Lengo has summoned a spirited response to the lockdowns and human, economic, and civil liberties losses of the covid pandemic and enters 2022 with optimism.
A brilliant“Fifty Futures” GoFundMe campaign remaining live until Christmas, targets raising A$5,000 to send at least 50 Lengo children to school in the coming year, also ensuring they have lunch daily on school days. The GoFundMe was created for Lengo by 19-year-old Sam Biggs, the son of two board members. Sam started university in the US in September and wanted to do something for young people deprived of his chances in life.
There has been tremendous excitement around the campaign, inspiring at least two spin-off group fundraisers to fund into it. It has drawn in new donors, including personal and group contributions of A$500 and even $A1,000, making it the biggest single fundraiser ever for Lengo in terms of funds raised. Everything raised in excess of the target figure will enable more deserving Lengo children to go to school and stay in school for longer, as this GoFundMe is dedicated solely to educating our student athletes. There is, as I write, just less than two weeks for the GoFundMe to run and every donation however large or small is cherished by Lengo and will help change lives in Arusha.
For the second time one of our UK supporters, fitness instructor Suzanne Lott, ran a zoom class giving 100 per cent of class fees and attracting generous gifts in addition from class members, many of whom have become firm Lengo fans thanks to Sue’s message.
Award winning Sydney financial advisor Stanford Brown, a contact of our Sydney board members, excitingly has joined the effort, spreading the message further among staff and influential clients, by running a fun football tipping contest with a minimum $10 Lengo GoFundMe contribution as entry fee. The tipping contest prize is a football graciously signed for our founder, Emanuel Saakai, by ‘A League’ team Central Coast Mariners’ head coach Nick Montgomery. Nick is a former English Premier league player and Sheffield United FC legend, who mentored current England internationals Kyle Walker of Manchester City and Harry Maguire of Manchester United. Stanford Brown hopes to raise a minimum $500 for “Fifty Futures”.
Notable in feedback throughout the GoFundMe has been the positive response to three things. Firstly, our stellar graduate to date, Dr Goodluck Noah, now working as a medical doctor and saving lives in the community around Lengo, in an eyecatching video by Sam Biggs for the GoFundMe credits his opportunity squarely to Lengo and makes a heartfelt plea to help others like him. Secondly, Lengo’s all-conquering Lady Lions team were backgrounded in publicity material and scored a huge hit for not only their on-field success but also massive strides made for gender equality in a strongly traditional patriarchal Maasai society. And, thirdly, many UK donors commented how compelling for them was the thought that as little as GBP30 could educate and feed lunch to a Lengo child for half a year.
Success of the “Fifty Futures” educational GoFundMe in the UK and US, and increasing interest in Lengo, has prompted informal board-level discussions about capturing this goodwill by forming dedicated Lengo satellite “teams” in those countries. Both Sam and his brother Ben Biggs, along with generous and committed supporter Fran Deacon, are all US based and firmly part of the Lengo family, while Sue Lott and a number of others have developed this relationship in the UK too.
In Tanzania, the covid-affected football season started in October and there is regular contact with coaches, team members and players there. The community continues to show resilience despite the pandemic exacerbating already serious health, social and economic problems. Dr Goodluck Noah reports treating successive waves of covid patients and having himself contracted and been hospitalized by the disease before making a good recovery.
The Tanzanian team is now busy registering and collecting names and bios of all children who will benefit from the “Fifty Futures” fundraiser. This formal record and the players’ stories will form the basis of feedback to donors in direct emails and via our Facebook page and other social media channels. In some cases, the stories will give rise to additional targeted fundraising where appropriate in cases of extreme hardship.
From our Lengo family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and relaxing festive season.
We look forward to partnering with you in 2022.