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      In the summer of 2003, I was asked to serve as a consultant on the TAGS (Textbooks for A Global Society) project, a component of the Bush administration Africa Education Initiative (AEI) program to improve educational opportunities for Africa's children. As a native of Benin, I assisted the TAGS representatives in conceptualizing and writing supplemental reading materials that were later distributed to Benin children. We traveled to Benin to observe the educational situation. I was shocked and disheartened by the deterioration in infrastructure, yet encouraged by students and teachers' attitude.
      Despite the lack and absence of basic school supplies, textbooks, students desks and dire learning conditions students were still eager to learn and teachers ready to teach. Upon my return to the States, I decided to do something to transform the lives of the children. I remained in touch with teachers, principals and trusted local organizations to provide funds for textbooks, school supplies, and academic programs for the children. 

      Following SOW's inaugural fundraising event in February 2008, we began to help children on a larger scale. Today, thanks to our generous donors, over 7000 underserved school children have benefited from SOW not only in Benin, but also in Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ethiopia. We are humbled and grateful for their sustained support! Thank you to all of you for believing in us!

-Lucie Viakinnou-Brinson

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