Yesterday, I purchased a small package of food for each of the 22 families. These packages weren't all uniform size but rather slightly geared to family size. I started with "normal" size based on a 2-adult and 3-school-aged-child household. Families which were smaller (1 mother with her toddler son or 2 adults with their 3 children under the age of 4) were purchased a half-package size (which was actually a little more than half-size). And families which were larger (a mother with two older-teen children caring for her parents-in-law, 3 school aged children, a toddler, and a baby) received package-and-a-half-sized portions. All in all, that came out to Q991.50, roughly $124. If we divide that cost evenly between the families (despite that they won't receive equally), it comes out to $5.60 per family.
Now we have the question of school supplies. I sent out one of my helpers to find out the general cost of school supplies in the Solola area, and he reports that depending on grade level, they range between Q225/student and Q350/student. Great! So, let's take an average number of Q300/student and multiply that by the number of children in the program between the ages of 5 and 14 (and 1 15-year old who has been in school).
(Q8 is roughly $1; so $2,137.50)
Yes, that's the bottom line for school supplies. (And, actually, it is that Q300 that keeps a lot of children out of school every year.) Now, thanks to the ongoing support of a private company in the US (who I'm not sure if they prefer to remain anonymous or would like the free PR and will therefore remain nameless for the moment), we'll be able to cover both costs at this time. However, for their participation in and good grades from school, these children will earn points. With these points, they will be able to "purchase" things for their families to improve the living conditions in their homes. The problem is that these points aren't real money but real money is required to purchase these improvements.
My sending church has reached their limit of how involved they feel they can be in this project; so I'm trying to figure out who can partner up with me to either form our own non-profit or to team up with one that has similar interests. Because, let's face it, the money I have received to help these people is enough until these people have earned the points to improve their lives, and with as driven as some of them are now that they've been shown a speck of hope, I don't think it will be so long.