August is here, and “back to school” season is in full force. It’s not too hard to think back several years and remember those days – our parents frantically searching for the best deals on backpacks, new clothes, and school supplies, while we anxiously and excitedly prepared for a new set of classes and teachers.

For us as former CHOSA volunteers, perhaps “back to school” also reminds us of our classrooms at Baphumulele and Emasithandane Children’s Homes, where energy constantly bounced off the walls, and we rarely got done all we set out to do in our lesson plans. Perhaps faces come to mind, of children who snuck their way into our hearts and never left, reminders of the hope a smile can bring, the difference one person can make.

As we know from our time in South Africa, the country’s most vulnerable children still lack the resources known to bring academic success, things that in most American communities are taken for granted: quality facilities and books, highly trained instructors, after-school and parental support, and a safe and healthy home environment.

Since the year has begun, many of you have been steadfast in giving generously to the projects that CHOSA supports. Thanks to your contributions thus far, our grassroots community-driven projects in South Africa have been able to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for children, after-school resources to enrich their learning, access to nutritious food and, for many, a stable and loving place to call home. Our Summer eNewsletter details many exciting new developments from our partner projects, made possible through your support.

As springtime blooms in South Africa, and children prepare to take important end-of-year exams in the coming months, your partnership is just as crucial as ever. We would like to ask you once again to support CHOSA’s work, this time in a special way: by becoming a part of our special group of alumni, CHOSAN’s 11, who commit to donating $11 per month for the rest of 2011, and $12 per month in 2012. For less than $3 per week – cheaper than one Starbucks coffee! – you can remain connected to your kids in a meaningful way, by ensuring that they have continued access to the resources they need to succeed in school and in life.

What sets CHOSA apart from many children’s organizations is the unique, grassroots support that you and others have provided. Our partner organizations in South Africa, working hard to serve the children, know that every dollar of support they receive comes not from a big wealthy foundation, but rather from a dedicated network of individuals who believe in their ability to do the difficult work of community building and local, grassroots development. The impact of your contribution goes far beyond the projects we support, because as a community comes together to address a crucial problem, they empower themselves and learn the organizing skills necessary to pull together and address other issues they face. The unrestricted grants that we are able to provide through your support thus change not only the individual lives of the children, but the future of their communities as well!

Because of this distinctive approach, we are able to provide the following services in an incredibly cost-efficient manner:

  • For every $2,000 we raise, we can pay monthly salaries for pre-school teachers for 150 children!
  • Or, for the same $2,000, we can sponsor a new shelter for a vulnerable family!
  • For $870 we can purchase enough diapers for 35 children for a month!
  • For $720 we can feed the same 35 children infant formula for a month!
  • Every $550 we raise allows an entire school to be electrified for a month!
  • Just $200 covers the school fees for a child who cannot afford to pay!
  • And $68 buys a school uniform, which a child will wear with pride!
  • Even $50 can provide diapers AND formula for 35 babies for a day!

Your service and support in the past has made all of this possible, and we truly hope that you will be able to give at some level today, and become a member of CHOSAN’s 11, so that we can continue to give hope to the children of South Africa. Click here for more information and to sign up!

On behalf of the entire CHOSA family, enkosi! We cannot thank you enough for your generosity. In this “back to school” season, thank you for thinking of the children in South Africa, and all the best to you and your family!

Ellie Gunderson

CHOSA Fundraising Coordinator

[email protected]