How we’re extending COVID-19 relief to essential WISER staff

From the very beginning, WISER has done things differently. Where many nonprofits like WISER rely on top-down leadership, WISER has been led by community members from the start. The choices WISER makes come directly from the needs and desires voiced by our students, staff, and their communities.

Our commitment to doing things differently hasn’t changed with the onset of COVID-19. We are not only among a minority of peer institutions that are continuing education remotely, but are part of an even smaller group of organizations committed to meeting our students’ health and wellness needs, too. 

That’s why, when our students told us how scarce food was becoming in Muhuru Bay, we organized a campaign to provide three month’s worth of food and soap for every WISER family in need. We trusted that, when we reached out to the Global WISER family and asked for their support, you all would respond in kind. But we never could have predicted how incredibly generous a response we’d receive. 

We met our $12,000 goal in less than a week. So, in the spirit of an organization–and a global network of supporters–who do things differently, we’re extending our goal to cover even more members of our WISER family.

WISER has a total of 18 support staff outside of our amazing network of teachers and academic administrators. These dedicated people provide campus security, technical support in our labs, food preparation, campus maintenance, and support for students. In normal times, they are the gears that keep the WISER machine moving. They do everything: patrolling the campus, registering and recording guests, maintaining our generator, repairing teacher homes, monitoring the community water system, preparing three meals and a morning tea for 240 girls every day, printing and copying, laundry, tending to gardens, monitoring the septic system, replacing light bulbs, running errands, driving staff to events, and so much more. Many of them are deeply connected to the WISER family. They are parents of WISER students, members of the family that sold WISER the land for the school, spouses of community leaders who helped WISER get off the ground. These are deep, deep ties that we’re extraordinarily proud of, and they are absolutely essential to keeping us afloat, now more than ever. 

Security staff help students get to campus freely and safely, and store and protect the non-perishable goods for the relief packages. Maintenance staff order, pick up, package, and distribute the relief packages. Kitchen staff prepare food for on-campus workers and facilitate re-distribution of existing supplies. Alumni interns communicate with students via WhatsApp and deliver physical academic materials to students who need them.

In short, none of the support we give to our students would be possible without WISER’s staff. For every relief package that arrives into WISER girls’ hands, WISER has a vast network of people supporting students during the pandemic, and they are the same people who support students every day during a normal school year. Now, we need your help to support the supporters. 

We are committed to keeping our entire staff employed, but we need your help to do it. We’re adding an extra $7,000 to our goal: enough to cover the salaries of our support staff for the next two months. This $7,000 will ensure that all the essential operations at WISER–from the septic tanks and water system, to building cleaning and repairs–are able to keep happening despite the pandemic. It will also ensure that the rest of our COVID-19 relief packages will make their way to students, and that our staff members will be able to continue putting food on the table for their families.

And because we believe so strongly in the global WISER family’s ability to meet this new goal, we’re offering matching funds of up to $1,500! That means, when you give to WISER right now, you’re doubling your impact toward keeping everyone in the WISER community safe, healthy, and fed during the pandemic.

In a time of global loss and stress, you have responded with incredible generosity. We trust that you will help us extend our support to include even more members of our family, knowing that when we do, we are living into our mission to care and uplift one another.

Join us today: https://wisergirls.networkforgood.com/

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