Dear IFOB Members and Friends:
Happy (belated) Garifuna Settlement Day! In Belize, November 19 marked the annual Settlement Day celebrations, in which Garifuna descendents commemorate the arrival of their ancestors onto Belizean shores in the early 1800s.
It’s also the time of year when we reflect on what makes us truly grateful. In the spirit of good tidings, we invite you to donate to our holiday fundraising campaign. This year, our goal is to raise $10,000 to support IFOB programs. Your dollars directly finance scholarships for needy students and support community grants for local development projects in Belize!
How can you help? It’s simple: click the “donate” button on the left side of this page. Together, we can reach our goal of $10,000 by New Years’ Day!
Five great reasons to support IFOB:
1) Public school in Belize is not free. For a typical high school student, one year of tuition, fees, uniforms, books, and materials costs up to US$500. These costs can be a real burden—and a deterrent—for low-income Belizean families.
2) Your money goes straight to the cause. Unlike many charities, IFOB dollarsdirectly support students and communities. Less than 1% of all funds raised by IFOB are used for overhead costs associated with running the organization—99% of your support goes directly to Belize.
3) The hills are alive with the sound of music. Hear that sound of hammers? At the Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Belmopan, students spent their summer break constructing a new storage facility to house musical instruments—supported by a 2011 grant from IFOB. Community projects like these rely on your continued support; so spread the word (and feel the music).
4) The coral reefs are alive because of conservation. Thanks to an IFOB community grant, in the Corozal village of Sarteneja the local fisherman’s association and a conservation group have teamed up to create an education curriculum (for the children of fisherman) that focuses on the marine ecosystem, coral reef ecology, and sustainable use of fishing resources. The training culminates in field trip to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Programs like these, supported directly by IFOB donations, help train a new generation of Belizeans to protect some of the world’s most precious treasures—coral reefs—while maintaining livelihoods.
5) We want to expand our reach. “I want to continue my education to be someone,” wrote one applicant, and we heartily agree. In the last five years, IFOB has distributed 50 school scholarships in Belize, including 10 this year. But we are overwhelmed by demand: in 2011, we received 45 scholarship applications from well-deserving students, from every corner of Belize. IFOB would like to help allthese students work toward their future, but we need your help.
Think of additional reasons? Let us know: post on our Facebook site, email a Board member, tell a friend and spread the word! But please make a donation now. Join us in our efforts to support IFOB projects and reach our goal of $10,000. We are grateful for your continued support and appreciate any amount you can give.
On behalf of IFOB, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
International Friends of Belize