When I die, she said, I'm coming back as a tree with deep roots. And I'll wave my leaves at the children every morning on their way to school and whisper tree songs at night in their dreams. Trees with deep roots know about the things children need." – Brian Andreas
Dear Supporters of Deep Roots,
It is with a heavy heart but also tremendous pride and gratitude that we write to you about this last chapter in the wonderful history of Deep Roots. From its inception, inspired by the tragic passing of Peace Corps-Namibia volunteer Joie Kallison in 1998, through our expansion to Zambia, Guatemala, and briefly Nepal, to this final year of scholarships, Deep Roots has helped thousands of children – mostly women – receive an education.
Throughout our 15-years of operation, we have been blessed by dozens of exceptional volunteers who have selflessly donated their time and effort to this cause, despite their own educational, occupational, personal, and family commitments. We have also been tremendously fortunate to count on hundreds of generous supporters like you, who believed in our mission and our completely volunteer, 100% virtual organizational model. The pages that follow explain and illustrate a small portion of the impact that we have made together.
The decision to close Deep Roots was not one that was taken lightly. Those of us who serve on the board are ever-mindful of both the legacy of altruism that has fueled this organization’s growth, and the tremendous need that we have helped in our own small way to meet. We believe the dissolution of the organization was the most prudent and responsible option before us and I am proud of the Board for keeping our institutional responsibilities and priorities clear until the very end.
After our final transfers to our Country partners for the current school year, we will have nearly $6,000 in excess funds. In our last effort to sow seeds that will grow educated trees of young people, we will grant this remaining balance to our Guatemalan partner, SANK, to help them start a charter middle/high school for Mayan youth in northern Guatemala. If you have an interest in joining us, please consider making one final donation to Deep Roots to support SANK's school. Checks can be sent to:
c/o Scott Adams, Treasurer
3123 14th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
We plan to forward the remaining funds and all new donations to SANK no later than July 31, 2013 - so please send your check before then.
Over the last 15-years, as our scholars have scurried excitedly across dusty roads and jungle paths on their way to school, Joie has been waiving her leaves at them; and for the rest of their lives she – and you and I and everyone who has supported Deep Roots – will whisper tree songs at night in their dreams.
Chair, Deep Roots, Inc.
Deep Roots Guatemala
The 2012 academic year in Guatemala marked the eleventh year of Deep Roots awarding impoverished Mayan youth scholarships, primarily for young girls in middle and high school. This year, there were sixty-six scholars – 39 teenage girls and 27 teenage boys. Over the past decade, Deep Roots’ in-country partner, APROBA-SANK, always committed to go beyond being just an administrator for the program, using their staff and volunteers to put on monthly seminars for scholars and their families. Attendance at these seminars was mandatory and allowed for instruction and an exchange that the students would never receive in the classroom, nor would their parents (70+% of whom are illiterate). Initially these programs would focus on topics like civic participation, sex education and family planning. In recent years, SANK has expanded the program to include the scholars and families in a European Union funded-grant that is stimulating crop diversification in an area that precariously relies on monoculture. Beyond holding the monthly class-room sessions, there were also ‘field-trips’ to go and visit the effects monoculture has on the land, in particular analyzing the rapid expansion of African palm plantations among community lands and what that means in relation to exacerbating existing maladies including hunger, extreme poverty and social conflict. One piece of educational homework for student and family after this trip is to plant a small area on their parcel as a demonstration garden for seasonal vegetables. The families are further incentivized to participate in the equivalent of a County Fair put on by SANK at the end of the school year, where the best demonstration gardens and produce win cash prizes. For a Mayan culture that continues to be entirely dedicated to subsistence agriculture this is an exciting and unexpected component of the scholarship program. The healthy competition stimulates a great amount of activity and excitement for everyone involved.
Students and families signing their scholarship contracts with APROBA-SANK
A Sunday seminar with Deep Roots Guatemala’s 66 Mayan scholars
Exploring an African Palm plantation during a scholar field trip
The last Sunday seminar of the academic year held in October in SANK’s offices.
Deep Roots Namibia
As Deep Roots winds down its operations, it is worth reflecting back on what we have accomplished over the years. Since 2002, Deep Roots Namibia has:
Awarded more than 1,200 scholarships at secondary schools across Namibia.
“Not only has the Deep
Roots Scholarship help[ed] my parents and I financially,
but it has also been a good motivator, helping me to aim high in all my subjects….”
Etosha Secondary School, Tsumeb
Distributed more than 70% of its scholarships to female scholars.
“Deep Roots opened up
all the doors for me, especially those which were shut
down on me and I did not
know the way out.”
Ekulo Senior Secondary School, Ondangwa
Awarded more than 45% of its scholarships for grades 11 and 12.
Deep Roots Zambia
Beginning in 2000 and 2001, a group of 100 students in the Southern Province of Zambia was sponsored until they either graduated or had to leave school for personal reasons, resulting in a grand total of 834 scholarship-years. The last seven of these students will be graduating in 2013,
and we are thrilled to be seeing them finish! Students were initially invited into the program based on recommendations from their teachers and local village committees based on a combination of merit and need. Many of the scholars were orphaned by AIDS, and these scholarships provided an
important opportunity to those who otherwise could not have attended school. As pictures are worth far more than words, here are some of the students that your sponsorships have supported: