Dear Friends,

You will remember when we worked with the people of Makochon to erect the first building of their new school last year, a sturdy 20×80 foot steel-frame structure that half of their students were able to move into last Fall. It was heart-warming to watch the village celebration, knowing that the majority of their lives are lived in struggle.

You will also remember that until a few years ago, the only “school” going on in this mountain village was for their children to gather under a large mango tree to play and sing (and to share the fallen mangos). That was our first encounter. I remember the sight well. It was a beautiful and precious and sad sight, all at the same time, knowing this is all they had ever known. Fast forward…

Just a few weeks ago 123 children, grades pre-K through 6th grade, completed their school year, half of them (3rd through 6th graders) in the new building, the other half (pre-K through 2nd graders) still in the original dilapidated, tarp-roofed structure in which we started school. All of them had a nutritious meal every school day.

We did not know how soon we would be able to complete the school and to get the younger children into a more adequate and safer structure. We agreed with parents and village leaders that we would just have to wait for God to supply the need.

Well, today, it looks like God’s hand is moving. We have just received a matching gift offer of up to $5,500 toward the building of another four classroom structure adjacent to the original classroom building. Fully matched, it will provide the $11,000 needed to completely fabricate and erect the steel frame and to roof the building. And here, I think, is the coolest part. The village has insisted to us that they want to finish out the building themselves (concrete floor, block walls, paint, etc.) after the steel is up. By the time the school is completed, the village will have a significant, personally-invested financial- and sweat-equity in their new school. It will be a school they will be proud of, a school they completely own and helped build.

So here we are. Dog days of Summer. We need just another $5,500 before August 1st in order to take full advantage of the match and to get the steel ordered and erected this October. Breaking it down, it’s four classrooms, pre-K through 2nd grade, at $1,375 per classroom.

Starfysh has a lot going on down here (clean water, agriculture, community development, education) and I am aware that different people have their own “hot buttons,” certain areas that energize them more than others. I hope there are enough of you out there who will get excited enough about this school building project enough to invest in it. For others of you for whom our other projects interest you more… you’ll get your chance, of course. You’ll hear soon about a couple of agriculture projects in the works and we continually have village leaders at our door asking for us to come to their village with our water filters.

For now, won’t you help us get this school up? For something like this, your gift will be more than a gift. It will be an investment, not in just a building, but in educating kids who once had nothing to do but wait under a mango tree for better days.

As it turns out, their better days are here!
Many blessings,

Steve Edmondson
Starfysh President & Founder