One word to describe 2018 would be growth.
This year our hearts have been filled with pride and joy as we have watched our children grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our older children are learning who they are as individuals, navigating through the ups and downs of adolescence…and lets be real — bringing a lot of drama and spice to our household on the daily! Our momager (yes, our manager also serves as mama to 20+ children) is a miracle worker. Can you imagine 5+ kids going through puberty all at once?! Welcome to our family folks.
In many respects, this was our most successful year to date. Two of our oldest children began post-secondary studies. Jane continued to receive the support her long term donor, allowing her to follow her dreams and begin her journey in the food and service industry. Dennis was able to teach in Soweto for several months before joining college to pursue his dreams of becoming an engineer. This was a huge step for our organization, and our family as a whole. Seeing two of our oldest children pursue further education showed our younger children that their dreams are valid, and with hard work and dedication they too would reach their full potential and academic goals for the future.
In 2016/2017 the story of one of our youngest, little Faith, captured your hearts. Faith had a full repair for her Tetrology of Fallot congenital heart condition in Israel in 2017. After spending the first 4 years of her life in a vulnerable situation where she experienced abuse, we were finally seeing her come out of her shell and begin to heal. Faith has grown physically, which was a huge step in a positive direction. Faith’s friendship has continued to build with our sweet girl Annie. A sisterhood. This coming January Faith will go for her annual check up to ensure her heart remains in good condition.
In 2018 we welcomed the I See You team from Canada, for another successful year of eye glasses clinics. The team provided eye glasses to 500+ members of the community in Soweto. I See You is led by long time ZLT supporter, and member of our Board of Directors, Suzanne Harvey. Suzanne founded I See You after seeing a need for assistance in our community during her first trip to ZLT in 2014. She has since continued to visit annually with her children and members of the community in Sudbury, ON — where we receive over 90% of our donations each year.
In addition to being joined by the incredible team from I See You, our family also welcomed BC Serna and Taylor Saxelby in mid-2018. Taylor took all of the beautiful photos which can be seen on our website while BC created this incredible video seen here below. Both captured the spirit of our children, and the love felt in our home each and every day.
In 2018 we held our 6th Annual A Night In Africa Event and we’re thrilled to announce that we raised $75,000! This was a HUGE success for our organization. In addition to the support we received from ANIA, we also received the support of school fundraising initiatives by Ecole St Augustine Elementary in Garson, ON and Ecole Sacre Coeur in Sudbury, ON. Both schools collectively raised over $4,000 for ZLT programs in 2018! Before the end of 2018 Ecole St Augustine had raised over $1,500 for ZLT programs going into the new year. We’re thrilled to see the support of the global ZLT village and we look forward to welcoming more school groups in 2019 / 2020! Together we provide the gift of education.
Before the close of 2018 we launched the “Gift of Education” Fund. What began as a GoFundMe campaign will follow us into the new year - onto our brand new website coming in February 2019! The Gift of Education campaign will be an ongoing fundraising initiative to provide quality education scholarships to our 20 elementary aged children + 6 children in high school and post secondary studies. To date the initiative has raised $1,300 CAD. Our goal for phase 1 is $3,900 CAD.
As we enter 2019 we are grateful for all of the prayers and support we have received this year. Without your support we would not be able to create the loving, supportive, family we have at ZLT. We appreciate each and every one of you.
The ZLT Family.