It is with a grateful heart that we reflect on the last few weeks of operations at Empowering. In June, we had a very generous donation from Michael Stevens of 143,000czk (£5000) which enabled the continued employment of Alina, Olena, Ellen, Viktoria and Liuba who make up our team of teachers and an administrator to help with all of the student registrations. Michaels contribution ensured everyone was paid for their work in June and offered some security for July upon which we could brainstorm new strategies for fundraising.
The money side of things has been super challenging and we failed to qualify for a grant of up to 200,000czk with KB Bank in June. We had felt 99% confident of winning the grant so it was a hard blow and left us with little hope for continuing lessons. We thought it was over for now and with a very heavy heart we told the teachers that services would have to stop whilst we secured more funding. However, our hearty and resilient teachers would not give in so easily. They approached their students with the unfortunate news that the lessons would have to be suspended throughout the summer unless they could make a small contribution towards the costs of the teachers wages. We were very happy about the students’ heartfelt commitment and deep desire to continue lessons in the centre, claiming that it is indeed a healing part of integration and community connection. We realised we could not give up, despite our own lack of energy and resources.
So students agreed to pay a nominal fee of 30czk per hour to assist in our fundraising efforts. This is not enough to cover all costs of teachers wages but it leaves an amount that feels more achievable for efforts of fundraising in the community. We believe that we have great products to offer clients from Sept to bring in the revenue needed to support the ongoing lessons and make this a sustainable project and we just need to get through the tough months of summer.
Our thanks go to Michael Stevens, our students and our resilient and supportive teachers. We are also excited by the responses of our wider community who are now offering their own ideas for small fundraising events that will be crucial for us to continue in August.