THE “ART OF THE ASK”

11 Aug

After such a productive summer for EdPowerment, I now have to throw myself into the part of this calling that I admittedly am not good at – raising money to secure our programs’ future. 
Kilimahewa’s teens and sponsored students at last December’s Reproductive Health/Life Skills Seminar
After roughly four years of operation, EdPowerment directly impacts a growing number of adolescents, young adults and intellectually disabled, all of whose lives were at a dead end before our intervention.  Because of our personal and hands-on approach, EdPowerment can assure each donor that his or her contribution has a one-on-one effect on a teenager, whose life otherwise would be confined to the family’s plot of land or worse, a rented room. 
For girls, we are replacing the hopelessness that accompanies early marriage with learning.
For boys, we are replacing the temptation to gravitate to local brew hangouts with learning.
For the intellectually disabled, we are replacing rejection with nurturing. 
EdPowerment is doing all of this in a country that has no public and few private safety nets. 
Maybe it’s a computer course; maybe a library book; maybe it’s a good meal once a day; maybe it’s learning about a life skill such as planning or saving; maybe it’s learning about nutrition or the truth about malaria.  Or maybe it’s something bigger  – a chance to study for a Qualifying Test that can reignite formal schooling; a chance to learns skills previously deemed unthinkable; or the biggest “golden ticket” – a sponsorship that will not go away until one achieves a career that will last a lifetime.  EdPowerment provides all of this.

Group learning at Kilimahewa – taught to its teachers by our Management team of educators
Rebecca – our head teacher – checks out books from our newly instituted Library
But for how long?  So I come full circle to the “Art of the Ask” as it has been called.   Interestingly, an article in today’s New York Times, asks whether all philanthropies are equal and recommends as “effective altruism” an organization that transfers as least 90% of contributions directly to low-income African families.
EdPowerment is effective altruism.  We transfer every dollar we receive directly to a neglected young adult in Africa.  How? Our Board contributes its own resources and time (in the U.S. and Tanzania) to work with and teach our Tanzanian staff to structure and implement thoughtful, well-managed and accountable programs.
We are effective.  We are committed.  But we need to become more sustainable.  So this is our Ask.  If you know of any corporation, foundation or individual to whom we can present our work – small in scale but long in reach – please let us know. 
Yes, there is a way to help one person whose random circumstances at birth dictated a life of limitation and struggle. That way is EdPowerment.

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