Leah's Dream/Afafanto Scholarship Fund Newsletter

Leah's Dream sponsors education and community develpment through finaqncial and mentoring support for young women in Northern Ghana


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Off to Ghana

Larabanga mosque

Larabanga mosque

Soon we will meet our newest Afafanto Scholars  and catch up with our friends in the villages!

Shea Butter women

Shea Butter women

We have a full itinerary from meetings in Accra to opening our new office in Tamale, not to mention a side trip to Mole National Park which is home to many elephants and other wild creatures. Most of all, however, I am looking forward to shaking the hands of our Afafanto Scholars and telling them how proud we are of their progress.

One of our 2015 Afafanto Scholars.

One of our 2015 Afafanto Scholars.

We plan on visiting and meeting with the headmasters of as many of their schools as we can fit in to our busy schedule. Stay tuned from Ghana…

Our Birthday Giving Campaign is now in full swing. We are 1/3 of the way to our goal of $10,000.00.  Won’t you please help us become sustainable and give a birthday present to Leah? She would be 35 this year.                                                                                                    
DonateNow

The link is also available on our website www.afafanto.org/donate.php. Give generously in time for Leah’s birthday which is February 22.

Wish us a safe trip.

                    Sandee


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Its a New Year and a Milestone Birthday

Hi and hope you are having a grand 2015 so far.

If you missed  out on your year end giving why not give a birthday present to Leah? She would be 35 this year. Our donor page has a new look as we are now with Network for Good. The link is available on our website http://www.afafanto.org/donate. You can also donate here. DonateNow
This will make it even easer for you to make your donations to support Leah’s Dream. Look for our Birthday Giving Campaign to be in full swing in time for Leah’s birthday which is February 22. We are kicking it off January 22. bday cakeBut no reason to wait till then, give now!

Leah would be quite proud of all that we have been able to accomplish this year. Due to the Ebola crisis there was a slow start to the school year and testing was delayed. We did however, manage to begin 2 new scholarship winners in November. Their names are Abdulai Rafaia at Northern School of Business and Daakiyre Angelics at Lasia Touli in Upper West Regin. They are majoring in business and science respectively. We have 4 young ladies that are expected to graduate this year and 3 second year students. With our 3 graduates, that makes 12 girls whose lives have been impacted by our work.

In addition, we have started working with some local expert craftswomen as well as Engage Globally, another NGO organization based in Washington, DC and in Taha, Ghana. We want  to offer apprenticeships in the making of pocketbooks. This and our support of the Sangariku Shea Butter Cooperative expands our outreach to women in other ways besides education.

I am looking forward to my trip to Northern Ghana Feb. 9. It has been 3 years since I last visited my friends there. Now that we are an official NGO in Ghana as well as a 501c3 here in the US, we are busy setting up our Tamale office. We hope to have a place for women to gather and to offer computer training right there.

Leah's Dream Board Secretary

Accompanying me on this trip will be our newest Board member Sarah Lynne McMahon. Look for her bio and more news from our students in our next issue.

Till then “mah krow” or goodby in Twi, a language of Ghana,

  Sandee


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Happy Thanksgiving

So much has happened since my last post it is hard to know where to begin. Emelia Guo, our new Executive Director of the Leah’s Dream Ghana NGO was here for a visit in August. Together we made some daring plans to advance the sustainability of our little non profit. We hired our new consultant, Labrine Braimah to obtain official documents from the government of Ghana so now we are a legal NGO in that country and are eligible to bank under our corporate name. We have initiated a shea butter shipping process to new markets we have begun to develop in the states. Let me know if you are interested in purchasing all natural, fair trade bulk shea butter. We are expecting our first shipment soon. We are also working to establish an apprenticeship program for our graduates and other girls to train them to make lovely bags also to be sold in the States. IMG_0011With our profits, we hope that we can offer more Afafanto scholarships for eligible girls to attend secondary school. We have just enrolled our 13th young lady in school.

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Don’t forget Giving Tuesday

Now with all of our progress, we have to further our fundraising outreach efforts. So, we have become a part of the Amazon Smile program. Each purchase you make on Amazon via Amazon Smile will donate .5% of the purchase to Leah’s Dream. Check it out at: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2986141. Look for more ways to donate online soon.

