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Grantee Spotlight- NETwork Against Malaria

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by Circle of Sisterhood Foundation No Comments

NETwork Against Malaria

NETwork Against Malaria is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting the spread of malaria through the purchase and distribution of bed nets. Circle of Sisterhood provided a $4,000 grant to NETwork Against Malaria in October 2013 to support their work with children in rural Uganda.

NETwork Against Malaria distributes bed nets to children, pregnant women, and families in Uganda. Their current focus is Ugandan students, a population to whom no other NGO distributes. They plan to distribute a bed net to each student in every one of the 51 schools in Katulikire, an area significantly impacted by the war in Northern Uganda.

Students can miss up to 60 days each year with malaria which causes them to fall behind in school and drop out. NETwork has learned from experience that enrollment increases after distributing nets at a school. Their work has led to parents sending their children to the free public schools hoping their child will receive a net. The nets benefit the students and their siblings since they do not sleep in beds but on the floor with their siblings. About three children can sleep under one net, instantly multiplying the impact of this work.

NETwork volunteers live in the community where nets are distributed and oversee 51 schools which are the focus of distributions. Before distributing nets to a specific school, they determine the school population and appropriate programming for the students in attendance. Education to ensure students learn and understand the importance of bed nets and how to use them properly is the priority. Without education, they may not understand the significance of the bed nets and may misuse them. Each distribution has presentations in both English and the local language so nothing is confused or lost in translation. Students bring the nets home and teach their families.

NETwork reports that as of May 2014 over 875 nets have been distributed thus far in Katulikire. This is 25% more than planned due to the organization’s smart use of Circle of Sisterhood resources. In addition to net distribution the team provides education about proper net usage and the importance of staying in school. The value of receiving an education and completing school prior to marriage is reinforced with girls.

Mr. Okello Mark, Deputy Teacher at the Mutunda Primary School shared his gratitude (translation): “Thank you for remembering the girls at our school. Staying in school is very difficult for children in our village, particularly for the girls…I’m proud to say that we have more girls enrolled than boys. We also have woman teachers to be examples. Malaria is the greatest problem [for health] in Mutunda. Thank you for protecting our students so they may stay in school.”

Circle of Sisterhood is proud to support NETwork Against Malaria’s important work in Uganda and we look forward to receiving their final report in October.

Grantee Spotlight- Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation

Posted on: July 2nd, 2014 by Circle of Sisterhood Foundation



In December 2013, Luhwahwa Youth Development Foundation(LUYODEFO) received a $3,260 grant from Circle of Sisterhood to engage women and girls in menstrual hygiene education to promote retention and academic success in the Kasese districts in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda.

LUYODEFO is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides support to marginalized communities. LUYODEFO was formed by a group of motivated youth to respond to the plight of children, youth, women, and men impacted greatly by political conflict, disease, and extreme poverty in western Uganda.

LUYODEFO fulfills its mission through health, education and community initiatives. Their grant application highlighted a major, yet traditionally silent, issue hindering girls’ development and education – puberty and the onset of menstruation. Millions of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are disempowered by the simple biological process of menstruation. Many girls and women in Uganda cannot afford expensive store-bought products in order to have better menstrual health and hygiene management (MHM) practices. The lack of sanitary products is one of the factors reinforcing absenteeism during menstruation, which in turn relates to poor performance and low persistence. LUYODEFO is working to bring locally-made, reusable sanitary kits to schools while educating girls and their families about the importance of MHM. Removing barriers to education is at the core of Circle of Sisterhood’s mission and granting to LUYODEFO for work in this area was a strong fit.

We recently received LUYODEFO’s interim report and are pleased to report that they are actively conducting menstrual hygiene education alongside kit distribution, while also providing counseling to girls. Staff and volunteers are conducting community-wide menstrual hygiene education through churches targeting parents (men and women), with the hope that involving parents will help break the stigma around menstruation and that girls/women will get family support in managing their periods.

As their report states: “Introduction of such a project in schools and the community has not been easy; many people still look at the topic of menstruation as the ‘untalked’, but our team is working tirelessly to break these cultural taboos and have menstruation looked at as an issue related to sexual and reproductive health, human rights, personal hygiene, education, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) facilities, and women’s health.”

We are proud to support LUYODEFO and its important barrier-removing work in Uganda. May it serve as a reminder of the many privileges we enjoy as girls and women living in the United States.



Give4Girls – An Opportunity to Pay It Forward

Posted on: June 20th, 2014 by Circle of Sisterhood Foundation


I was the first girl in my family to graduate from college. I didn’t really think too much about it. It was always an expectation that my sister and I would go to college. My parents wanted me to have the opportunity to do anything I wanted and a college education was essential.

