Sisters Go To The Hard Places
At African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC), our fight against extreme poverty happens in the most vulnerable communities across Africa. Sisters serve in communities that are geographically difficult to reach, lack adequate infrastructure for community development and suffer from harsh climates, war, natural disasters, disease and violence. Sisters courageously seek out the overlooked and advocate for the underserved. They are called to go to the hard places. We are called to give them the tools to make a bigger impact.
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by Sr. Nancy Kamau
A friend of mine once sent me a great video posted online. The video was about two children, probably a brother and sister, walking along a concrete walkway around a house. They came across a gap with a water outlet underneath and the brother, who was a little taller, crossed over the other side. Seeing his young sister struggle to cross over, the boy devised a plan to solve the problem and help his sister. The brother covered the gap by laying on the ground across the water outlet and became “the bridge” which his sister used to “cross over” to the other side.
Catholic Sisters across the globe engage in social and human development, continually “building bridges” to address modern challenges and help others to cross. In sub-Saharan Africa, Sisters are at the forefront of addressing Africa’s challenges by initiating programs that serve the needs of their people, especially the most vulnerable and those living in the margins. Most communities in the rural areas rely on the services offered by the Sisters who work tirelessly with determination to address their society’s challenges.
Education and connectivity across the world can have significant impact in sustainable development of our societies. Increasing use of the internet in sub-Saharan Africa has had a great influence on education access and rapidly transformed how Sisters communicate and access information. However, not everybody has access to the internet in Africa.
ASEC success stories are powerful testimonies of how the Sisters in Africa are using their education and training to connect, initiate programs, develop new projects and provide services that build bridges for others to cross.
Because of you, Sisters in Africa receive training and education and become connecting bridges, relentlessly joining efforts that work to change the poverty trajectory in their communities. To improve the conditions of their people, Sisters in Africa are actively engaged in initiating new projects and mobilizing efforts that improve lives through education, healthcare, poverty alleviation, and access to clean water, works of justice and human rights, care for refugees and immigrants, care for the environment, as well as pastoral and other social service. These Sisters are “Rays of Hope” in their communities.
Imagining Leadership in the Global Community
by Sr. Nancy Kamau
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the US meets annually to discuss global issues affecting them. This Year's LCWR Theme "Imagining Leadership in the Global Community" was a great one. The Keynote Speaker had a powerful message that called all members to be in communion with the world, to “widen the tents of their hearts,” and to continue to engage in “web weaving” and “building bridges” to help others in need.
ASEC is a product of US Sisters “widening the tent of their hearts” and “building bridges” to support Sisters in Africa with the gift of education that enables them to create sustainable change in their communities. Throughout our Rays of Hope newsletter, you will read about ASEC programs and the transformational work that the Sisters are doing “building bridges” and impacting their communities and societies.
Do you want to become a connecting bridge and help Sisters to cross? I invite you to join our efforts, give a gift of education through ASEC, and be a Ray of Hope! We need your support!
“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
Our programs at African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) are always evolving; molding to fit the specific needs of Sisters working in the rural and poor communities of sub-Saharan Africa.
SLDI provides Sisters with technology, administration and finance training through one month workshops over three years. Through SLDI, Sisters gain the practical skills and confidence to build strong networks and take up leadership roles in their congregations and communities (2007).
HESA provides opportunities for Sisters to access diploma, undergraduate and master’s level education. HESA is delivered through partnerships with higher education institutions in Africa and online in the USA (2013).
The Scholarship Program bridges the gap to higher education for Sisters in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia by providing two-year scholarships to complete secondary school or certificates. Many of our scholarship recipients then pursue training in ASEC’s SLDI and HESA programs (2012).
Students and Sisters from ASEC founding institutions participate in annual Service Trips to Africa. Accompanied by mentors, U.S. participants travel to Africa for three weeks and are immersed in a wide range of volunteer opportunities, serving side-by-side with African Sisters (2008).