We are happy to share with you information about an innovative new program called Saving for Change recently launched by the Solidarity Foundation at New Beginnings/Sendero. It is a savings-led microfinance program where 15 to 20 individuals (typically women) save and borrow in a small group setting. The savings groups are self-managed and self-determined under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Founder and President Eric Kinman believes that group financial involvement and inclusion is “a fundamental catalyst out of poverty; helping families to build household assets and strengthen resiliency.”
Two Savings for Change groups have recently been established, in collaboration with New Beginnings/Sendero, for families living in extreme poverty near the site of the old dump at Magisterio and Gardenia, where previously savings, spending, and credit behaviors were sporadic, dangerous, costly and usually resulted in pushing the families deeper into poverty.
Savings Group #1: El Principio (the beginning). This savings group is comprised of 14 women from the New Beginnings jewelry making program. After two months, they’ve saved over MX$7,000. The act of saving is a new experience for all of them, so this achievement is quite impressive. Recently, they achieved another milestone – granting their first loan. Recently a 49 year-old mother of four was granted a MX$1,000 loan from her peers. This one act shows the group’s ability to make collective decisions and use their own money to empower a peer – that’s social development at its best! As part of the program, the group has formulated a Social Goal – where they raise money for a common purpose. The group´s goal is to buy a community dumpster to keep their neighborhood clean. This past week, the group began seven weeks of educational sessions -focusing on topics like health, domestic issues, gender differences, etc.
Eric and the Solidarity Foundation board are hoping to start a third Saving for Change group in this same area very soon; however they will need a sponsor (or co-sponsor). Five hundred dollars US will pay for a group facilitator, all of the materials and a lock box for three years. All donations will go directly to this group’s expenses. Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation, with your support, would love to sponsor this new group. If you believe in the potential impact in this type of program in breaking the cycle of poverty, please send a donation through our foundation (or New Beginnings Mexico if you are Canadian) and mark it “For Saving for Change”.
As we come to the close of another year and prepare to celebrate a new one, we at CSHF continue to be amazed and grateful for our growth because of your support over the past twelve years. This year we have expanded into some new programs and done much to meet the basic needs at those centers we have supported for many years. At RISE, we currently are paying for water and electrical bills; at New Beginnings/Sendero we give funds for six tutors for their “homework clubs” plus a full time psychologist; at Corazon de Niña we now donate for a teacher/tutor plus a psychologist; at Pasitos currently we support two educational specialists; and, through our Houses for Hope program, plans are underway to build two more houses soon. Although our Board of Directors is still a small group of energetic, compassionate volunteers, we have made many strides this past year.
We are proud to share that we now have 765 caring people who have donated to our foundation. We have donors in 31 different states and four countries other than the United States, including several from Canada who receive tax receipts through New Beginnings Mexico. Our board members represent 5 different states. We have over 1720 “friends” who communicate and receive our newsletters. Many of these donors give regularly – each year, bi-annually, or even each month. Some donate for specific efforts, such as shoes, school supplies, backpacks, etc. Some sponsor children each year through our 10 X 10 program or our SOS – Sponsor One Student program helping to support strong, dedicated students through New Beginnings/Sendero and now also Corazón de Niña (see SOS article below).
Contributions range from $5 to $20,000 per year. Each is valued as helping our foundation make significant contributions and changes at RISE, New Beginnings/Sendero, Pasitos de Luz/Casa Connor, Corazon de Niña, Houses for Hope, and other smaller projects. We are making a difference!! We hope that you are a part of our ever growing family of donors.
By Bety Flores Olvera
Four full weeks of fun and activities were available this summer to the 89 children who participated in Sendero’s first summer camp. The children, who live in extreme poverty with their families in the communities of Gardenia and Madre Selva near the site of the old dump, had experiences that they will remember for a life-time. The camp was sponsored by the Seaver Foundation, an organization in England which provides groups of trained and motivated volunteers for a month at a time at both RISE and Sendero. The volunteers planned different events and each day of the summer camp led the group of children, ranging in age from 5 to 15 years old. Each day included activities such as sports, dance, music, art, cooking, and English classes.
In addition, several outings were planned. The younger children were able to go to a movie (a first for most, for sure), and 46 of the older children went to see some dolphins and learn about how to care for the rivers in their area.
The smiles, learning, and excitement were constant and certainly made the summer go by very quickly. Thank you to the Seaver Foundation for giving these children love and hope.
Estefania Candelaria Partita Betancourt has just started her third and final year of middle school and is 14 years old. She is a strong and motivated student with a grade-point average of 8.9 out of a possible 10 and is seeking financial assistance through Sendero’s SOS (Sponsor One Student) program. She is a very happy girl who smiles all the time and is optimistic and helpful to other people.
Estephania lives in Las Juntas, a poor community just outside of Puerto Vallarta She lives with her young parents (both are 36 years old and only finished elementary school) and her little sister who is 5 years old and in kindergarten. Her father works at night and the mom takes care of the two girls. Estephania wants to be a doctor. She loves to read and often goes to the Mexican markets to find inexpensive used books.
She comes to volunteer at Sendero every other week on Sundays and help us at the children´s center. The children love her energy and enthusiasm (especially the little ones). She is always willing to help more, and she asks to borrow books to read every time she comes.
Estefania is definitely a super star and role-model to her friends and family because she understands the importance of a good education. A donation of $300 will make it possible to pay for Estefania’s school tuition, uniform, books, etc. for one semester. Please help us to make a difference in her young life by making a donation today marked “For Estefania”.
People comment frequently that a unique and attractive feature about our foundation is that we are small and PERSONAL. We, as board members, are volunteers; involved and committed to helping children in need in Mexico. We know the children at RISE, Sendero, Pasitos, and our other projects – we agonize over their struggles and celebrate their successes. We are there with the children regularly, full of ideas and dreams, and we have tender hearts. We give tours, tell everyone about our work, take the children on outings, help with fundraising events …. We are concerned, inspired, zealous advocates, PASSIONATE about giving children hope for a better, brighter future.
We maintain transparency by posting our tax documents and other important information on our website, sending out newsletters with updates regularly, and answering all emails and questions from donors and potential donors promptly.
Our foundation expenses, focused primarily on printing, website maintenance, and communications, are incredibly low (from 6% in 2013 to under 2% in 2014). We are careful guardians of the donations entrusted to us and do the very best we can to fulfill our promises to the people we work with and to the children. For transparancy purposes, we also provide our 2014 tax statement on the CSHF website. WE CARE and we want to make a difference. PLEASE write to us, TRUST US, and continue to support our efforts when you can.