SISTAWorks logo
July 2016
Vol. 008
Greetings!
Summer is here and we've been making the most of the academic slow down while we also celebrate some major milestones. This month, SISTAWorks setup a dedicated office in Bolgatanga, Ghana - walking distance to both of our partner schools. We are most excited about the new opportunities that this long awaited facility affords us, especially the ability to provide ongoing resources to all of our Scholars and a general place of contact for other girls facing educational hardships. This on the tail of graduating our largest class ever - 35 SISTA Scholars completed secondary school in May! Among many other things, we are so looking forward to our upcoming group journey to Ghana in January 2017! Read on to learn more about these and our other works in progress.  
Congratulations SISTA Scholar Graduates!
SISTA Scholar 2016 Graduates
We are so proud of our 35 SISTA Scholar graduates! Many thanks to all of the Sponsors who supported these inspiring young women. It was our honor to acknowledge them with a special ceremony where we handed out certificates and gifts to each graduate. One of our graduates, Martha Abuga, wrote this to her Sponsor, "Studies and everything is going smoothly. I am very excited to tell you that I will be completing on 13th May 2016! I am very grateful and appreciative for all the support you have given me. I say God richly bless you. I promise not to disappoint you."
Diana Shaw, who sponsored Martha, said, "When I think of all of the hardship and struggles these young women go through to get to this point, my heart is overwhelmed with respect and admiration for them. I'm very proud to have helped in some small way to make this opportunity available to Martha and hope I can continue to support her in her post-secondary schooling."  

Most of our graduates do have plans to continue their studies. We have compiled the exit interviews of each student and sent letters to each of their Sponsors outlining their plans and aspirations. We've also included information on how Sponsors can stay in contact with their Scholars. Our work and theirs does not end at graduation; for the rest of the year, SISTAWorks will be rolling out new initiatives and working with each graduate to help them go even further. We look forward to continuing to be a part of their great journey onward.
Let's Journey to Ghana
We are so excited to announce that our Journey to Ghana - A Voyage of the Heart, has been scheduled for departure the first week of January 2017. We invite you to join us on this beautiful exploration of Ghana with a special focus on the lives of women and girls throughout various regions of the country. The trip is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other supporters of girls' education, while touring the country and sharing life-changing experiences together. Each traveler will be matched with a SISTA Scholar to sponsor. The Journey will culminate with the Sponsors meeting their Scholars in their communities in the northern region of Ghana.

Here are a few testimonials from our previous trips:

"This was an exceptional experience for me. It was my first trip to Africa and it changed my perception of the continent, its people and their needs." Joann S. 

"The Women's Journey to Ghana was an all-inspiring experience. I couldn't have asked for a better first visit to Africa."  Leticia W. 
Two SISTA Sponsors, Sasha Matthews and Michelle Blue of Bené, recently returned from Ghana in May where they attended the graduating ceremony of five SISTA Scholars. Michelle said, "The trip was amazing!! We can not thank you and Basiru enough for making this possible. . . The trip reinvigorated us to continue to work diligently on behalf of these girls ...."  
 
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a heart-centered connection with and a deeper understanding of African women and girls, as well as the chance to create some extraordinary life-long bonds.

If you are interested in being part of this trip, please email info@sistaworks.org and we will send you all of the details. You may also click here to access the Journey section of our website. We look forward to sharing this experience with many of you! 



Nawlins' Girls Get Set to Jam!
Students from 2015 Young Muses Camp
We are excited to announce our partnerships in New Orleans for our Girls' Empowerment Program through Music. This program will use music as a vehicle to ignite critical elements of self-actualization in girls, such as: self-discovery, self-expression, self-acceptance, personal restoration, cultural exchange and community building. 

SISTAWorks, with services from Musicollaborative and former Berkelee College of Music professor, Angelamia Bachemin, will partner with The Pontchartrain Chapter of the Links and Rethink to offer music clinics to underserved girls in New Orleans. The Pontchartrain Chapter of the Links formed in 1994 as a diverse group of women who shared common interests in their desire to perpetuate and support endeavors that contribute to the community. The Links Pontchartrain Chapter provides mentorship to girls at McDonough 35 High School who we are honored to have as participants in the program. Our other partner, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, is a youth organizing and leadership development organization that uses participatory education and action research to build organizing and leadership skills of New Orleans youth. We are looking forward to working with a dynamic group of Rethinkers in our music program, as they lay the groundwork for their social activism work.  
 
The clinics will launch this fall and run 6-8 weeks for New Orleans' high school girls. The program will also include a creative exchange component with our SISTA Scholars in Ghana.

Booking for the Future

Two new initiatives fill our dreams for SISTAWorks' near future.

First, we are working a plan to establish a library for our SISTA Scholars in our new Ghana office. Our students are eager to read more for pleasure, as well as a way to learn English, which is a second language for them (though it is the national language of Ghana). The school libraries are extremely poor in resources and do not loan out books. We feel strongly that getting books in the hands of our girls will give them better language proficiency while opening the door to global cultural literacy.

Interested in helping with our library initiative? We are seeking donations to assist with the cost of setting up the library and sending books to Ghana. This fall, we will also hold a book drive to gather enough books to stock the library (focus on fiction books initially). Please email aminata@sistaworks.org if you can assist any way.

Secondly, we want to create a formal Post-Secondary School Support Program to encourage all of our graduates to continue on their education path. We know that in Ghana, a high school education does not offer real career options that will enable young women to break the cycle of poverty in their own lives, or in their communities. Girls who have overcome incredible odds to complete their high school education deserve the opportunity to fully realize their dreams. Most of our SISTA Scholars want to become nurses and teachers - occupations that give back to their communities. We have seen first-hand how continuing to sponsor Scholars through their post-secondary education has dramatically improved and impacted their lives. Our post-secondary school fund would guarantee a minimum of five new graduating Scholars yearly funding towards post-secondary programs of their choice.
 
We are seeking partners to help us fund our Post-Secondary School Support Program. Please email aminata@sistaworks.org if you, or someone you know would love to be part of making this dream a reality.
A Small Step Leads to a Great Journey
A SISTA Scholar graduate sends thanks from Nursing School
Could you commit to sponsoring a SISTA Scholar for two years at $300/year? If so, we need you, because we are looking for 20 new sponsors for 20 of our SISTA Scholars before September 30, 2016. For a mere $300/year, a girl receives tuition and dorm fees, school/boarding supplies, pocket money and an opportunity that reverberates throughout her family and community. Please watch this video message from Aminatu, one of our graduate Scholars.
 
To sponsor a student, please click here
 
Visit our website SISTAworks.org to learn more and sign-up to sponsor a student.

Feel free to call our office at 504-301-4800 to discuss sponsorship.   

No Benefit Concert in 2016
REMINDER: SISTAWorks will not hold its annual fundraiser in 2016, as we focus on building new programs and initiatives for our Scholars, supporters, and New Orleans community members.
 

SISTAWorks is a small and dynamic organization and there are many opportunities for you to get involved. We have ongoing administrative tasks and our annual fundraiser, as well as a myriad of tasks that are involved with running a small nonprofit. Our volunteers have made it possible to support over 173 young SISTA scholars in Ghana since its inception.
 
Please consider becoming a volunteer of SISTAWorks today and know that your contribution will have a direct impact on our scholars and their communities for years to come. Email: info@SISTAworks.org

Sincerely,
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E. Aminata Brown
Founder/Executive Director