But I have many partially legitimate reasons - the most recent of which is Hallelujah Toffee.
Last year, we earned enough to sponsor FIFTEEN students, all well-deserving potential freshman high-school-age kids who just needed the tuition for school paid. (High School in Kenya is like our college in America.)
First an update: these students are all finishing their first year of high school. Despite the many adjustments and transitions required of them to move from the Mathare slums to their respective boarding schools, they are excelling, just like we knew they would. Here's a few of them...
This is Vivian, born and raised in the Mathare slums. Both of her parents died and she along with her four siblings were left under the care of an uncle who lives in the slums. Vivian says that she misses her parents but also grateful for the opportunities she has been given. She says that she feels like she belongs and is encouraged to work hard in her education. Currently enrolled at Chakol High School in Western Kenya, she is adjusting to the new pace of boarding school life, enjoys mathematics, and hopes to become a pilot.
Gabriel, also known as Oloo, was born in 1993 to a single mother who died in 2000 when he was seven years old. Oloo and his elder sister are the only ones left in the family after their younger sibling died shortly after their mother's death. After all these tragedies, Oloo and his elder sister were left to face the harsh slum life with no one to care for them. They both struggled to make ends meet with no hope in life. Despite the hardships, Oloo has been very resourceful; he graduated at the top of his class in KCPE 2010 exams and was invited to join Londiani Boys High school where he has contnued to perform at the top of his class. [Biographies courtesy of One Life Africa's website. Thanks, Andrew and Stephanie!]
There are twelve more inspiring stories where these came from, but I'll try not to be the mother at the grocery store who has the wallet full of school pictures of "her kids," as I refer to them. I'd like to brag on them all day long, but I'll restrain myself.
Suffice it so say, these kids are so far beyond where I thought they would be in one year. So, as exciting as it is to look at their progress over this past year, now we're looking forward to this upcoming year.
Now, we're working on sending them to Term 2 (sophomore year) for the year. The scholarships provided include the students' school fees for the year, all room and board, a summer camp in their off-time, a mentoring program with like-minded adults, and even a small emergency medical fund in the case of a medical emergency for any of the students. (For those of you interested in the financial side of things, the students' scholarships are $1000 for an entire year. This also includes all of their school supplies and a Christmas party.)
So, if you've got a hankerin' for handmade candy, some great Christmas gifts, or business basket fillers, you can purchase it here in the left-hand column or on our website. 100% of our work is voluntary, and 100% of our profits are donated. Call it a modern-day sewing circle, if you want. We call it the best Christmas tradition of the year!