“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill
2018 was a tough year for Africa Bridge. We discovered that some of our staff in Tanzania used Africa Bridge funds to benefit themselves. We lost more than half our employees. The remaining staff and board members accepted the challenge to learn, lead and grow. The next 18 months was about recovery and strengthening our processes. We emerged stronger and more focused.
2020 was the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Africa Bridge. It was to be a year of celebrations and we had many exciting plans. Then along came the pandemic and everything changed. Far from celebrating, we realized that by September we would be running a deficit. Folding up our tent and leaving, after transforming the lives of thousands of vulnerable children, was not something any of us wanted to consider.
We had to refocus our efforts. We strengthened our financial systems and improved our model. We knuckled down and transformed our board from Portland-centric to international, with board members from Oregon, New York, California, Texas, Washington DC, Tanzania, Ghana, Doha and Singapore. We learned how to raise funds from other sources and ended up the year with a surplus. We developed a plan to grow the organization to enable us to deploy our model across Tanzania, and in time to other countries. We want to alleviate poverty and transform the lives of thousands and then millions of most vulnerable children and their families.
We have so much to be thankful for. The most vulnerable children and their families remain our inspiration. It’s what puts the fire in our bellies. Our staff has worked incredibly hard. Our board has been courageous. And you, our donors, and supporters have responded with love, support and donations.
I cannot thank you enough. It is amazing what a small group of people focused on a mission can do. What we saw in the early part of this year was a dark cloud. Today we see the light shining through.
Thank you so much for being part of our journey.