The continent of Africa accounts for roughly 1/3 of the world’s impoverished people. There are over 48 million orphans in Africa, and barely 50% of the people in Africa have access to clean water, while the rest find what water they can. If they are very lucky, they might have a water well nearby. If they’re not, then they may have to walk to a parasite and disease-ridden watering holes, if they can even find one. The average walk to get water in Africa is over 3 miles, and in order to survive, they must carry an average of 44 pounds of water back to their homes. Add on to that the AIDS epidemic, civil war, and terrorism, and you are faced with the reality that the people of Africa need a lot of help from the rest of the world in order to have hope for a better future.
The good news is that there are a lot of great organizations who are doing great ministry work in Africa. The bigger organizations get a lot of support and a lot of press, but there are a lot of smaller missions going on that are changing the lives of people in Africa every day. Most of those smaller organziations need more support, and there are two in particular that are near and dear to my heart. My goal is to get them material (photographs and videos) that they can use to show people the work that they are doing in Africa, and to hopefully get more people to support their causes.
This first organization I'm going with is Ugandan Gold Coffee - Ugandan Gold Coffee has a coffee farm in Uganda that employs people from a nearby village, and they sell the coffee in America. The profits from these sales are used to pay the workers, as well as drill water wells and take care of other needs in the area. My mother has been involved with Ugandan Gold for many years, and I helped them build their website. For the last several years, they have been ministering to the vilage of Hioma and its surrounding areas. They've been giving the people of Uganda clean water to drink, repairing churches, schools, and creating jobs for the people of the region. Every year they take at least one trip to repair wells, drill new ones, and to help with other general repairs and needs in the area. It's a great organization that I know pretty well, and I love the work that they are doing!
The second organization is an Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya called Rehema Home. Rehema home takes care of around 100 orphans, many of whom have medical issues. Recently they were asked to take over a second orphanage, so now they have added to the number of children they are taking care of! Rehema Home was started over 20 years ago, and is run by the parents of a friend of mine. Some of the orphans come to America for college when they are grown, and I have been fortunate to meet a couple of them. I have seen in their faces, and heard in their stories, the power of Rehema Home, and what it did for them in a place where no one else would have taken them in. It truly is an amazing place!
As a full-time art educator, I believe that images can change the world. I am leaving my family here in America and going to Africa in the hope that I can use my talents to help both of these organizations increase the number of people that they are helping in Africa. Both are orgnizations full of amazing people who just want to help raise the quality of life for the poorest people, and are honestly dedicated to making a difference in people's lives.
So, I am asking for help to get there. Neither of these two organzations have the money to pay for my way, so it's up to me to find the funds. And I've already been able to take care of a lot of them. But I do need more, and the trip is just 6 weeks away, and I still need financial help with travel expensese as well as the purchasing of equipment. I need some specialized equipment while I am there, especially portable audio equipment for the video work I'm going to be doing. I estimate that I will need around another $3000 if I am going to do the job correctly for these two organizations.
Among my needs are a cheap, small laptop (but powerful enough to edit high-resolution images and HD video), extrernal hard drives, a field digital audio recorder, a small stereo microphone, and some more memory cards for my cameras. I also have to take care of some living expenses for my trip, and some smaller travel expenses (like visas, etc.) My plane ticket has already been generously paid for by someone else, as well as several other expenses, so I'm very close!
So, if you have a heart to see people's lives changed in that part of the world, and would like to see the images and video I come up with when I'm there, please consider helping me with my travel expenses. I will, of course, be posting images on my blog and on my facebook pages when I get the chance, and you will be able to see the faces of the people that are being helped by these two great organziations.
And if you wish, I will also mention that you can give directly to both of these organziations on their websites, and would encourage you to do so, even if you don't give money for my trip specifically.
Thank you so much for your time!