HIV Prevention Puppets To Africa

$6,581 of $8,500 goal

Raised by 64 people in 77 months

I am currently raising money to fund the first stage of a large project to develop an educational outreach "show" that teaches about HIV Prevention and AIDS education using puppets.

Puppets are one of the top five most effective teaching tools in the world.  Aside from being entertaining and attention-getting, puppets have the unique ability to actually SAY things that are taboo or generally unspoken in polite conversation.  This is true throughout the world.

In many African cultures in particular, talking about sexually transmitted disease, its prevention, and its impact on families and communities is something that isn't done in public.  However, with the help of a humorous cast of puppets and clever writing, these issues can be openly talked about.


On June 19th I will head to Kenya to train puppeteers, setup meetings and interview Kenyans around Nairobi about HIV education and cultural issues.  From there, I will develop a multi-faceted live show that primarily uses puppets to address HIV/AIDS related issues.  This show will be performed by civic groups, church groups, and youth clubs in the city and rural locations.

Ideally, this will be the first of several trips, and since this is a pet project of mine, I want to fund my first training and fact-finding mission on my own.  

And by "my own" I mean, "with YOUR help."

Once I find out the specific needs of NGO's and have a feel for the cultural sensitivities of the area and get into the writing and developing of the shows I will hand over fund-raising to a 501c3 charity based in Texas.

In short:
Please help me fly to Kenya, setup meetings, teach puppeteers, and interview existing AIDS education outreach groups.

Funds will go towards: flights, car service, food, puppets and puppet stages, and the very, very unpredictable expenses of developing world business travel.  

Additional funds beyond $3100 will be used to setup Phase 2 of the project.

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HEY! There is a story behind this project!
Learn more about this project on my website - HERE.


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This campaign will remain online as a "history" as to how the initial research and vision got it's start.

Donations given on this page will go to Project HAND UP, a registered 501 (c)(3) non profit based in Texas.

In April 2015 we (it's no longer "I") will launch our first full blown initiative with the assistance of the Rotary Club of DeSoto and the Rotary Club of Nairobi and a global grant from The Rotary Foundation.

Thanks to all my friends and family who initially invested/entrusted me to carry out my idea - we still have a long road ahead - it's been three years since the idea was formed - and a LOT has happened.

Keep updated at www.facebook.com/HandUpProject and at www.projecthandup.org
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Better link to my newest video report!
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Hey look! It's tons of video of what I have been doing, and it includes a way to help my cause and the amazing people I have been working with. Please, take a look at this video, and donate directly to the puppeteers if you are so inclined.



http://www.gofundme.com/newrobipuppeteers
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Update PART 2
GOFUNDME emails are not well designed and do not recognize carriage returns, I highly recommend reading the update on the web page. So sorry for this, here is part two:
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I won't be able to do that for another 7-10 days, but I have acquired an incredible mailing list, so I am quite hopeful. I am also going to require all people (initially) who attend my puppetry trainings to pay for the training sessions. Surprised? Read on"¦

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A bit of charity philosophy for you: (And wholly opinion, not to be taken as fact.)

1. The most efficient and long lasting way to help people is not to come in and do the work and leave. The most efficient way to help is to train people to replicate your skill and make it their own. It's quite emotionally gratifying to come in and build a house, pass out medicine, do a show, bottle feed a baby, or whatever, but it's a single serving sort of deal and when it comes to numbers, its largely un-impactful. Not without value, of course, but not really "world changing." These sort of short term "in and out" visits do much to change our own hearts and minds, and jumpstart a sort of "compassion complex" that can do good in OUR OWN lives. But, to truly HELP OTHERS, training and self replicating and allowing the culture to mold our skills into something they can claim as their own is far more "right". Give a man a fish, teach a man to fish, sort of thing. All this to say, I'm not gonna go around and do HIV prevention puppet shows myself, even if it is the best damned show around once completed. Not interested. I will create a system for teaching locals to do it themselves. More on that in later updates. I just wanted you, my donors, to understand my process a bit better and know my intentions.

2. Charity is least effective when freely given. Mostly. There are notable exceptions, of course. Here is what I am doing: I am going to require anyone who wants to learn puppetry to pay for it. I am going to require anyone who wants puppets to pay for them.

Why?

When my mentor essentially perfected and implemented water purification techniques for southeast Asian countries, it was no small feat. UNICEF and the W.H.O. adopted his technology and it's now part of the official recommended technologies for developing world aid organizations. One of these technologies was the ceramic water filter. He raised funds, build the factory, and started freely distributing the filters to families throughout the countryside. However, upon return visits to families who had received the filters, he saw that the filters were dirty, broken, or being used for animal feed buckets and whatever else. Even though it was the best thing going, it was adopted poorly and therefore the project was useless.

He then took a new tact. He would sell them. No matter how poor or rich a family might be, they were required to pay for the filters. (subsidies and discounts existed within this process as well, obvs.) And, not surprisingly, upon return visits to the families who paid for their filters they found a complete turn around. The filters were prized possessions, they were actively being cleaned, and most of all, they were being used to generate clean drinking water for the families.

