Looking Back At 2016…
Through your generosity and continuous support, 2016 has been a remarkable year for SOCOBA. From launching our website to returning to Botswana, together, we have taken monumental strides that have allowed us to come even closer to the full realization of our mission and goals. Below are a few of our highlights from 2016:
March 2016: SOCOBA develops its organizational mission, values, and vision and begins the process of planning its website development.
April 2016: SOCOBA launches its social media strategy and accounts across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It also began the process of developing its website.
May 2016: SOCOBA signs a partnership with Hilltop Consultants and expands its Board.
September 2016: SOCOBA launches its website and continues to develop new marketing plans and fundraising strategies
October 2016: SOCOBA creates a GoFundMe campaign to fundraise to build a fence surrounding our plot of land designated for our youth mobilization center in Mabule, Botswana. SOCOBA also adds four new interns to join the SOCOBA Team.
November 2016: SOCOBA participates in the 30th Annual Whitman Walker Health Walk & 5k to End HIV and reaches 160% of our team fundraising goal!
December 2016: SOCOBA establishes a partnership with the Praeklet Foundation Incubator to advance our technology resources and cultivate sustainable communication networks between SOCOBA’s U.S. and Botswana offices. Our co-founders, Nick and Sego Seferian, also returned to Botswana to check-in with our friends in Mabule and collaborate on new ideas and projects. Furthermore, SOCOBA’s Facebook Page reached over 9,000 likes in December 2016, and it currently supports over 9,500 followers. Finally, to end the year, SOCOBA was able to negotiate a new contract to lower the cost of building a fence in our plot of land, meaning that we have now fully funded our fencing project! Construction of the fence will begin shortly!
A Journey Home: Nick and Sego Return to Botswana
To cap off a successful 2016, SOCOBA’s co-founders, Nick and Sego Seferian, returned to Mabule, Botswana to check-in with the Mabule community and further collaborate on new project ideas. This trip not only signified a testament to growth and trust between SOCOBA and Mabule but also served as a homecoming to both Nick and Sego. Warm hugs were met with tears of joy, as Sego, a native of Botswana, and Nick, a former Peace Corps teacher in Botswana, were united again with a community that has interwoven stories of hope in the midst of challenge that now lay the foundation of SOCOBA’s mission. Here are a few highlights from the trip:
“Nick and I met with the community leaders, prior to the Kgotla meeting to discuss our mission and vision in a more informal and casual setting.” – Sego Seferian, SOCOBA President
“This group of kids were so fun. There followed us as we went around the village meeting and talking to people. Nick told them that they need to give us a shaka and they were perplexed. So, he explained in so many words and gestures why you would give a shaka sign and when you would do it. So, after that they would start doing these poses and giving shakas.” – Sego Seferian, SOCOBA President
“It was Nick’s turn to speak at the Kgotla meeting and he was listening to one of the community members say her part in supporting SOCOBA’s endeavors. The moderator/translator would take questions from both sides of the Kgotla as the men and women sit separately. The whole panel seated behind me included SOCOBA/SOVUC Chairwoman Mrs. Grace Tiro, Sekutlhane village chief Mr. Seumako, Mabule village headmen Mr. Kelekwang, Mr. Molemo, and Mr. Poifo. The Village Lead Prayer Mr. Mogorosi, Mabule Village Landboard Representative Mr. Mogwase, Sekutlhane Village Development Committee Chairman Mr. Tau and Mabule/Sekutlhane district Counselor Mr. Semang. They took turns speaking highly about SOCOBA on behalf of their respective villages and constituents.” – Sego Seferian, SOCOBA President
This trip proved to be monumental not only in the significance of reconnecting with family and friends, but through strategic planning and mutual collaborations, this trip also laid the groundwork for future SOCOBA initiatives. In addition to renegotiating the price of building a fence around SOCOBA’s plot of land designated for the youth mobilization center, SOCOBA developed key partnerships that will benefit the progression of youth center’s construction. Above all, SOCOBA furthered friendships and human connections that serve as a motivation for the future.
Throughout the trip, Nick and Sego came to several profound revelations while communicating with the Mabule community. When planning out the phases of construction, Nick and Sego learned that Mabule’s current borehole had been contaminated, and as a result, the community members needed to walk over 16 kilometers to the nearest source of water. Because of this, SOCOBA has decided to dedicate its next efforts to building a borehole for the Mabule community. This borehole will not only serve as a source of water for the construction of SOCOBA’s youth center and eventually provide water for the center’s facilities, but it will also become the primary water resource for the entire Mabule community. The entire SOCOBA team believes in the power of this project, for it will directly enhance SOCOBA’s mission, and it will further serve as a beacon of hope amongst our greater family in Mabule.
Looking ahead, SOCOBA plans to begin constructing the youth center’s fence and begin fundraising for the borehole. In the midst of this, the entire SOCOBA team will be working on developing curricula for tangible programs within the Mabule community. These programs will focus on themes such as life skills, guidance and counseling, wellness, and community engagement in order to further support the Mabule community and its current needs. Furthermore, SOCOBA will continue to expand its team and seek global growth, yet we need your hope to support our new initiatives. Whether it is joining our Facebook community, spreading our mission, or continuing to donate to ourwebsite, we hope you will join us on this journey in hope of seeing ourselves in mutuality with our friends and family in Mabule. We are extremely grateful for all of your support throughout our journey thus far, and we hope that through our collective efforts, we can begin to imagine a world where there are no margins.
The SOCOBA Team
“Helping children in need help themselves”