Our CEO, Erna Grasz, often speaks of how, in Africa, the Christmas season arrives like the feel of our Thanksgiving. It’s a time of family and togetherness, and gratitude for both. In East Africa, a goat is purchased at the market that day, to roast and share. In Kenya, a vivacious Christmas Kimangu plays — a song and dance, again, to share. Turn it on, listen: it will lift you from your seat, even an ocean away. In West Africa, in the majority Muslim nation of Senegal, tinsel decorates mosques as it is the practice of Muslims and Christians there, together, to unofficially celebrate each other’s religious holidays.
Sharing, being together, is the gift. And that gift is extraordinary for the community and joy it builds. It’s an alternative to the transactions and stressful tendencies that mark the seasonal hustle.
That gift, that joy, too, can travel an ocean. Whether it’s the Atlantic, Pacific, or the ocean of fear that divides us.
Celebrating each other and sharing in our joys is like singing in church: it releases a smile. It creates a happy stillness inside. It makes us turn to others with light in our eyes. We hear the symphony that we all together truly are. It is like putting tinsel on your home or lighting a candle that first Hannukah night, whether you celebrate or not. Togetherness and sharing, the foundation for how Africans embrace this holiday, is a way of seeing and being there for each other. And, in that, seeing ourselves and surrendering trust that our community will come through. They will sing and gather us.
In that spirit, we are gathering to share and gift in the African style. Gifts that will last someone a lifetime. May these alternative gifts bring your voice to our song.
- A school desk to seat three to four students
- A uniform with shoes
- 100 textbooks!
- A workshop for girls
- Full year scholarship, which includes LEI
For more details on our alternative gifts, click here.
Kuwa na Krismasi njema — A Happy Christmas to one and all.