I could have gone anywhere in the country and I chose Arizona State University. I was blessed to receive a Regents Scholarship and as long as I kept my GPA above a 3.75, I was guaranteed full tuition. I worked hard. I loved my major. My professors were the best of the best. I joined Sigma Sigma Sigma and was welcomed by a group of women that celebrated my academic achievements. I graduated suma cum laude.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized how truly fortunate I was in my pursuit of education. I had the support of family and friends. I had access to an outstanding university. I received scholarship money to pay for my education. I had the intense drive to do well academically.

I did not have to fight to go to school. I did not face the pressure of a culture that fears education for girls and puts up roadblocks to keep girls from education. I did not live in abject poverty. Millions of girls have to live this way and that frightens me.

Giving girls an education or teaching them a trade is the very first step to lift them from poverty and oppression. Girls who can read, write, and do arithmetic are much more able to raise their own family in better circumstances. They are less likely to contract HIV or fall victim to sex trafficking. Removing barriers to education is the key to solving so many global problems.

My own view on this became very clear after reading Half the Sky. Education, which we too often take for granted here in the United States, is a profound and transformational gift to girls in many parts of the world.

The Circle of Sisterhood is a global effort by sorority women committed to combatting poverty and oppression by helping girls and women receive an education. Today we launch Give4Girls. This special fundraising initiative is our way to take a stand and help girls around the world. Through a tribute donation, we can honor our sisters, teachers, mothers and friends who have helped us achieve our own goals and pay it forward to help someone else. I invite you to join me today my making a donation to Give4Girls in recognition of your own education and those who helped you achieve it, but more importantly to give some little girl a chance for a much better life.

Let’s not take this opportunity for granted. We can make a difference. We NEED to make a difference.

Please follow the link below to join the Give4Girls movement.


 Bethany Deines is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and serves on the Circle of Sisterhood Board of Trustees. Professionally, she works as the director of annual gifts at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

Spring 2014 Grants Announced

Posted on: June 3rd, 2014 by Circle of Sisterhood Foundation

The Foundation is pleased to announce the awarding of $34,650 in grants as a result of our spring 2014 grants process. The grants review team evaluated 15 applications for requests totaling over $74,500. Their diligence led to the identification of seven organizations to receive grant awards this grant cycle.


While we will be highlighting each organization via individual blog posts throughout the year, here is a brief summary of the spring 2014 grants to whet your appetite:


  • Anchal Project has been awarded $5,000 to fund 12 monthly educational workshops and a 7-day intense training workshop for 100 women in India.
  • GirlForward, a 2013 grant recipient, will receive $5,000 to once again support Camp GirlForward, which provides summer enrichment to 20 refugee girls in Chicago, Ill.
  • Girls For A Change was awarded $5,000 to support expansion of their Girls Action Team program, which empowers girls for social change in Richmond, Va.
  • Heshima Kenya will receive $5,000 to support the Girls’ Empowerment Project, which provides access to education and livelihood support for 80 girls and women in Kenya.
  • Lift Up Africa has been granted $5,000 to support the education of ten Kenyan girls living at the HELGA rescue center for one year.
  • Many Hopes will receive $4,650 to support the salary of an academic tutor for over 40 girls living at Many Hopes homes in Kenya.
  • Transitions Global has been awarded $5,000 to support Shine Career School, which provides Cambodian girls vocational and life skills training and enrichment classes.


The generosity of individual, organization and campus donors has made it possible for Circle of Sisterhood to advance our mission of removing barriers to education for girls and women through these grants. We are ever grateful to our donors for their continued support and confidence. Together we are changing the world – thank you!



Grantee Spotlight- Help for the Massai

Posted on: May 29th, 2014 by Circle of Sisterhood Foundation



Help for the Massai (HftM) provides holistic support to Northern Tanzania’s Massai of the Malambo community to help ensure their survival responding to the challenges they are facing in the modern world.

One of the primary ways HftM achieves its mission is through education. HftM built an English primary school at Malambo that serves approximately 300 pupils. In addition, HftM sponsors 260 pupils in other primary and secondary schools in various districts in Tanzania, plus nine students who attend universities and colleges. The support is given primarily to Massai girls, who are underprivileged in all respects of life in the Massai culture. The pupils are also provided food, medical assistance and counseling as a prerequisite for successful school attendance.

At the beginning of its education work, the Massai did not see value in sending their children to the HftM Naserian school in Malambo. However, this situation has changed and HftM is now faced with a large demand of Massai parents wishing to enroll their children in the HftM school. The demand far exceeds HftM’s capacity to admit 30 new pupils each year or find new foster parents adopting Massai children and paying for their school fees.

Circle of Sisterhood’s $5,000 grant to HftM will fund four Massai girls’ attendance at HtfM’s Primary School in Malambo and four Massai girls who have passed their final Primary School exam successfully and have the capability to continue formal education at a Secondary School in 2014.

We’re proud to support HftM in its effort to educate girls in Tanzania and look forward to sharing updates on the eight girls as information becomes available.