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Looking Back, Looking Forward
Mid-winter holidays and New Year’s is a special time and we hope yours has been wonderful and that you were surrounded by loved ones. This time of year is so incredibly cold in Fargo, so we wish you all warmth and health in ringing in the new year. The last year has brought a lot of change to ASAH, and 2018 is bringing a lot of excitement and hope to ASAH!
The end of the year always seems to be a time of reflection. A lot changed for African Soul American Heart this past year. The ASAH girls left Moyo to attend school at St. Noa in Kampala, Uganda. This new school is a higher quality and demands more from the girls, while providing them a better platform to launch them into the future.
We had a successful Back to School campaign in the early fall that was able to help purchase school supplies and new uniforms for the ASAH girls at St Noa. We were so blessed by this effort and all those who supported it!
Our Underwear and Underwrite panty and pad event was a success too! Deb will be bringing the donated goods to Uganda with her for the ASAH girls to distribute at refugee camps next month. The girls are looking forward to giving back to the community by helping those in need at the refugee camps.
We are so grateful the ASAH girls are protected at the school in Uganda, as refugee camps are not the safest place and food resources are dwindling. There was an attack in Duk County in South Sudan, where we initially built our school, in late November. This resulted in a horrific number of deaths and injuries. Dozens of women and children were also kidnapped, and even now they are still not recovered. We’re so happy the ASAH girls are protected and are no longer subjugated to the civil war in South Sudan. Our hearts and prayers are constantly with them as some of the girls had family and friends effected and killed by this attack.
There is so much hope in the future for the girls and this year brings wonderful opportunities. Deb will be visiting them in the middle of January and all parties involved are looking forward to reconnecting again. Deb’s trip will bring her to Child Voice International, which is a vocational and agricultural training center where some of our girls are learning this January over school break. We are so happy to be involved in this program to help our students learn skills for their future.
As mentioned before, Deb and the girls will be distributing new panties and reusable maxi pads to the girls in the refugee camps. This is such an essential need and often lack of these supplies keep girls from going to school. ASAH is blessed with this opportunity to help. If you would like to donate to ASAH, please visit our donation page at asahinsudan.org/donate.
We are super excited to be participating in the Dakota Medical Foundation’s Giving Hearts Day! This will be the first year for us and we’re looking forward to participating in this community-wide day of giving on February 8th. We are always so amazed and grateful of the spirit of generosity that North Dakota and the Fargo-Moorhead region have. We’re looking forward to being included this Giving Hearts Day and making it a great one!
We are also anticipating a new film to be released this spring that feature the ASAH girls. Jessica Wunderlich is our talented videographer who has shot previous films for us. We are excited to see the film and hope to hold a public viewing of it as soon as it is completed this spring.
This spring has a large milestone for us as it is our 10-year anniversary as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We look forward to having a commemorative event held for everyone to celebrate with us! Thank you to all who have been a part of our organization through the years and in the future.
About the Author
Executive Assistant at ASAH
JoRelle is a cultural anthropologist, a printmaker, a gardener, and a lover of books and knowledge. She holds an MA in cultural anthropology with a cross-cultural conflict resolution focus from Western Washington University, and a BS in both anthropology and fine art from North Dakota State University. Due to her mother growing up in Burundi, the plight of young girls and their protection, education, and empowerment in Central and East Africa is constantly on her heart. She looks forward to utilizing her skills, education, and background to helping others.
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