2016 In Review

Trying to fit a big story into a brief review is challenging, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Trip to Uganda in June 2016, making strong connections with Pastor Edward & Christine Isingoma, who lead New Life Presbyterian Church and New Life Primary School in Hoima, Uganda. Learning more about the complexity of extreme poverty and the crisis of whole generations of girls not being educated.
  • Being personally challenged to do something led to me unpacking a closet full of beads and jewelry supplies to have a one-time event in October at our home. Raising funds to buy knickers and sanitary supplies for girls at New Life Primary was the idea. My goal was to reach $2,500, but $8,444 came in – along with lots of encouragement and inquiries about future works. Boom! The vision got bigger.
  • Knickers for New Life became an affiliate of Helps Ministries and gained 501c3 status as a non-profit. Helps has been vital to many aspects of KFNL – financial accounting/accountability to insure integrity, and professional photography and website design. They are the behind-the-scenes people who allow KFNL to grow and go in new directions.
  • Financial integrity and transparency is a core value of KFNL. Even though we are a brand new organization and are learning by doing, not always in the most successful ways, that is our goal. Here’s our 2016 recap:

    Operating for only the last three months of 2016, KFNL was blessed with $10,077 of net proceeds. Gross proceeds of $11,327 included money individuals paid for bead jewelry and strictly charitable contributions, primarily through the first two beading events sponsored by Grace Community Church in Mills River and Grace Blue Ridge Church in Hendersonville. Costs were $425 of admin fees to Helps Ministries for services of financial oversight, collection and wiring funds to Uganda, and auditing proper use of funds, plus $825 of start-up and promotional items including website development, business cards and posters.

    Distribution of our $10,077 net proceeds was as follows:

    • To New Life Presbyterian Primary School in Hoima, Uganda: $1,855 for knickers and sanitary supplies, plus $5,180 for pit latrines and hand-wash stations, for a total of $7,035.
    • To Christ School in Bundibugyo, Uganda, $2,188 for knickers and sanitary supplies.
    • The remainder of $854 was held at year-end in the KFNL account at HELPS. The plan is to send this to Bundibugyo in 2017 along with added funds to be used for pit latrines.

    Not shown in the above figures is all the material that has been collected for use in KFNL beading events. This included a large, pre-existing inventory of beads, supplies and jewelry-making equipment plus $1,942 of materials purchased and donated to KFNL.

  • Projects accomplished at New Life Primary were health & hygiene education, knickers for all, MakaPads (Ugandan-made, biodegradeable sanitary pads) supplied to all girls of age, and the start of construction of large pit latrines for girls and boys.
  • A second school was identified to partner with: Christ School in Bundibugyo. Fundraising for it began with a workshop/jewelry sale at Grace Blue Ridge in Hendersonville, and is still in progress.

Looking back at this, I feel thrilled, humbled, still surprised, and greatly privileged to be involved in work that directly impacts the future of the girls at these schools. It has been intense, hectic, fun, stretching me in every way.

Thank you for partnering with Knickers for New Life through prayer, giving, attending events, encouragement, help with jewelry making and other hands on needs. So many have shared so much and that is why this is going forward at such a pace that it does amaze me, every day.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

– Frederick Buechner

Feeling Deeply Glad,

Watha Kollmeyer