The Beginning of Tough Angels, and How You Can Help
Since my last words in 2009, I have now made it my mission to support abused women and children in developing countries. I have developed the organization Tough Angels, and I have applied for and received the government not-for-profit status, which took more than a year. I have provided school-based funding in Kenya for the past two years. Through this time, I have also noticed that the desire to serve others is often impeded by obstacles: fund raising, government red tape, and the absence of paid staff. This only names a few. It is necessary to implement plans and ideas and then have the faith to step back far enough to let the nonprofit morph into itself. Strategies often require modification and sometimes, elimination. Programs that address the needs of women and children of violence are not necessarily universal; what works in the US may not be appropriate for victims in developing countries. There is a learning curve to weeding away the minutiae so as not to be lost in the flood of details. However, I must also make detailed efforts as I learn about how to run a nonprofit organization.
We have been especially fortunate to connect with people who are passionate about Tough Angels’ work, who advocate for the power of collective efforts. Tough Angels has been invited to partner with Servant Forge, the UN/UNICEF, and the IRC (International Rescue Committee) to serve on the steering committee to develop a Gender Based Violence (GBV) Resource Center in Lodwar, Kenya. This effort will serve the refugees migrating to the camps from S. Sudan and Somalia. Currently, there are no programs in place to address this consuming devastation.
In August, I will go first to South Africa to interview primary schools to set up a grant program for educating at-risk children from the townships. Rape and child trafficking is a growing terror shared by poverty stricken women and children. Studies have shown that a girl in South Africa is more likely to be raped than to learn to read or write. Research also indicates that only 1 in 9 child rapes are ever reported. This makes it nearly impossible to convict most rapists. Median income for this area is $300/year and the cost to send a child to school is $195/year. Obviously, most children don’t have a chance at an education. Based on my experience, education seems to hold the ticket for hope, a safer existence, and a chance to rise above a life of poverty.
From South Africa, I will then travel to Kenya to assess the needs and formulate a strategic plan for the GBV Resource Center.
The United States economy has had an impact on nonprofits everywhere – but it doesn’t mean we can give up. Tough Angels has created an alternative way to donate with The Wedding Ring Project. We are asking people to donate unused, unwanted, broken, or repurposed jewelry to fund our education program and the GBV Center. The gold/silver/platinum is sent to a refinery and melted down for cash. What household doesn’t have a piece of broken or forgotten jewelry? In many cases, I know that jewelry may hold past meaning that is revitalized when its funds are donated to support abused women and children. This is such an easy way to donate! In my case, pawning my wedding ring to help put a roof over a Zulu woman and her house full of orphans became a catharsis that not only helped them; it healed me.
We are so grateful for your interest and assistance in this important work. Please contact me for further info.