2SOL is not affiliated with any particular church or denomination though we do practice from a Christian worldview. We work with many churches whose denominations vary from Mennonite, Baptist, United Church of Christ and more. We believe in serving as Christ served, with love as our guide.
Because of our work in a country that has suffered greatly at the hands of ineffective aid workers, we are very mindful about how we present the gospel to those we connect with. We strive to live by serving all people, no matter who they are. (The same way Christ lived and served others!) Mission work can often use food or resources as a way to get impoverished communities to subscribe to their religion. We don’t believe that is ethical. Rather, we strive to serve in a way that causes those around us to wonder what it is that sets us apart. Our hope is that if they ask us what guides us, we can answer with the truth - God’s love.
2SOL was founded by Christie Heimbach and Kelsey Hare when they were sophomores in college. Driven by the statistic that a person dies of a hunger related cause every 2 seconds, they hopped on a plane to Zimbabwe with an extremely limited plan and a few granola bars. Since then, the passion to create sustainable support in Zimbabwe has led 2SOL to work with several organizations planting nutrition gardens at government schools. In 2020, 2SOL began working with Harambe Trust to provide scholarships to women working on agricultural projects throughout the country. While our history has had its share of struggles and joys, we can’t wait for what is to come in the future.
2SOL operates out of the United States, with its headquarters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Governed by a board of directors, sustained by a small handful of hard-working employees plus a kick butt accountant, we connect with churches and organizations looking to support our projects. A large portion of our days are spent working with donors. One tenet of our work is also leadership development with local students so much of our time is spent teaching and equipping students for the yearly trips to Zimbabwe. Overall, 2SOL operates as a conduit between donors in the US with Harambe Trust who oversees our projects in Zimbabwe.
We seek to provide support to all people, regardless of age, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, or religion. Our hope is that we are always supporting those who need it with no conditions attached to that support. As for our board and staff, we seek the best candidates for these roles, following industry standard selection and vetting practices in compliance with the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. Although we are guided by strong Christian principles, we do not unfairly discriminate on the basis of physical appearance, religious practices or lifestyle.
Women are the bomb. That’s why! We’re only sort of kidding. Our initial work in Zimbabwe involved planting gardens at schools because focusing our efforts on supporting children when they are in the most vulnerable stages of life seemed like the most critical work. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the social constructs of Zimbabwe. In a patriarchal society where women are not seen as equals, it is most often women who take care of the community and their families. Sometimes abused, often widowed, these women are ultimately the ones picking up the pieces of a country ravaged by hunger, unemployment, and disease. When support starts at their level, and within the family structure, we believe that it will spread into the lives of those around them.
As a non-profit, we are constantly in need of investors to ensure that our income consistently aligns with the amount we are allocating for scholarships and support in Zimbabwe. Donors are the backbone of this organization and without them, we’d never be able to do what we are most passionate about - empowering women to break the cycle of poverty and hunger through sustainable agricultural programs. But as financial means change within a church or family, often times donations are the first thing to be reallocated. We are always grateful for the consistent ways that we are supported financially, and hope that the results of our efforts push others to give as they are able.
We are a 501C3 non-profit. All of the money that we receive is poured back into the agro-scholarships and other projects on the ground overseas, our student leadership program, operating costs, and employee salaries, in that order.
We are a small but mighty team. Currently, 2SOL has two employees and a handful of volunteers to run the day-to-day of the organization. Christie Heimbach, who co-founded the organization, serves as the Executive Director. Her role is to foster new partnerships with churches and students, cast vision for the organization, and serve as the primary contact between Harambe Trust & 2SOL. She is an incredibly hard worker and and her vision for the future of 2SOL and our partners in Zimbabwe is clearly focused on our goal of empowering women to feed their families. Alyssa Leister is the Operations Manager for 2SOL. Her role is to provide overall organization, through logging donations, correspondence, writing social media content, and all of the other tasks that come up each day. Girl loves a good to-do list (or five) but is so grateful to be able to use her skills to help others.
We accept cash, check, credit card payments, bitcoin, first-born children. We’re just kidding, but we do rely on generous donations to fund all of our work. Our website has several ways for you to donate; You can connect to Paypal, Stripe or another giving platform. We also accept checks directly to our organization if that is your preferred means of donating. Furthermore, we participate in two big events each year: our Zimbabwe Benefit Party and Lancaster’s ExtraGive event every November, both of which are exciting events that truly show the power of community coming together to support a cause.
