To our faithful friends and constant companions
We are so happy that 2011 is shaping up to be a great year!
2010, for all its excitement around the FIFA World Cup was a really horrible year. By the way :-) This is Pippa writing, not Thea, although of course she has read it before all of you!
Let’s start with a recap of 2010 so that everyone knows just what I’m talking about!
In mom’s last newsletter (June 2010) you saw how much bad luck we’d had: Macson’s murder, Rhys’ electrocution, Joanna’s divorce and our money troubles to name a few... Shortly after that newsletter ... Mom got sick! Really sick!
It was terrifying! It was one more huge blow to our already crumbling reserves of strength. After some time in hospital doctors concluded that her blood pressure was dangerously high and that she needed to take some time to rest properly. For a while she stayed in Postinia, away from the chaos of the house, she visited some friends and finally for her 60th Birthday in October YOU all kindly sent her on holiday for 3 weeks to one of our favourite places at the sea!
Ofcourse, having mom out of action did not stop the need for the work to continue, the bills to be paid and the kids to be cared for! It was a very challenging time! Indeed toward the end of October we were starting to make plans about how to close down after 17 years and were having some very difficult conversations about which areas would have to go first!
It was unbearable and unthinkable that after all the work we have done it would end like that!
So we pulled out all the stops. We had made some serious plans about where we needed the most help, we sent out the word far and wide and we prayed and prayed and prayed!
By Mid-November things started to shift. RICOH a longtime corporate donor came and stood beside us, they committed over R300 000 to help get the food production on the farm started and this became the catalyst for some significant changes.
Added to that several long time allies and supporters joined in to help save TLC, we were able to see real rewards from our Christmas Appeal that we ran via the internet and by January we were able to breathe again!
At that time it became obvious that many people did not understand how we could have gotten into such financial trouble in the first place so here’s a breakdown of the problem:
• 66% of TLC’s funding was from international donors
These donors were able to offer less support due to the financial crises
• Of the international donations we did get, the exchange rate no longer worked in our favour
The Rand was much stronger so every $10 000 become only R60 000 instead of R100 000 and suddenly our budgets no longer worked.
• The SA govt, who still does not financially support TLC, implemented the New Child Care Act
This meant more children staying longer at TLC, this increases our costs as the older children get, the more our infrastructure and operations needed to change so we could continue giving them our best.
TLC only had 9 adoptions done last year; to date we have a nursery of 43 where 22 are older than 2 years!
~ The GOING FORWARD part ~
As we head firmly into 2011 things look A LOT rosier :-)
Here is why:
• Our chicken units are in operation and producing our daily egg needs
• Our veggie gardens are yielding their first crops and Tommy bakes our bread
• The SA law is finding more balance and we should have a more “normal” nursery by May
• Our application for Government funds is finally receiving some attention
• Our blogsites have allowed many of our supporters to find ways to assist in helping cover the running expenses
• We are working on a NEW LOOK WEBSITE :-)
• We are working more closely with our TLC fundraising wings in Holland, Germany, Austria, Denmark and the UK
At this point may I explain about the blogs :-)
Firstly, a blog is like a mini newsletter – it’s a quick easy way for us to put out information and you to get it at a convenient time for you!
Last May we started the Slobberdogblog – it is written by our 11yr old twins Jesse and Kieran and it is a greatly enjoyed and very popular perspective of life at TLC.
After awhile there were several requests for a similar blog from Mom’s perspective as many people were missing hearing from her, so she started her blog called “Mom’s Mosaic”. Unfortunately as I mentioned, mom was sick and could not manage to write as often as people liked. So to help relieve some strain I started writing too, so that people had the option to visit her site or “Pippa’s Passions” to see TLC related news.
Toward the end of the year so much was happening with the farm and so many donors were interested in that particular aspect of TLC we decided to let Rhys keep people updated on his own blog called “FailSafe Farm”.
So we had these 4 blogs running, all of them being well read and all of them giving the world access to TLC in a whole new way. It was the success of these blogs that gave us the idea to have one special attempt at fundraising over Christmas and that’s how “Season Giving” was started.
The Season Giving Blog will give people an idea of some of the current needs at TLC. For awhile it highlighted our need for educational sponsors for the school going children :-) But remember to look everyday now until Easter as a new idea has been “hatched” :-)
Each blog has a different feel and focus and each provides a glimpse into life at TLC. As confusing as it may be to start with, I would encourage you to try. TLC has grown to be so much more than the babies ~ there is something happening all the time and we want you to join us as we adventure forward!
We love you all and want you to interact with us! Please don’t feel like you can’t send us emails asking for clarity on issues that worry you! We are committed to being as transparent as possible and want you to feel like the partners you are to our work!
We Love you all