As we splash into 2011, we’ve already far overflowed our goal of one well per year having funded over fifteen wells through many creative community-led fundraising endeavors (psst – we’re tracking through the history of Let Them LOL! To read more about how it all began, you’ll want to start from the beginning with part 1 and part 2), but big things are just beginning! In our travels to and increasing involvement with a community in Sierra Leone, we realize we’ve got a decision to make.
Let Them LOL is about hope and change. So far, our commitment level has been to clean water, but we realize this is just the beginning of a deeper-stemmed issue; poverty is widespread and if we want to get serious, we will have to be truly committed for the long haul. It will be more difficult, it will require us to work harder and smarter, and fight for and alongside the people we love.
It will require risks and hurt and sacrifice because we are about to make a decision about building and structuring Sierra Leonean-led family style children’s homes for children currently living on their own. Will these lives be worth it? There’s no telling what will happen, but we decide even one child is worth risking for. We’ll even say it out loud. “You matter; you’re worth it.”
We choose to move forward.
On June 25, 2011 our first Children’s home is fully funded by generous donors like you and soon completed by a hard-working Sierra Leonean team (plus a few new American friends)! We move forward with our annual LTLOL Running Water 5k/1mile Run/walk and by 2012, 35 wells are funded total.
In between all of this, over 18 individual lives begin to take a 180 degree turn. Children who once saw no future for themselves, who cried out for help or said they were too afraid to ask, siblings who were separated, and little ones out on their own – each one an individual deserving of hopes, dreams and a future – begin to experience a shift. Slowly, they realize new words: home, safe, family. Still today, changes are taking place and probably will be forever in their hearts and minds, but an internal shift begins because two communities rally around a group of children in 2011-12 and say: “You matter; you’re worth it” and they begin to believe (and laugh!) with us (and this is just the beginning).
On our way into 2012 we experience some extremely difficult road blocks. The incredible man running our children’s home as the house father passes from a terminal illness, his wife is also very sick, and we realize for the safety and future expansion and hope of our program we’ll need to build instead in a village called Mano. We raise funds for construction bricks through the 20 Campaign and officially move 18+ little ones over to a safe new home and land they can call their own – a place to grow up and be kids – in 2013. Our storage container full of furnishings you helped supply arrives October 23 just as we’re prepping and preparing the next one!