Most likely! As a 501(c)(3) charity, your donation may be tax deductible, depending on your particular situation. Please consult with your tax advisor. We log all donations into donor software which allows us to track gifts through the year. Prior to tax season, you’ll receive correspondence from our accountant detailing your gifts within the past year.
The majority of our money is spent on scholarships for the women working with Harambe Trust, as well as microloans for their agricultural projects. A large portion of our budget is also set aside for the salary and resources our Zimbabwean Field Officer needs to do his job well. The rest of our money is spent on events and education programs stateside. Financial accountability is incredibly important to us, and we have a rigorous checks and balances process that we run through with our partner organizations every quarter to ensure money is being spent in the most ethical and productive ways possible.
2SOL started with 100% of donations going directly to projects on the ground. For more operational sustainability, we now function with the promise that 80% of the money that comes in each year will support projects on the ground, while the other 20% will go towards logistics and operations expenses.
2SOL is funded completely through individual and church donations. Some of the real rock stars who keep us in business are our recurring donors, as those gifts are how we’re able to predict our budget for the upcoming years.
We sure do. While we accept donations all year, there are two large giving events that we’d love for you to be a part of! Every spring, we host a Zimbabwe Benefit Party. Featuring a guest speaker, yummy food, entertainment and in 2020, a silent auction, all of the funds from the party go directly to our projects on the ground. Our other annual event is the Extraordinary Give. This one day giving event takes place in Lancaster County with hundreds of organizations receiving generous donations from the entire Lancaster community and beyond. We’ve raised nearly $10,000 at this event for the last two years!
Zimbabwe was originally chosen because of its poverty levels and mass food insecurity, not to mention a prevalent HIV rate and an astounding orphan crisis. While those issues plague many developing nations, Zimbabwe in particular stood out because it was also an area that has received little aid in the past due to government regulations. Furthermore, Zim holds one of the wonders of the world: Victoria Falls, which is one of the only things it is known for stateside. We wanted to bring more attention to a country only known for a tragic history and its tourism industry.
Currently there are no immediate plans for expansion. While we’ve toyed with the idea, and have met with potential partner organizations in other nations around the world, we believe transformation can only occur when we focus our efforts on depth, rather than breadth. If 2SOL has access to more resources, and specifically more human capital in the future, its something we will reconsider.
Our partner organization, Harambe Trust, is an incredible organization that facilitates the majority of the day-to-day work being done in Zimbabwe. Our field officer works closely with Harambe Trust to monitor and evaluate each of the individual projects. They provide metrics and data each week that helps to scale the businesses and make them more effective. They also provide reporting back to 2SOL that helps us determine our next steps and speak more influentially with our supporters.
We are very mindful of the safety of our staff and students when traveling in Zimbabwe. We ensure that our students have training prior to travelling, and we enroll in a Smart Traveller Program which provides support while in another country. We also pay for basic traveler’s insurance which is covered in the student’s cost.
Our connections in Zimbabwe are our lifelines while in the country. They serve as our hosts and our guides. Knowing that cultural differences can lead to conflict or misunderstanding, we also rely on a middle-man to facilitate conversation and guide discussions. We require our team to travel in groups of at least 3, being mindful of their surroundings and how they are representing themselves. Overall, we seek to be gracious visitors and aware of potential unsafe situations, while not traveling led by fear.
2SOL purchases basic traveler’s insurance from a Christian company called Faith Ventures. The cost of this insurance is included in the trip cost, but if students wish to purchase additional insurance, they are welcome to do so through Faith Ventures, though 2SOL will not cover that additional amount.
The students selected for our summer trips participate in monthly training sessions. These training sessions provide education about the economy, politics and social norms of Zimbabwe, as well as build community through teamwork exercises and activities. Our training is something that sets us apart from other missional organizations, and is a crucial part of the process if we are to continue to serve the world in a responsible and holistic way.
While shots are scary, they also help keep us safe as we travel. We recommend that any students traveling with us work with their primary care doctors to ensure they are getting the right shots for their trip. Typically, we recommend being up-to-date on your routine shots, as well as getting Hepatitis A and Typhoid shots as well as malaria pills.
2SOL seeks to be an organization that educates about social justice and the ways that we can actively participate in furthering it. We are not a typical missions organization as we believe that while the heart of missions is to help, participants actions often end up causing more harm than good. We want our trips to teach students about power dynamics of Zimbabwe, the negative impact of colonization, the best ways to sustainably partner with and support a group of people, and then how to teach others about these topics when they return home. This experience is more than just a trip; it is an opportunity to become temporary residents in a country that is not our own with the goal of learning about another culture and becoming a part of their community.