1. Entrepreneurship training and small business development

Michael started a project through a local Tanzanian non-governmental organization, Education for Better Living Organization (EBLI), that helps the poor learn the basics of entrepreneurship, the process of starting and running a successful group enterprise, and then implement. Primarily, Michael works with young Tanzanian mothers who dropped out of secondary school due to pregnancy, but he also works with street children and their families. The hope is to empower them to attain economic emancipation and rise out of poverty through income-generating activities. 

Your financial gift will offset the cost of entrepreneurship seminars and business courses facilitated by Michael, help recruit new batches of young mothers and conduct field visits, and provide the start-up supplies for saving and loaning groups. In other words, you will be supporting small business development in Tanzania. Sample costs are as follows:

2. Helping teenage girls become self-reliant

Ashley co-coordinates Lulu Project, a program dedicating to enabling young Tanzanian women to depend on themselves emotionally, mentally and financially, and to build a network of young women to support one another. Lulu means "pearl" in Swahili, and each participant receives a year's worth of lessons focusing on financial literacy, health, entrepreneurship and life skills. Ultimately, Lulu Project helps teenage girls in Mwanza, Tanzania to discover their talents, plan their futures, and start small businesses.  

Your financial gift will help reduce the cost burden of ongoing peer-led meetings, facilitator's workshops, handcraft lessons, as well as fund new opportunities to expand the project's reach. Sample costs are as follows:

3. Scholarships for young women and their children

We work primarily (if not exclusively) with young Tanzanian women, the majority of whom are single mothers. Each lacks the benefit of a complete education, and as a result, they find that many opportunities are closed off to them. To help both these young women and their children overcome these odds, we started a scholarship fund. It is a chance for these women to continue their education (be it in the formal school system or a vocational training program), and increase their capacity for employment or self-employment, while at the same time ensuring their children receive a quality education.

Your financial gift will directly fund this scholarship program and allow us to send young, Tanzanian women and their small children to school or a vocational training program. These young mothers cannot do anything to change their yesterday, but we can help them today to change their tomorrow. Sample scholarship costs are as follows:

4. Transportation and Swahili language studies

Not all of our work can be done from the comforts of our own home. In fact, most of it cannot. We exist to go out to the streets where the people are living. Getting ourselves not only to and from our work sites, but also conducting field visits by car is very expensive (but necessary). Fuel is roughly $7 per gallon. On top of that, our work with Tanzanians is futile if we are unable to communicate in the local language. For that reason, we continue Swahili language studies with a trained teacher. Also, some funds received will be used to purchase ink cartridges so that we may print necessary materials for our work.

Your financial gift will help offset the burden of transportation and printer ink costs, and allow us to continue our language studies in order to realize the full potential of our work here in Tanzania. Sample costs are as follows:

Our work in Tanzania is impossible without your support!

Please consider making a financial donation to support our work in Tanzania. Tax-deductible donations can be made via a secure online form, over the phone (1-800-867-2980), or by mail (Maryknoll Lay Missioners, P.O. Box 307, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0307). You can make a one-time donation, or if you are really awesome, you can choose to make a recurring gift (monthly, quarterly or annually).

To ensure that your financial contribution directly supports our work in Tanzania, please state your gift is for "Michael and Ashley Leen - Ministry Account" in the memo line for old-school handwritten checks or over the phone. If you donate via this secure online form, there is no need to make such a stipulation - your gift will directly support us.

Please pray for us! We believe in the power of prayer, regardless of your religious or spiritual persuasion. Remembering us in your prayers means everything, and we'll remember you in ours.

You can read more about our values and why we live in Tanzania as Maryknoll Lay Missioners here.

Note: Donations made to our Ministry Account with Maryknoll Lay Missioners are split 50/50 between our Ministry Account and the Missioner Sustenance Fund. The former includes funds at our direct disposal to carry out our work in Tanzania. The latter is used by the organization to cover the costs required to keep us in mission, such as healthcare and living expenses. 

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