Humanitarian Trip to Saharawi Refugees

Through the organization, Not Forgotten International, we, Seth & Kate Lenz, are raising money to go to the Saharawi Refugee Camps in Western Algeria this fall and on a regular basis after that. We are going with our two children, Everett (2) and Moses (10 months). Our trip in the Fall of 2014 will be 4-6 weeks in length, and our primary objective while there is to bring pottery supplies to their already existing supplies and spend the duration of our trip teaching them techniques and practicing. They have been generously given lots of pottery supplies by a nonprofit in Spain, but do not know how to use most of what they have. Kate is a professional potter and has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to teach them how to use what they have in a way that can be income-producing. They currently spend, on average, about 1 hour for one piece of pottery that they can sell for approximately $15. With proper training and knowledge of how to use a wheel, they could produce one piece every 5 or 10 minutes, thus increasing their productivity by a minimum of 500%,  giving them the opportunity to make more product to sell to people coming through the camps (mostly Spaniards). They host a film festival and also a marathon in the camps, which would provide the majority of the business they could do. The money they could earn with their pottery would be used to improve living conditions for the families involved in the production of the pottery, ranging from the ability to buy higher quality food (all families are currently on rations of rice, beans, and flour only) to improving their homes.

Additionally, we will be serving in Essalaam English Center in S'mara (one of the 5 refugee camps) helping in the classrooms and on the school grounds, filling in and meeting needs as they arise. 

The relationship we have with the Saharawi people personally spans back 15 years and a total of 19 trips between Kate and I, though we've only been there once together. These are a people largely forgotten by the rest of the world, as they've been refugees in a land not their own for the last 39 years. Please come alongside us as we continue to cultivate the relationship between America and Western Sahara and show these people that they are not alone in this world! 

This will be our first time traveling to the camps with children, which presents unique challenges. In addition to financial needs, we are also requesting a great deal of prayer from our supporters, as this is uncharted territory for our family. We will be leaving behind a business (Seth's Coffee) and our homes to be in the care of others for our time away, which brings great anxiety. Please pray that God will provide the people necessary to care for these other facets of our lives while we are away. 

The trip cost is mostly airfare, likely to approach $5,000. The remainder of our goal for fundraising is for living expenses while there, other travel expenses (hotel, food, etc), and travel insurance. 

Our intent is for this to be the first of many travels to the Saharawi people with our family, as Kate and I have both had a very clear calling on our lives to serve the Saharawi people for many years now. Our intent is to go 1-2 times per year for trip lengths ranging from 1-4 months, depending on many contributing factors. These trips will likely be in the Fall and late-Winter/early-Spring months. Currently there is a 90 day limit on visas for being in Algeria, so that would limit length of trips if we ever get to a point of wanting to be there for longer amounts of time. 

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact either Kate or I directly.

Thank you, in advance, for your support! We would not be able to go without your help!
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Seth W. Lenz 
Appleton, WI
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