SISTAWorks logo
October 2016
Vol. 009
Greetings!
The 25 SISTA Scholars who we selected last fall to ensure that they could continue their education are now back for their second year of high school. The 2nd Year students have the unique position of being mentored by senior SISTA Scholars as well as assuming the role of mentor themselves to the new, incoming freshmen girls.
2nd Year SISTA Scholars at Zuarungu Secondary School

We are thrilled to announce that all of our 2nd year SISTA Scholars have now been matched with generous sponsors like you. We are looking forward to begin the recruitment process for our new 1st year students and to matching them with individual sponsors committed to seeing them through their high school education. One of our new sponsors, a dancer, recently wrote, "I couldn't think of a stronger imperative. I will call them my newest dancers; my hope is to someday be able to learn the dance their lives become."
 Scholars Surmounting Undue Challenges
Faustina, a 2nd Year SISTA Scholar
Overcoming the many obstacles to enroll in high school is often met by the challenges that many girls from rural West African backgrounds face to stay in school. One of our second year students, Rosina, began Zuarungu Senior High School in the fall of 2015 after selling fruit in the market in order to raise her registration fees. Her brother had to drop out of high school due to a lack of family funds but he vowed to help Rosina so that she would not have the same fate that he did. Rosina wants to be a Home Economics teacher.

Another SISTA scholar at Bolgatanga Girls' Secondary School, Faustina, is a second year student who continues to persevere despite financial, as well as familial challenges. She and her siblings have experienced severe food shortages and hunger. One of her brothers also abandoned his own education so that he could begin working to help the family and to support Faustina's education. Faustina looks up to a local female doctor who has inspired her desire to go into a healing profession. It is already clear that, with adequate support, Faustina will go far despite any obstacles that stand in her way. 
As our program grows, word has spread throughout Ghana about the relief available for girls who need help to stay in school. One enterprising student heard of our organization and figured out how to contact us directly through our website. The student, Susanna, wrote:

[I] am a needy student who completed junior high school in 2013. I've been in the house for the past three years. I've been trying all possible means to go back to school but all to no avail. I've worked with people who always say they want to help further but they end up asking for a different thing all together. And finally after several years of struggle, I heard of your work and how helpful you've been towards girls like me who couldn't [go] further. [I] am therefore appealing to be given the opportunity to further my education. And I hope with your help and assistance I'll be able to further. I completed Awogeya Junior High School obtaining aggregate 20. [I] am pleading to be given a chance to further my education to pursue my vision as a nurse to help the people of Bolgatanga and Ghana as a whole. Thank you.

This is the first time that a girl has reached out to us through our website, and, thanks to so many of you, we are humbled to be able to help Susanna and others like her clear the pathway to their dreams.
Girls' Empowerment through Music
To further enrich our programs domestically, SISTAWorks launched a series of music empowerment clinics for under-served girls in our hometown. New Orleans' students at McDonough 35 High School are participating in a free program to provide a healing space for New Orleans' girls to explore self-discovery, self-expression, healing and cultural exchange through musical creativity. The clinic aims to support girls in defying expectations based on gender and economic status. Each session provides a space for the "airing out" of issues and experiences that create blockages in the students' natural creative energy, while enabling the students to experience mutual support and compassion around challenges specific to them as young women.

Through collaboration with The Pontchartrain Chapter of The Links, Inc., high school mentees are participating in the program. The Jazz & Heritage Foundation has offered a partial grant for the next clinic, which will be offered in 2017.
Champions of Change

The Crescent City chapter of The Links, Inc.  awarded our founder and Executive Director , E. Aminata Brown, their prestigious Champions of Change award in International Trends and Services. The Links held an awards ceremony on September 24th where Brown received the award. The nomination is recognition for Aminata's past 16 years of work in Ghana, helping to develop and implement both entrepreneurial and education programs that serve women and girls in need.

The Links, Inc, is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of nearly 14,000 professional women of color. It is one of the nation's oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. 
Sponsoring a SISTA Scholar
SISTA Scholars at Zuarungu Secondary School in Ghana
The cost is so little and the stakes so high when you think about our SISTA Scholars. What the girls lack in funds, they make up in enthusiasm when they are offered the opportunity to attend high school. To date, we have had 173 SISTA Scholars attend either Bolgatanga or Zuarungu Secondary School. The cost to sponsor a student is $300 per year and is funded by people like you, whose donation helps pay for tuition/fees, school supplies, uniforms, ongoing local support programs, as well as extra classes that are offered throughout the school year. If you would like to sponsor a SISTA Scholars, please click here.

There is no coincidence that young girls around the world are garnering attention. First Lady Michelle Obama has launched the "Let Girls Learn" initiative because she knows that "a girl with an education can shape her own destiny, lift up her family, and transform her community." SISTAWorks' plan starts with foundational high school education for girls who lack only funds. By earmarking SISTAWorks for your end-of-year giving, you are aligning giving with a powerful force - an educated girl.

This year at SISTAWorks we are celebrating our girls. It has been a year of accomplishment for our students in Ghana, as well as here in New Orleans. As we continue to grow our program, we depend on people like you who sponsor our girls and who give generously to our organization. We also are grateful when you help us get the word out about our programs, a referral to a friend or an organization, sharing our information via social media (if you have not LIKED our Facebook page, please do so here), all of these are ways to help us serve these girls who offer us hope and promise for the future. Thank you for being a part of their journey.

Here is a link that you could send to friends and family - http://sistaworks.org/index.php/support-our-work/donate-sistaworks/.
 
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.   




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 25 new sponsors for 25 of our SISTA Scholars before February 28, 2017. 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 needs 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