We were so incredibly fortunate to get to spend a day on the farm this summer. We saw the amazing progress, met Nicholas and Lilian, and even helped plant fruit trees. Here is a brief overview of our visit:
First, Nicholas gave us a tour of the entire farm property. We walked the fence line and saw the progress in every area. It’s a beautiful piece of land with tons of potential. It is really nicely fenced and ready for expansion in lots of ways.
Second, we looked at all the crops – the current vegetable garden – and the location of the first soy bean field. Nicholas has the farm laid out really well.
Third, we helped him water a few plants – and quickly came to realize that a water tank & irrigation system is urgently needed.
Fourth, we played with the goats and learned about how they’re helping the farm – mainly as the “lawn-mowers” …and they do their job really well. We also met Tiger – the farm puppy!
Fifth, we helped plan 10 orange trees and several other fruit trees. We were suprised to learn that a mature orange tree in Zambia can produce 3,000 pieces of fruit! That’s a lot of fruit, but we need a lot to support the children at the school.
Sixth, we spent time with Nicholas and Lilian and got to know them a bit better. They are great people – and because of this job as farm caretaker they are able to send their children to school – we were so excited to hear that part of the story.
Finally we planted a nice beauganvillia near the front gate and prayed a blessing over the farm. It was a really nice moment.
We are so grateful for everyone that made the launch of the farm possible. We are excited about our “Phase Two” Campaign that will help us expand in new and exciting ways!
With just four weeks left before our October 1, 2016 priority deadline, we’d love to know if you’re working to complete some purses and send them to us. We’ve made a simple poll that let’s you response – and will help us estimate the upcoming packages. Our goal is 3,000 and we estimate that we currently have 1,300 so there is a very long way to go!
And if you’ve already sent in your purses – we want to extend a huge “Thank You”. This program is only possible because of your amazing generosity – and partnership. We are increcibly honored to partner with each of you in support of the women and girls of Lusaka!
Whatever happens – we are grateful, honored, and super excited to celebrate during our Unboxing Party on October 26th at 6pm Pacific. Please plan on joining us that night and save-the-date.
As I write this we have just two hours left in Lusaka before we head to the airport. I realize there are a lot of you that have been following our daily posts on Facebook and all the fun pictures there – and would love to be here with us – so I thought I’d give you a quick list of the requests I heard about this week – and a quick update on the status of the program. First the status report.
The program is working incredibly well, but it’s not without it’s technical issues. But overall, the seamstresses are busy making product, the teachers are training the girls, and the purses are making a huge impact. We heard story after story – the outcomes are very consistent – the Sew Powerful Purse program is making a transformational difference in the lives of girls and women in this community.
In terms of urgent requests – here is what I heard this week in order importance. Please note some of these issues our team in Zambia can resolve on their own with our help. Some we can resolve ourselves on the U.S. side, and several are simply funding related challenges, so as you might guess – your monthly financial partnership is incredibly helpful (set that up here). Here’s the list:
The girls mentioned they run out of soap. They are provided one bar in the purse when it is given to them. It costs us 38 cents. But to offer an ongoing supply – we’ll need to create a line-item in our program budget for soap so the girls can come to the school and get some when they need it. (Please note – we do not, and cannot accept random bars of soap in the purses you make for us. That’s not helpful. These items need to be purchased locally and used at the Needs Care School.)
We met with the seamstresses as a large group, then with our three amazing team leaders – and they requested three things. First, a bigger team budget to grow the team and ensure everyone is benefiting.
The seamstresses third request was for more space. They are challenged by the space they have – and ideally (some day) as we continue to grow they will have their own production facility.
We met with the World Vision Zambia team and they asked us to urgently help them fulfill their Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program goals distributing 5,000 purses in the One-Chongwe Area Development Program with purses and the Sew Powerful training. All indications are that our 2017 purse goal should be 6,000 purses (to fill the need at the Needs Care School + the 5,000 World Vision is requesting). Can we do it? We have NO idea!! But we we believe in miracles – and we are constantly blown away by the enthusiasm we’re receiving for this program from around the world.
Finally, the donors on the trip requested more giving options and resources to help them tell the story, engage their pastor and missions pastor, their local fabric store, local sewing machine store, and their personal network of friends. Watch for those soon on our resources page.
Cinnamon and I are incredibly honored to serve as coordinators for this program – bringing together seamstresses from around the world to combat extreme poverty and unlock the educational potential of girls – and entrepreneurial potential of the moms of the community.
I think you’ll enjoy seeing this exciting update from Esther! The purses we packed on November 11th have arrived at the Sewing Cooperative in Lusaka! If you didn’t watch the fun unboxing party from the 11th of November, you can see it on the bottom of the homepage.
Atelier Angels: If you feel your heartstrings prompting you to begin supporting this program, be sure to check out our Atelier Angels program, we have summertime Thank-You Gifts we’d love to send to you!