I will be making a trip to Tamale to our new office there and to visit the Afafanto Scholars. Despite all of the sad Ebola news out about West Africa, there has not been a single reported case of Ebola in Ghana. Keep your fingers crossed. More on our girls in the next post, which I hope will be sooner than this one. Sandee


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A quick thanks to everyone who contributed

Our Leah’s Dream Inc. Afafanto Scholarship Fundraiser was a big success. We can now fund scholarships for 3 more girls for next year. The Dreaming Tree Trio along with Rachel Bronstein entertained a crowd of about 60 at the Bainbridge Club. Our 2013 school year has ended now in Ghana. The girls have taken their exams. Our graduating students, Saaka Arabiatu and Mukuramatu Abdul Razak have taken qualifying tests to be accepted to their tertiary level of education (university). We are so proud of all of them. This summer I will be travelling to Ghana to oversee our programs there. I hope to produce another documentary for this blog. If you have not seen the first one on our Facebook page, catch it at this link:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2618004962538&set=vb.168996569793068&type=3&video_source=pages_video_set

 

 

Join us for the 2014 Afafanto Fundraiser

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Adinkra Symbol

Hello,
Spring is upon us. Transformation from a cold, snowy winter to a warm and wonderful Spring. If you have received an invite to our Fundraiser, you may have noticed the Adinkra Symbol at the right. This is an ancient Ghanaian symbol for transformation. The transformation of Leah’s Dream into a sustainable NGO is now underway. But we need to build up our capital and that is where you come in. We are busy planning our 2014 fundraiser for this year. Our goal is to beat last year’s fundraising effort of over $10,000.00. This money has been used to support our 10 scholarship girls in Northern Ghana through secondary school. PLEASE DONATE!
 We aIMG_0011re also planning for a trip to visit Ghana in 2015. We have gotten the support of the Philadelphia organization Women in Leadership. With the help of WIL, we hope to establish a bank in the Tamale area and work with empowering women in a whole new way. Emelia has also been working with local craftswomen to establish an apprentice program to make those fabulous satchels shown at last year’s fundraiser and on sale this year as well.
I am especially excited because our May 3 gala benefit this year will be a concert performed by none other than the Dreaming Tree Trio organized by Leah’s brother Scott Horowitz. We will also be featuring guest artists who have been kind enough to donate their talents to our event. Rachel Bronstein is a jazz singer in New York City and Keith Yetter is a singer songwriter now living in Charlottesville, VA. Please visit our Eventbrite website to register. This year’s event will be held in the Bainbridge  Club an old jazz venue run by the Hotel Brotherhood in the SOSA neighborhood of Center City. We will also be selling raffles for baskets chock full of good things as well as holding an African Crafts marketplace. Hope to see you there! It will be lots of fun.

Happy Spring! Sandeedrum

If you cannot attend, PLEASE DONATE!!

 www.afafanto.org/donate/php

This gallery contains 2 photos


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Happy New Year

Happy 2014 to all! This post is waaaay overdue. So much has happened since my last post in September. Most importantly, we now have 3 new Afafanto Scholarship recipients. Issahaku Adzifa is from Larabanga and attended Bagabaga Demonstration Junior High School. Abudu Slamatu is from Damongo and attended Yabum Junior High School. Our third Afafanto Scholar is special because she is the first one to be accepted to study the sciences. Her name is Zelia Sayibu. She is attending Bimbilla Senior High School.

This is Zelia:                    AZIZ

We are very proud of all of our new students.  Currently they are on a Winter break. It is the time of the Hamattan in Ghana. This is a very dry, hot and dusty wind that blows down from the North.Hammatan

Emelia, our erstwhile Africa coordinator is finally back home with her family just in time to celebrate the holidays. It was beginning to get a bit too frosty for her in the Northeast US. While she was here, she delivered a beautiful 9 pound baby girl whose English name is Sandy after me. I am so touched.

