see the Emory community getting involved with Givology. We have lots of great activities that will involve the rest of the language students here and even a few of the creative writing majors.
Don't forget that along with handwritten letters you can also e-mail students messages of support under the "message me" link on each student's profile.
Below are some of my favorite letters. Feel free to pictures, a smiley face is universal =)
See some of our new letters: