Thanks to your support, Pencils for Kids has accomplished so much this past year creating many opportunities for the women and students in Liboré, Niger.
Our 2015 Successes
We were one of the top ten charities that won the Project 4 Awesome award in December 2014, voted on by people from around the world!
Our Scholarships for Girls program continues to thrive. Four more girls graduated from Secondary school in Liboré, bringing the total to 17 from the beginning of the program. These 17 girls are all enrolled in post-secondary institutions, and are role models in the community. We are tremendously proud to have initiated a program that is changing the lives not only of these young women but the lives of their families and community as well.
4 more girls graduated in 2015! P4K has provided 364 scholarships to 175 girls since 2009, and 102 of those girls received scholarships in more than one year because of their consistently high academic achievements.
Farmers of the Future is a partnership between Pencils for Kids and Eliminate Poverty Now, guided by Professor Dov Pasternak. In 2015, 80 women were operating four income-generating gardens adjacent to four schools in Gueriguinde, Gonzare, Galbal and Ecole Centre. Among other things, women have been planting onions, sweet peppers, okra and Moringa. Moringa is a highly nutritious plant that is valued so much in Niger, that the women simply could not keep up with the demand. It is our hope in 2016 to open a fifth garden near the Leadership Academy in Liboré, which will be a true template for future Farmers of the Future sites incorporating many of the lessons learned from our experiences thus far.
600 students have participated in Farmers of the Future since the program began. 80 mothers are running nurseries and gardens. 30 teachers have taught elements of the program.
Below is just one success story from our Farmers of the Future program.
Hamsa Kindo is 50 years old and lives in Niger, the poorest country on earth. She has a husband, 2 sons, 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren. Just a few years ago, Hamsa felt like a burden, having many expenses and no way to contribute.
Then she became a part of Farmers of the Future, an innovative program to lift subsistence farmers out of poverty, and her life changed forever. Here’s how she described it:
“Before the project I had to ask my husband for everything. I was often at home. I had no occupation and no money of my own.
“When I heard about Farmers of the Future it was like a dream. They taught me how to grow vegetables and graft fruit trees. Now with the money I make, my dreams of independence became reality. My relationship with my husband is very good since I am not any more a burden on his shoulders. I am his partner for our household expenses. I paid for the wedding of my daughters. I buy clothes for my children and pay their school fees. I help my sons buy food and clothes for their wives. Today I’ve become a person and play a positive role in my family and my community.”
The Farmers of the Future (FOF) program encourages farmers to think of farming as a business. It promotes the cultivation of high value irrigated crops, primarily vegetables, and provides training and opportunity so farmers begin to prosper and not just survive.
In the FOF program the village primary school becomes the “agent for change,” introducing new concepts and techniques simultaneously to two generations: to primary school students receptive to new ideas and to parents (primarily mothers) able to put new ideas immediately into practice. Introducing change simultaneously to two generations speeds the adoption of new attitudes and practice. With reliable access to water, yields are dramatically increased, raising the economic and nutritional value of production. When broadly implemented, the FOF program will make a major contribution to poverty, hunger and malnutrition for millions of subsistence farmers in Niger and beyond.
Medical equipment, sewing and school supplies arrive in a forty-foot container to Liboré, thanks to the generosity of Superior Medical. This enormous container was filled with medical donations from Superior, in addition to supplies from local school children and businesses.
Included in the container were examination tables, wheelchairs, hospital beds, clothing, sewing machines and school supplies.
New Programs Start In October 2015:
A new Art Classroom and Art Program are being initiated and sponsored this year, by the family of Bernice Henry, an accomplished Canadian artist. Mrs. Henry passed away in October 2013, leaving behind an enormous body of work in every medium. She believed in the importance of nurturing young people’s talents and guiding them in their formative years. Mrs. Henry’s favorite saying was “life can be beautiful” so the new Art Program will be aptly named in French, “La Vie Peut Etre Belle”.
Phase 1 and 2 of The Education and Apprenticeship Centre are currently being built thanks to the generous sponsorship of LUSH, Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. This building will house the Cooper Sewing Girls and the Cooper store, in addition to being home to other apprenticeship courses and exhibition spaces. It is our hope to complete phases 3 and 4 by the end of 2016 or early 2017. The Cooper Centre girls take a three-year course, pay their own tuition, and participate in examinations that are accredited by the National Sewing Association.
To date, 175 girls have received training in the Cooper Centre.
Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is a unique program that trains youth to become one-on-one tutors to their parents or to other adults. This program was initiated in 2014 and has just been renewed for the 2015-2016 year. Students who teach are becoming mentors and tutors not only to the adults enrolled in the program, but also to their own peers in school.
La Liberté d’Etre is a theatre club, introduced and sponsored by P4K’s Program Director, Louise Sherman, in 2014, that uses theatre, drama games, and performance to build self-esteem and confidence, encourage imagination, practice teamwork, and teach life skills. This past year it introduced competitions among the high school students.
Soccer for Kids continues to be an integral part of the school program, using the soccer balls donated by One World Futbol in 2013.
Pencils for Kids is a completely volunteer run organization and we are tremendously proud of the programs and services that we are able to deliver to the children of Liboré. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the unwavering support of our Pencils for Kids’ community. Your ongoing contribution to P4K has an impact every day on the life and the future of the children and women of Liboré. For these children and women, and for the whole community, your support is driving sustainable change that will deliver benefits right now and for future generations. For all these reasons we hope you will be able to maintain or even increase your financial support for P4K in 2016.
Thank you for supporting the work of Pencils for Kids and letting the children in Liboré, Niger know that you care!