Happy New Year from The Sonder Project!  🎉. Thank you for an incredible 2023 and all your generosity to close it out strong!  

Together, with two of our long-time supporters who matched EVERY donation, our #UnwrapPotential holiday campaign soared to 96% of our fundraising target, raising a total of $29,900 for The Sonder Project! 🙌

Veronica Zulu, center with sweater, listens in one of her classes.

The generosity of our supporters and donors will create IMMEDIATE IMPACT, helping us to drill more wells, sponsor more students, strengthen more schools, and ensure food security for thousands more people in rural communities in Burkina Faso and Malawi in 2024. ✨

We extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to unwrapping hope, opportunity, and a brighter future for students, farmers, mothers, and their families this holiday season. 🙏

We can’t wait to share real-time updates in the coming months of how your contributions are transforming lives on the ground.

In the meantime, see below for a quick recap of all we accomplished last year!

   

Veronica Zulu sits on her hostel bed she sleeps on while at school.

Clean Water Access

Last year we crossed a milestone for our well drilling program as we completed our 50th well!  By the end of the year, we reached a total of 55.  We also completed an entire water distribution system for a secondary school in Malawi!

Overall, we closed the year with 12 new deep-water wells, impacting over 6,305 people with improved health, more livelihood opportunities, and a newfound sense of harmony within communities and families.

Clean water is truly the base of the sustainable development pyramid, creating opportunities for students to excel in school, for parents to earn more income, and for more productive agriculture cultivation, all leading to long-term economic growth in communities!  

 

Veronica with her hand raised, ready to ask one of her teacher's questions.

Education Is Power

In 2023 we transformed our student sponsorship program into ‘Education Is Power’, a more holistic approach to supporting high-potential students from impoverished families to stay in school and achieve their dreams.  And for the first time, 7 of our Power students graduated secondary school!

With Education Is Power, students now have access to 4 pillars of wraparound services including Mentorship, Tutoring, and Life Skills training, in addition to Sponsorship. This helps us to ensure that more students in our program succeed both in and out of the classroom.

In the current ‘23 – ‘24 school year, we are supporting 201 students through our Education Is Power program in Burkina Faso and Malawi.  

Veronica Zulu sits with a group of friends along with two of The Sonder Project staff members in Malawi during a break period.

Community Farm

The objective of our community farm in Burkina Faso has always been to improve food security and economic development through sustainable irrigation and farming practices.

In 2023, we took a big step forward towards that vision by building a practical and effective water catchment and distribution system that can empower farmers to irrigate and cultivate crops throughout the year, independent of unpredictable rainy seasons.

With 9 large water catchments distributed throughout the 4.5 hectare farm, all farm members have access to water whenever they need, and we have already observed some dedicated farmers earning up to 7x their income using this infrastructure.

This means more money to support their families and pay their children’s school fees, and more food to feed the community throughout the year, improving overall health & nutrition.

 

Veronica Zulu sits with a group of friends along with two of The Sonder Project staff members in Malawi during a break period.

Building & Strengthening Schools

In 2023 we built 2 new primary school blocks, one each in Malawi and Burkina Faso.  

New, modern school blocks excite students and teachers alike, laying down fundamental tracks that lead to secondary school, graduation, higher education, and careers — all of which impact the long-term economic development of communities.

In addition to building schools, we also took a step towards strengthening them as well. Witnessing a lack of sufficient textbooks at two of the schools that we have built in the past, we moved to pilot a textbook donation program, providing over 2,000 NEW Malawian textbooks across every subject.

This should ensure every student has access to the materials they need to properly learn and study in their new school blocks!

 

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