Friday, April 25, 2014

News from Lilly's US Visit

When speaking or writing about Eliminate Poverty NOW, we often refer to the exceptional partners we are lucky enough to work with. On that list is Lilly Oyare, founder and director of the Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The students and family members that benefit from Little Rock all come from the nearby slums of Kibera.

John, Lilly, and Colin Jones, CFO of Euromoney Institutional Investor Offices

Usually we go to visit our partners in their homeland to gain visibility to programs we support. But this time, Lilly came here, with 2 members of her board! The motivation for the trip goes back two years, when Lilly traveled to London and raised $500,000 to purchase land and build a beautiful new school capable of doubling the number of students served. The new school opened in February 2013, but needs additional funding to support more teachers, furniture, school equipment, and operating costs to take full advantage of the new facility. So she came to the States on a two week "friend-raising-fund-raising" trip to build awareness and support. She was with John, Judy, and Helen in the NJ/NYC area for 5 days, and then continued on to San Francisco and Washington DC. While in the New Jersey/New York areas, it was a whirlwind tour that included the following:

At the Eden Institue for Autism Services
1.     Eden Institute for Autism Services in Princeton, NJ – This visit was to share a state of the art facility that provides life span services for autistic individuals. There was a tour of the facility and Lilly met key personnel while visiting the various classrooms and programs throughout the school.  Little Rock's special needs kids include several autistic children and the Eden Institute was happy to share their teaching aids and training materials.

2.     Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell, NJ – Lilly spoke to the congregation during services to share her journey to the Little Rock of today. There was a follow up Lunch and Learn that was well attended by those eager to hear more.

The Sanctuary at Congregation Agudath Israel
3.     Brunch with the Rabbani family and friends – NYC – Lilly spoke to a small gathering of friends who were interested in hearing about her journey to the Little Rock of today and their plans for the future.

4.     Dinner at the Craigs – Lilly spoke to another gathering of friends who have been strong supporters of Eliminate Poverty Now.  Many have funded Little Rock Scholarships for outstanding graduates of the school.  It was a special treat for them to meet Lilly in person and hear her remarkable story.

5.     Philosophy IB, Florham Park, NJ – Lilly spoke to a gathering of employees, customers, and friends of the owners of Philosophy IB, an HR consulting practice founded by Kaveh Naficy and Christine Lotze. They graciously opened their doors and their hearts to the inspiring work that Lilly does.

6.     Euromoney Institutional Investor Offices, NYC – Lilly spoke to a gathering of Euromoney employees at their New York offices. With its global headquarters in London, Euromoney has been a key contributor to the new Little Rock facilities.  Colin Jones, the CFO, is a staunch Little Rock supporter. He timed his visit to the US to coincide with Lilly's visit so he could introduce her and share his passion for Little Rock and its wonderful work with disadvantaged children.
Helen, Lilly and Little Rock board members Christine Omolo and Joyce Kingori at Euromoney NYC
It was promised that there would be no direct solicitation at these meetings. Even so, people spontaneously pledged 4 additional scholarships to secondary school ($16,000 total) and another $4,000 in general contributions! We are so thrilled with these results, and it was truly wonderful to see our friend and colleague, Lilly, gain even more support for Little Rock ECD.

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