It has been far too long since I penned you last. Much has been happening in my life recently and I wish to share it with you all.
It brings me great joy to share with you that this past May, I graduated from Macalester College with a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies, minors in Political Science and Anthropology, and concentrations in African Studies and Human Rights and Humanitarianism. My time at Macalester provided me with great professional, academic, and personal opportunities such as interning at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique, studying urban development and human rights of people with albinism in Botswana, advocating for girls' education with Kakenya's Dream in Washington, D.C. –all while meeting amazing friends and colleagues along the way. Throughout college, I did my best to make a conscious effort to run 15:30 Project as successfully as I had prior to college, but being a full time college student and organization president comes with its challenges.
This past year especially, I thought about the future of 15:30 Project more and more as I was about to leave Macalester. Ultimately, after being offered a Princeton in Africa fellowship I felt it was too great of an opportunity and privilege to pass up. Therefore, from September 2018-2019 I will be serving as a Princeton in Africa fellow in Lusaka, Zambia working for Healthy Kids/ Brighter Future (HKBF), an organization which provides low income children with school-based health services. With HKBF, I will be developing my non-profit management skills as I work closely with the founding president. I anticipate this opportunity will give me great mentorship and guidance for future endeavors throughout my career and I will come back to 15:30 Project's community with more insight and experience.
15:30 Project is without a doubt my proudest accomplishment to date. I will never stop thanking each and every one of you who has supported our mission throughout the past six years. Open Arms-Home for Children continues to grow and the children are receiving the best gift we could possibly give: an education. More children than ever are enrolled in high school, two children are currently university students in Cape Town, and one child has passed her flight attendant tests to pursue her dreams of traveling to the world. The opportunities these children are experiencing are thanks to your unwavering support.
So where does this leave us and 15:30?
The children of Open Arms will always be a part of my life. While in Zambia, as I had throughout both high school and college, I intend on visiting the home and providing any resources to help these kids receive an education. While this is not a finite end to 15:30 Project, as a board we have decided to not pursue any new fundraising endeavors while I complete my fellowship year. However, we will continue to receive and be so appreciative of any donations towards the children's education.
I cannot thank you all enough for supporting 15:30 Project over the past six years. I am beyond grateful and humbled by all the assistance you all have provided not only the kids, but also to me. 15:30 Project began as a simple idea of a 13 year old girl with a sewing machine and a passion to help others. For all of you who have backed me and made this dream a reality it is quite a surreal feeling. Now, almost ten years later I hope you recognize the impact we have made by funding the high school educations of these incredibly deserving kids.
If you'd like to follow along with my endeavors, you can fill out the form below to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter. I anticipate writing a monthly update of my new journey. This will be a personal letter that will not be directly affiliated with any of 15:30 Project's nor Open Arms' work. This newsletter is simply an update of a 22 year old living in a new country, experiencing new adventures, and learning along the way!
If you'd like to sign up for the e-newsletter click here: https://goo.gl/forms/EOyAHJysXtEHVdv33 .
With Gratitude and Love,
15:30 Project, Inc. Founder and President
My graduation cap. Mbulelo means Grateful in isiXhosa.
Me and my dear friends Cyd, Jordana, and Thyra at graduation.
My parents Jim and Meg and my brother Alex celebrating with me.