Dear CiH Family,
I write this letter to you with my heart racing, stomach in knots, and tears welled up in my eyes. A letter I never wanted to write.
Last Tuesday I spoke to a Girl Scout Troop in Durham, NC. A girl, around 7 years old, looked up at me while seated on the front row, hand raised boldly and excitedly. She asked, “Do you ever have moments when you want to give up?” likely expecting a superwoman answer.
Before I could filter my response to match her excitement, the truth leaked out: “I want to give up right now, this month.”
Her eyes switched from anticipation to disappointment. Much like my weary heart has over these last few months.
I use this phrase a lot, and while it’s less than professional, I’ll use it here. It’s time for “real talk.”
This year has made me want to give up. It has been so.hard.
I’m no stranger to struggle since starting Clothed in Hope. We’ve faced plenty of challenges over the last 7 years since all of this began. We walked through fire when someone tried to murder one of our staff members in the early years. I was stolen from when I lived in Zambia – multiple times. I’ve been told horrific stories of real-time abuse and oppression. We’ve looked corruption in the face time and time again. But nothing has brought me as low as I am now.
It seems as if every time we attempt the next step towards growth, we’ve been hit with an obstacle this year. You all gave money to start the Literacy Project, but then an entire shipment of product was ruined. You all sponsored over a dozen sewing machines, but then a few major contributions never arrived that we were counting on. We’ve endured staffing changes, inflation consequences, folks who have discontinued their HOPE Club involvement, cancelled Galas for Hope, and the list goes on (and on and on).
We have 14 Zambian staff relying on us. There are over 200 women who desperately need this program in order to keep their kids in their homes and pull themselves out of poverty. There are over 1000 children who need their mamas to gain a skill so they can have money to go to school and eat 3 meals a day. Need, need, need.
So here’s the bottom line: We need a lot. We need $50,000.
And here’s the honest truth: I’m scared. Scared of letting people down and having to make hard decisions about our future. I’m scared to hurt and to fail. I’m not perfect, and I can’t do it all. Though I’ve certainly tried over these years.
While I love everything about what we’re doing in Zambia, the reality of our current situation terrifies me. And yes, dear Girl Scout, it makes me want to give up. So here’s my raw, weary, honest heart. Here’s my plea. I don’t have a solution or a strategy right now. No flashy postcard or catchy social media campaign. Just this real talk.
This burden to save this organization isn’t just on me. The decision belongs to all of us. We can choose to pause programs when funding dries up. OR we can buckle down, dig deep, sacrifice much, and keep this program going. I vote the latter… you?
I’ve heard the phrase, “it takes a village” often especially since having my second son in less than 1.5 years. But I believe this phrase isn’t just for raising my own kids, but also in keeping this organization alive. You’re our village. This won’t happen, can’t happen, without you.
The flame hasn’t been extinguished just yet. There’s still time, there’s still a chance. A flicker, a glimmer, the very one I’ve seen in the eyes of oppressed women in Zambia: the glimmer of HOPE. All is not lost. Let’s keep HOPE alive, friends.
We need $50k by Thanksgiving Day to be able to continue.
Dear Village, will you give $100? $1,000? $10,000? You can give online HERE or via check mailed to 314 Bonniewood Dr. Cary, NC 27518.
With your help, we can keep breaking the cycle of poverty, one stitch at a time.
With so much Chikondi (Love),
Founder & Executive Director