Waves of Hope quietly celebrated its third anniversary this week.
I remember the early days of Waves of Hope, coming into a community as strangers but being accepted as family right away. Having little to no experience in development work, we were motivated by the fact that we had the ability and determination to help – and simply an open ear to support our community.
We launched Waves humbly in Toronto one warm September night, at an Art Gallery on Ossington Ave. Listening to the music of Fjord Rowboat (http://fjordrowboat.com/), while sipping on Steamwhistles, our closest friends donated over $8, 000 to launch our initiative. We were touched and amazed by the support and the faith of our Toronto community in supporting our courage, determination and dreams!
Our first initiatives on the ground were to complete the construction of a school and to distribute over 250 backpack kits to needy students.
Since our launch, Waves has expanded into the following areas:
- Home construction & rehabilitation
- School expansions & improvements
- Youth & child tutoring
- Mentoring programs
- English classes
- Academic scholarships
- Sea turtle conservation
- A kids club program
- Food support initiatives
- Entrepreneurial training & business skills development
- Various health donations and assistance
- Community gardening initiatives
… and so much more.
And the results speak for themselves:
We have seen the attendance at our local school rise from 27 in 2009 to 77 students this year.
We have seen children grow as their families win their battles against malnutrition.
We have seen families move from plastic shacks into concrete homes; children overjoyed as they realized that they will no longer get wet at night when it rains.
We hear English conversations amongst our scholarship students, confident in their new language.
We have built, furnished and supplied classrooms allowing students to learn in proper environments.
We have rehabilitated a community well providing water to a community of 300.
We have distributed over 1,500 seedlings for family gardens.
We have distributed thousands of pounds of clothing, medical and educational supplies.
We have hatched over 5,800 baby turtles.
We have built bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.
And yet beyond all of these tangible results, we have witnessed something even more valuable: our community united –learning to love each other, regardless of religious backgrounds, old disputes or petty fights.
Working together, helping each other and sharing the joys of life together.
Our fourth year is going to be our most challenging as we prepare to build a High School & Technical Training Center. A sustainable and eco-friendly space, this school will allow 150 students to attend high school daily, plus another 100 will attend technical courses in the afternoons and on the weekends.
Just imagine if your schooling ended at the age of 12? This is the current reality for our community members and we believe we can do better!
This project is scheduled to start in November 2012 and we need your help to make this dream a reality!
Our goal is to raise $100,000 over the next 12 months. This will provide enough funding for the school to be built and will allow us to open our doors for the start of the 2014 school year. Please support our cause.
But that’s not all we’re planning…
Over the next twelve months we also plan to:
- Build a cooperative bakery
- Complete a major elementary school rehabilitation
- Expand our scholarship program
- Continue our housing improvements project
- Maintain our ongoing programming
Will you join us?
We also wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you! We have been so fortunate to have had such wonderful people supporting Waves of Hope since our inception– all of our incredible interns who have impacted so many people here, pro-surfer Holly Beck and the incredible Amigas from www.surfwithamigas.com, the dedicated students and trip leaders from Case Western University in Ohio and High Tech High in San Diego, Carlos and Katja our first Waves of Hope Ambassadors, Berkeley University, San Francisco’s Surf for Life organization (www.surfforlife.org), Jay Harmon from 888 Breweries in Nantucket for his phenomenal fundraisers and all our friends and family members for their generous and continuous support.
To all of you, and so many more, thank you for believing in us and the people of El Manzano #1 and thank you for giving us this chance to help change lives!
The Waves Team