Our level 1 sewing class in Djibouti completed one of their first projects of making bread bags. These bags are made from recycled flour sacks and local fabric. The skills they learn in making the bags allows them to make more and sell them in local markets. We have the women learn how to make bread bags because bread is a staple for every family in Djibouti and there doesn’t exist a product like this in the local markets.
In Djibouti we often give out nutritious food packs to refugees, athletes, schools, hospitals and other places where we have identified the biggest need. It takes a lot of work to move these boxes in 100+ degree Fahrenheit (40C) weather!
Our 2018-2019 running season has begun! If you aren’t familiar with our Girls Run 2 program, then check out the website for more info.
One of the first races of the year was a race through the capital city of Djibouti.
One of our runner’s dad is a police officer and when she saw him at the race she was so excited!
We are so thankful for all your donations to the team. We rely on generous finaical gifts and gifts in kind like shoes, clothes, vitamins, and more to help us supply each girl on the team with uniforms, practice outfits, proper running shoes, nutritious food, and money for medical and school fees. You can donate to Girls Run 2 here.
This year our Project House took on a new project—moving buildings! After months of searching we finally found a place to house our expanding classes, and hopefully will give us room to grow!
The women held an open house for the community to come by and shop their goods, like jewelry, bags, coffee, and more. We are so proud of these ladies and the skills they are learning to better their families and lives.
In collaboration with the Italian Military, LIFE did a distribution to a remote village in Djibouti. We gave out soccer balls, rice and bean packets, and school supply kits. This village is located 15-20 km from the nearest medical facility or school. There is not a lot to do there so handing out soccer balls provides the children (and adults) with something fun to do. People love soccer in Djibouti and by distributing the balls it gives them more than just food and clothing; we are trying to show that we care about all aspects of their life.
Our project house in Djibouti has started their fall training classes. The project house is a place where young women, chosen and vetted by our local staff, come and learn valuable skills such as sewing and baking. Currently the girls are working on sewing camel bags. These bags are made from left over fabric donated to LIFE. The insides are lined with flour bags, which makes them easy to wipe clean. On the outside the girls trace and cut out shapes like camels and the continent of Africa. These bags are then sold at local bazaars.
“Donations are the best gift, thank you,” said Mo, the coach of one the girl’s basketball team in Djibouti. The girls that play together have a very tight bond. “It brings people together,” said Mo.
Sports have taught them disciplines that they may not be learning elsewhere. There are girls from all neighborhoods playing together. One of the girls, Farah, age 28, has been playing basketball since age 12. She says they often how to go out and encourage the girls to come to practice despite how others may perceive them.
For the distribution, the federation contacted all the coach’s and basketball teams. One girl’s team plus six other men’s teams were present. Each team received a pair of shoes for each player and one basketball for the team to use. It was held at the basketball gym in town, an open-wall, covered concrete gym with stadium seating. They had decided to do the distribution that day and called all of the players and coaches. The coaches and Farah could not believe how many people had showed up on such short notice. The players were so excited to receive the new shoes, especially since they could be used for basketball.
“Some people don’t have any shoes,” said Mo. “While we may not make very much money being a coach, seeing the girls smiling and having fun is enough money for me.”
In the mountain region of Djibouti during the fall and spring, temperatures can dip to around 50 degrees F. For a people who are used to 90+ temperatures this can be quite a shock to their systems. While also dealing with a lack of food and living in a vulnerable community, many of the women, children, and elderly are left suffering from diseases such as tuberculosis, bronchitis, etc. A local association working in this region reached out to us asking for assistance. We were able to provide rice packets to 120 families.
Fatouma Agaita (pictured right) is a mother of four and was thrilled to receive the rice. She said, “We are living by the grace of God and you cannot imagine how we are happy to get this food. You can see by the smiles of our children that it is not easy for us to get food. But today we thank God who sent you to give us free food. I request just to remember our vulnerability every time you get something to eat or to wear. Please, don’t throw them out but remember that there are some people that can only live for the things that other people can consider without valor.’’
Alimo (pictured above left), a mother of 5 said, “Thanks a lot for bringing us this aid. I’ m very happy because I’ve received food for my children. Really I did not have anything to feed my family today. My other children are in the main road begging and this is our daily life. I am especially touched for the work you are doing, providing food to the vulnerable people. I really want to say thank you to the donors, and I will pray for them. Please, remember us every time you have opportunities. All my community here are homeless and we can be chased away by the government to find another place, please remember us. Again and again I say thank you.’’
In 2015 LIFE distributed clothes and other aid to around 200 families who became homeless after their huts were intentionally destroyed. the people who required the families to leave gave some advance notice, but the residents did not make appropriate preparations in time. They were not provided an alternate place to live, and in the process, they lost their few belongings. Grateful mothers gathered at the community center to receive clothes and food for their children. Community leaders sincerely appreciated the timely gifts for their people.
Financed by the American State Department through the Julia Taft Fund, Local Initiatives for Education (L.I.F.E.) was able to provide a place for 60 students from different parts of the refugee camp to come and learn how to sew. The students, in groups of 20, work three hours a day for three days a week. The students begin with little or no experience in sewing, and are taught by former students of the sewing project. Skills taught include basic cutting, advanced clothes creating, and maintenance of the machines. In February of 2016, 43 students graduated from the sewing center. These graduates are now able to use their skills to provide an income for their family.