2017 Annual Report

Peace Sisters has seen excellent growth in our first full year as a formally recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we not only surpassed, but more than doubled our initial fundraising goal for a total of approximately $24,000 from about 200 unique individual donors. As a direct result of this fundraising success, Peace Sisters was able to work with our sister organization in Togo, Peace Girls, to identify 238 girls in need of financial aid and pay their school fees for the 2017-2018 school year. These girls currently attend school at five different middle schools and one high school around Dapaong, a regional capital in the North of Togo.

In the Spring of 2017, Peace Sisters launched a website (www.peacesisters.org) and began fundraising online. Mailing lists were compiled to share our website with friends, family and colleagues via email, and likewise the link was shared over social media via our new Facebook page and via Twitter.

In the Fall of 2017, celebrated musician, activist and feminist, Kathleen Hanna, decided to help support Peace Sisters. She requested that her friends, family and fans (more than 56,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 on Facebook) donate to Peace Sisters in lieu of giving her birthday presents this year. This inspired Peace Sisters to launch a GoFundMe campaign that was “trending” for a few weeks.

Peace Sisters is concerned with addressing the quality of our beneficiaries’ education. Over the years, it has been observed that the passing rate (i.e., how many girls are promoted to the next grade at the end of the school year) has remained at just over 50%. Our beneficiaries are selected primarily due to their financial hardship, and as a result of this requirement, many of our students face a multitude of obstacles in pursuing their education. For instance, many of our students do not have electricity in their homes, so it is very difficult for them to study once the sun goes down because they do not have access to light. Likewise, our girls cannot afford to hire tutors if they are struggling in a subject. With the help of Rotary Club of Ventura, Peace Sisters is currently rolling out a pilot program to provide solar lamps to 80 girls in two villages without electricity, and we are also working with the Ministry of Education to implement a tutoring program for our students.

As we look forward to the 2018-2019 School Year, we at Peace Sisters continue to build off our previous success so that we can expand in the most sustainable way possible. With continued support from our loyal donors, we look forward to providing other services for our students such as assisting them to apply for ID Cards, which they will need in order to access higher education opportunities. We are thrilled to see the enthusiasm with which our supporters have welcomed us onto the nonprofit stage in our first full year as a 501(c)(3), and we anticipate a bright future ahead.

Lara Eldredge Schott