Before I move on I will take a second to talk about The Light Center and Lovelight. The Light Center is a not-for-profit corporation located in Baldwin City, Kansas featuring many interwoven projects focusing on inspiring people to grow. It serves as an Alternative Unity Ministry. The Light Center also runs Lovelight as an outreach project in South Africa. In South Africa, over 50% of all orphans or at-risk children are affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Furthermore, the children in many of these affected communities have parents that also struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. This results in children living in at-risk homes, children who live in homes where another child, such as an older brother or sister, is the head of the house, or children that are completely homeless. Lovelight aims to aid in this crisis. Lovelight's mission is to empower leadership, hope, and education for the youth of South Africa through the cross-transformational experience that comes from being of service, co-creating a global oneness.
Going back to IYOU, while there everyone was shown a video of the retreat that Zizipho and Bianca were elected to run back in South Africa later this year. The camp is run in partnership with Lovelight. This camp is for the youth of a community known as Riversonerend (‘River Without End’ in English.) As many as one in five people are infected with HIV/AIDS in this small community. The proportion of those infected is nearly two times that of the national average in South Africa. The Ubuntu camp is designed with leadership and trust building in mind, giving many of these kids a community of support. The camp is based on the YOU retreat model with a head youth team that runs and writes all of the material for the camp. Many of the camps themes also have basic unity principals interwoven within the leadership and trust building content. The youth team for this camp is chosen through a rigorous application process run by Lovelight. Each year they choose between 1-2 South Africans, as well as, 2-3 International Youth Ambassadors from the United States. When chosen for the position the South Africans that are elected are brought to the United States to go to the International Youth of Unity event at Unity Village, and The International Youth Ambassadors (IYA’s) are brought to South Africa to help plan and run The Ubuntu Camp.
This year 3 IYA’s were chosen this year and I am one of them! I am so lucky thankful to have received this amazing opportunity and I know that it will be truly transformational for both myself and all of the children I will meet while I am there. Part of being elected to go to South Africa is receiving a scholarship that will cover all of my costs while on the ground including food, transportation, and lodging. What the IYA is left to pay for is the airfare to South Africa. The Airfare to South Africa will be $2000. As a full-time college student, earning this amount of while being enrolled with 17 credits this semester just isn't feasible for me.
Any and all contributions will aid me in going on this trip. I urge you though, to not think of me when donating to this trip, but instead think of the children whose lives stand to be changed by the experiences that my team and I will be able to help foster in each and every one of their lives. Throughout this camp, we stand to tap into the untapped potential that each and every one of these kids possesses and give them the tools to become leaders within their community. Nelson Mandela, one of the most prominent and recognizable south Africans in our modern history, once said: “Young people are capable, when aroused, of bringing down the towers of oppression and raising the banners of freedom.” Thank you so much for reading this! ALSO if you prefer you can send donations to me directly at 953 Redwood Drive, Apple Valley, Minnesota, 55124. Thank you so much, Every donation really does help!
**Donations over $25 will receive a personal copy of a short film I will produce while in South Africa.**
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