"....And a good start"

Newsletter January 2011
Tuma Viela

We celebrated a blissful ending to the old year with the Tuma Viela team, by having a drink together at the cusp of 2010. A successful year needs a festive ending!
Sister Fawzia and myself had made a brief overview of how we are doing, what we have achieved in the past year and our good intentions for the year to come....

First of all we had a look at the finances. What have we spent in 2010 and what do you we have left to continue our work.
We have been rather pessimistic the past few months... We needed to invest a lot the first year, took on more staff than we had initially intended, due to the huge demand then halfway through the year we needed to cut back on our hours to buy us some time.
When I really looked at our finances, I noticed things weren’t looking so bad for Tuma Viela! We have been able to do a lot with our budget, and thanks to some large one-off donations, we even managed to have some money left over.
Together with the guarantees of structured donations, we have a good foundation to continue the project in 2011 on a part-time basis.

We would love to work full-time, there is so much to do! We would also love to be sponsored by Ghana! It is time they stood up to the plate and converted the appreciation for our project into some hard cash!  We’re eager to start our school-project about litter! But that means we can count on about twice the amount of orders we have now and that means we need the funds to pay the wages of the people filling those orders... We are definitely going to try our utmost to achieve this. A new year offers new opportunities!

The Tuma Viela team was extremely pleased to hear that they are assured of at least part-time employment this coming year and have let me know I should thank the people that have made this possible!

In 2010, a total of 3433 people, both children and adults, have brought 942.800 sachets to the workshop! If we were to line these all up, it would come to a length of 136.70 km! Looks like this project is in the bag!!!

A first year like this is very emotional. You need to get a gip on the whole operation, figure out what is reasonable and what is (still) unobtainable. Is everyone comfortable within their position and do they find their work challenging enough? What is someones strong point and which jobs are better left to others... At this point we kind of know what we can do, what our weak spots are, what can be improved and what we should probably avoid doing. This is such a great feeling! To include others, some tasks have been delegated to other team members by Fawzia and myself. This way we create broader support. Carrying responsibilities together is one of our new years resolutions!

Another bull we intend to grab by the horns in 2011 is our shopping bag. We want to promote it more this year. If we can convince more people to bring this bag with them when they go to the market or elsewhere to do their shopping, they can politely decline the use of the single-use carrying bags. This in turn will lead to less litter. We are still considering what the best way would be to make this an attractive deal to people... Aside from the fact that you can get one at the workshop in exchange for 250 sachets, we would like to sell them in town for a small fee.

We have said our goodbyes to Rafik, who is now following a training at the hospital and we have welcomed Hamdia, the latest addition to the team. During the farewells, everyone was handed an envelope with content. An extra token of appreciation on top of words of praise. And what did I see today, on the first day of the new year? The oh so quiet, almost invisible Latif, sitting behind his foot-pedal driven sewing machine, bobbing his head smiling, listening through headphones to, so it seemes, very swinging music. He has bought himself a small radio and now he can escape the continuous cackle of the ladies trying to speak over the rattle of the machines...I don’t blame you Latif! Enjoy!