As I said in my last newsletter, we have made many plans for this new year. We hope to hire more office help in Tamale and a student intern here in the U.S. to handle the growing tasks of Leah’s Dream. We now advise one graduate, administer scholarships for 9 girls; and the job of keeping track of each one as well as promoting the next crop of applicants for 2015  is quite time consuming. Meanwhile my job of fundraising for our growing organization has again entered the planning phase. This year we expect to hold a benefit concert in April complete with an “African Market” theme. Stay tuned for more on that later, it should be another fun fundraiser.

Emelia and Sandy Dazaa Seidu

Emelia and Sandy Dazaa Seidu

So, as Leah’s Dream and the Afafanto Scholarship Fund enters its 4th year of operation, we can proudly say that we have begun to fulfill the first part of the mission we have set forth: “…to carry on Leah’s legacy of compassion, leadership, academic excellence, and a spirit of giving, the Leah K. Horowitz Afafanto Scholarship will sponsor promising young women from Northern Ghana so that they can continue their education through secondary school.”

   Now as we begin to graduate these amazing young women, we will turn our attention to helping to fulfill the second part of that mission: “It is hoped that these special young women will gain the knowledge and skills that they need to empower and improve the lives of women and children in their communities.” We begin with our first graduate, Mariama Iddrisu who is pursuing a career in nursing. This year Mukaramtu and Arabiatu will be graduating. I am looking forward to going, this year, to their villages to shake their hands personally.

Again, all my best,

Sandee


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Future Sustainability

strengthAh well, summer is over. Our girls are on break until Oct. 1, then their new school term begins. The new Afafanto Scholarship applicants have finally received their test scores so we are now in the process of choosing our recipients. Thanks to Ibn Kamara, our second and third year girls have received their books and supplies and tuition is all paid up. Six wonderful Delta Kappa Gamma sisters have volunteered to write letters and to mentor our girls with words of encouragement. Mentoring is a big part of our philosophy for success.

Thanks to Kipo Jimah for picking up some of the slack while Emelia has been here in the US awaiting the birth of her second child. She is due any day now and will be happy to get back to her family in Ghana. Kipo, a current Leah’s Dream Board member who was a colleague of Leah’s at IFPRI has taken a new job to be closer to his own family in Tamale. We congratulate him and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.

Since Emelia has been in the US, we have had some extra valuable time to plan our next steps for Leah’s Dream. Our little organization is growing. This year we will be managing the education of 9 young women in Ghana andcontinuing to mentor our recent high school graduate Mariama Iddrisu who has ambitions to enter the nursing profession. Besides our Afafanto Scholarship, we have also stepped up our efforts to provide some teacher training in the village of Larabanga. Ibn, our erstwhile Supervisor is also a teacher in Larabanga. He has earned his advanced teaching certification with a grant from Leah’s Dream. Congratulations to Ibn!

ibn and me

Ibn Kamara and Sandee Mandel Mole N.P.

Emelia and I met in June with Alice Lesnick, Director of  Education at Bryn Mawr College. She has sent some of her students to Dalun and formed a partnership at UDS which is the University that Emelia teaches at (how is that for serendipity?) We hope toexpand our efforts at teacher education with Dr. Lesnick’s help. Helping teachers to teach better will allow more girls who want a secondary education to pass their WAEC national exams thus expanding our pool of Afafanto applicants. All part of our strategy to make Leah’s Dream sustainable into the future.

Shea Butter Cooperative

Sagnarigu Shea Butter Processing Group

Our meager efforts at marketing shea butter from the Sankarigu Shea butter cooperative, has netted a total of about $200. We are thinking about the idea of marrying our two projects (shea butter/crafts marketing and scholarship) with the idea of offering micro loans to  groups of young women who are not choosing to get a formal secondary education. We are exploring the possibility of pairing some of these girls with mentors in Ghana who they will apprentice for and learn a craft or trade. Our fundraiser this year will be offering these products at local Philadelphia flea markets with dollars earned going for our scholarship fund.  The girls’ cooperatives will get a good start at a future and we finance our scholarship program. Sustainability in action. Please comment on these ideas, we welcome your feedback ( and your donations) always.

Anyway, as the lushness of our summer becomes the brilliant golds and oranges of autumn we look forward to putting our plans into action. As always, stay tuned…Sandee