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From the launch of our organization, we have endeavored to leave a lasting, positive impact on the communities we serve. We approach our partnerships with deep humility and a strong focus on collaboration. With these guiding principles, our goal has always been to empower local leaders to lift up their own communities. Though we are committed to stand alongside our partners for the long-term, we focus on opportunities to build sustainability into programming efforts. As Charles Mumba, Director of Hope Community School in Zambia always puts it – we want to empower people to “stand on their own two feet.”

 

I have deep respect for the leadership at our partner organizations. They are powerful advocates for their communities. So, guided by their leadership, this push for sustainability looks different for each of the partners we work with.

In Zambia, our longest standing partnership, the most exciting push for sustainability in recent years has involved the purchase of farmland near the school and orphanage. With over 7 acres of land cleared and planted out of a 25 acre plot, the crops of corn, cabbage, bananas, mangoes, and other fruits and vegetables have significantly reduced costs for the school lunch program and will generate some additional income for Hope. In addition, the farm is creating jobs and the Hope students make frequent visits to the farm where they learn agriculture and farming vocational skills.

In Nicaragua, where the past two years have brought difficult political turmoil and rising costs, our partners at Las Tías have sustained an unwavering commitment to the young people they support – including making long-term investments in their futures. When funding from a previous supporter ended, Spark Ventures stepped in to help support the costs of a psychologist and the Las Tías vocational programs where students study trade skills like carpentry, sewing, and cosmetology. This year they were even able to add a piñata making class – a colorful and fun, but also practical handicraft as piñatas are regularly sold in the local markets.

Our partners in Mexico have a number of robust sustainability initiatives. This year, the Spark Ventures community, lead by our Associate Board, supported their recycling initiative which brings in revenue for Entreamigos through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. More on the recycling initiative, and other investments in these three partners are in this report.

I hope you enjoy perusing some of our biggest milestones from the past year. We are certainly proud of the work we have accomplished together and we look forward to more in 2020.

 

With gratitude,

Kristin Schrepferman
Executive Director