Okay, so the donate button might evoke some speculation: most famously, “Im not financing a bloody backpacking trip!” (sound familiar, Jeffrey household?:) )

Thus, its raison d’etre is taking form.

There is a little girl who, when she sees me here in Ouidah, she comes running. She travels town with a three tiered nailpolish stand balanced on her head. She’ll do a mani-pedi in a snap, anywhere, any time, and for prices between 500 and 2000 francs (1 to 4 dollars). School started last week, yet when I was at the market this past Monday, as usual she spotted me and offered her services.

“Shouldn’t you be at school?”

This year, her mom can’t afford to send her to school, which costs about forty dollars for the year. Public school is free here, but parents are expected to provide the uniform, notebooks, pencils, general supplies. She went to school last year, so this is her first year to miss out.

If we can get enough donations to cover the cost of her schooling for this year, NGO Impact will check in with the family from time to time, and as she is identified as needing assistance, it is something we can follow in the years to come.

So it starts with school, and depending on donations, it could be something bigger. There are many needs here, and many possibilities for growth. The idea of the associations is to help mobilize women who, typically, dont speak much french, but who are motivated to create income for themselves. All of the associations we work with have a diverse range of revenue projects and ambitions… from making bamboo mats, to micro finance, to getting a cd produced. Also, in order for them to become an official association, they need to be registered with the government, which in itself is quite the feat (approx 400 dollars).

Of course, I will update online of what donations are being used for. Please email or comment if you have any concerns, ideas or musings!

-Also, Ive tinkered with the comment settings on the blog so it shouldnt be asking you to log into everything under the sun.
-AND, for those who are curious, Im volunteering through www.thehumanityexchange.org

Take care!