The Mother Maryam Foundation School Project
Mother Maryam Foundation and our donors support Kolomiseed Elementary school, in southern Zawrat village, and have assisted two other elementary schools in Zawrat and the school in nearby Jerada village.
Since the village is cold in the winter and the school is not heated, we collect jackets for the needier students. We also collect backpacks since each student, no matter how poor, needs a backpack to carry books and supplies to school (most walk to school, a few ride donkeys). Each year when we go to the village, we distribute jackets and backpacks to needy and deserving students. In previous years, we took jackets and clothing contributed by Candace, Perry and Zoe Hutchens and Dawn, Leah and Mara Goetzel. To the right, see photos of our 2007 distribution of a duffel bag full of jackets, which helped almost 50 boys and girls.
We contributed funds to the village community for the building of this school and have contributed improvements to the facilities and grounds. We provide a stipend to the teachers of the elementary schools in al-Zawrat to supplement their meager government salaries. In December 2010, we gave the school administration $2,350 that was partly collected in donation jars at Nile Valley Herbs booths selling hibiscus tea at Austin Farmers' Markets and partly raised by Leah Goetzel. We gave the money to the administration. Half of the money was given as bonuses - each teacher, volunteer teacher's aide, administrator and janitor received an equal bonus. The other half of the money was earmarked for improvements to the school buildings and grounds, organized by the teachers. In December 2009, we gave the school administration $1,500 to do the same thing.
For several years, we have had some very special assistance with the school project, from an Austin student, Leah Goetzel, who has been joined in her philanthropic activities by her younger sister Mara. In 2007, Leah raised $1000 for a bonus for the Kolomiseed school staff. We delivered the money to the Headmaster, who divided the money up among the teachers, volunteer teachers, and the cleaners.
In 2005, Leah raised money to build part of a new wing of classrooms for the school. In gratitude, one classroom in that wing has been dedicated to Leah Goetzel and her family. Above the classroom door, a sign in English and Arabic announces the dedication.
In February, Leah, then a third-grader at Cassis Elementary School, initiated a project at her school to collect backpacks and school supplies for Kolomiseed School. We took a banner made by Leah's third grade class, a letter from Leah, and a symbolic portion of the many backpacks that Leah had collected. Tijani Jizouli, the headmaster of the school, convened a special assembly to display the gifts from Cassis Elementary School and to express the thanks of the Kolomiseed students. We took photos of the assembly and of students in their classrooms, to share with Cassis students in an exhibition mounted at their school.
The Cassis campaign spearheaded by Leah collected 48 boxes of school supplies and backpacks for the elementary schools of the village. SAFE (the Sudan-American Foundation for Education, headed by Dr. Lee Burchill) shipped the school supplies to Sudan for free. Leah's work on behalf of the village was honored by KVUE television station in April 2004. She was the youngest person to be honored as one of KVUE's "Five Kids Who Care."
The Mother Maryam Foundation, Nile Valley Herbs, SAFE, Leah and Mara Goetzel and other donors will continue to support the Kolomiseed School in multiple ways. To participate in the schools project, contact Awad Abdelgadir.