I visited a businessman once in Cedar Hill, TX. He was a multi-millionaire who had tons of independent representatives selling his products. Because of the cattle call nature of his hiring practices, he had to distribute a lot of forms to be filled out to potential candidates for hire. Many of which were seeking hire at other companies as well. After years in the business he had calculated that there was a lot of waste of paper, time, money and effort distributing all of these carbon forms, many of which were in triplicate, and it had a sizable cost attributed to wrinkled, lost, forgotten, and mishandled paperwork. So, he informed me, he started selling the forms. Not for much. Just $1 for some and $2 for others. Not surprisingly, potential applicants took better care of the forms, only serious applicants applied, and he received more high quality applications overall.

The lesson, to me, is that giving something away is nice. Very nice. But perceived value is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it is vital. When people make a personal investment in a good thing, it matters far more than what it is given freely. Heck, my own parents charged me rent when I turned 18 (a small amount). I was required to pay for my own car insurance at age 16 (a portion), and my mother required me to go through extra steps to get my laundry done at age 15. I had to ask, sort, and deliver to the laundry room first. It was no longer a chore she just performed automatically for me. Now, I may have conflated a couple different memories, and I don't exactly know what good it all did me, except that I think it helped me when I left Washington to Texas, alone, at age 19 with $15 in my pocket and a job waiting for me. I've done relatively well for myself, and I think part of that is having value attached to things that many people might normally receive for free, take for granted, or what have you. It prepared me for life on my own.

Also, I've heard several stories of well meaning groups who come in and give away school uniforms to children in an orphanage, and as soon as the group leaves, the owners sell the uniforms and put the kids back in rags. I hate to say it, but I've heard stories such as these in many countries, and you can be certain I've seen this kind of racket myself. Orphanages are actually a pretty well known business scams.

All this to say, I continue to accept funds for my project because I am operating at a bare minimum shoestring budget and feel justified in having help as I try to accomplish my dream. For now. Car service is expensive, and vital, and at this point I am just about totally out of donated funds. (I didn't factor in gasoline at international prices, and I had no idea food costs would vary so much.) And yes, I'm self funding about 1/3rd of it at this point. (After all, I am also subject to "˜perceived value' and if I don't invest in myself I would feel like a fraud.) BUT, the moment I can be totally self sustaining, I will be, and I expect to charge Kenyans every step of the way once training and resource distribution begins. This is secondarily why I am working with churches, as they have a system in place to pay for teacher training and purchase resources. (In addition to having the personnel and the reach to make the project work.)

I hope this is all clear. Feel free to send me questions or argue with my points or my process. I've got a lot of experience, but as always, the more I "know" the less I really know. Phase 2 of the project will require a shift in operational and budgeting procedure "“ I'm not married to my own methods, and at different scales I will require different methods.

Finally, I am a performer and a teacher and I am specifically NOT an administrator, team leader, or office clerk. More about that in the next update. Suffice to say, I am way out of my league out here, doing what I am doing "“ but it appears that I am getting results. Largely due to the help of Ben and Galen (both of whom will return to the USA long before I do.)

Whew. Well, there is a novel. This is what happens when I type while waiting for a meeting to start. And when it starts 2 hours late. But, HOORAY! Good news again, I've just been informed I have a meeting with a director for a national AIDS education program as instructed by the Bishop I met with a few days ago. The director is a member of the Bishop's congregation. It was truly worth the wait for this meeting just for that news. Now I am off to drive through the countryside back to Nairobi.

Gratefully Yours,

Darren Collins
darrenistheman@gmail.com (Yeah yeah, I know, but it's the mos
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Read a Previous Update
Shaun Hgsecsre
72 months ago

gofundme.com/1amsnk help please

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Sean Madden
76 months ago

Contact 410Bridge and see if there's any connection there (http://www.410bridge.org/). I traveled to Nairobi/Kenya a few years back, in conjunction with North Point Community Church here in Atlanta, and they're doing big things in Africa. I've seen the large signs outside the rural villages explaining how many HIV cases there are and it's astounding. Do big things there, Darren!

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Jennifer Adkison
76 months ago

Will circumcision concerning HIV/AIDS be any part of the education?

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$6,581 of $8,500 goal

Raised by 64 people in 77 months
Created May 22, 2012
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CR
$20
Christie Reick-Hutto
72 months ago

Keep on keepin' on Darren!

C
$186
Cristela
72 months ago

I love when people tell me what to get them for their birthday. Makes it so much easier. ;) P.S. I love what you're doing over there.

S
$55
Sistah-in-Lawr
73 months ago

Bro'...your update needs to be a book. You're, like, uber duber smart, and you rock, as well. Stay Alive, we love you, let's start your book when you get back.

DC
$100
Dr. Chappie
73 months ago

Rock on dude

C
$250
Chandra
73 months ago

I am Mandy's coworker and friend..I admire the work you are doing, keep it up:)

M
$55
Mandy
73 months ago

love you!

$100
Anonymous
73 months ago
KS
$100
kirk smith
73 months ago

Hey bud, Love the last update. So cool, sounds like you're in your element. Sorry I can't do more. Kirk

Shaun Hgsecsre
72 months ago

gofundme.com/1amsnk help please

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Sean Madden
76 months ago

Contact 410Bridge and see if there's any connection there (http://www.410bridge.org/). I traveled to Nairobi/Kenya a few years back, in conjunction with North Point Community Church here in Atlanta, and they're doing big things in Africa. I've seen the large signs outside the rural villages explaining how many HIV cases there are and it's astounding. Do big things there, Darren!

+ Read More
Jennifer Adkison
76 months ago

Will circumcision concerning HIV/AIDS be any part of the education?

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