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Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

Travel and outdoor gear company supports work of anti-poverty organizations.

Live Below the LineIn a continuing effort to support the American Foundation for Children with AIDs (AFCA), LCI Brands™ is participating in the Live Below the Line campaign, which challenges individuals to spend less than $1.50 on food and drink per day for 5 days. The idea is for participants to experience the struggles of those who live in poverty on a daily basis, and to gather donations for organizations that strive to eliminate poverty, such as AFCA.

The Live Below the Line website offers resources such as food costs and recipes; tips for fundraising, such as hosting an office cook-off or planning a dinner party that costs $0.50 per guest; and ideas to reach out to schools, companies, and faith organizations.

A woman in the prime of life who inspires us

In this issue, Helena Persson, 54, who raised funds for aids-stricken children in Africa by climbing the Kilimanjaro.

the funds raised go to these children, among othersHow come you decided to help children in need?

- During a trip with my son to South Africa in 2012 a seed was planted that I wanted to help somehow. Many things were modern there, still we saw shelters for children suffering because of aids – either because they were ill themselves or because they had lost their parents due to the disease. They were treated like paria. One could talk about everything – but not aids. We were horrified and my son said ‘How sad one can’t do anything to help’.

Fundraising for AFCAAll girls deserve access to clean, safe feminine hygiene products. It shouldn't matter where you are, where you live, or what your income is. If you are a woman, you deserve access to these products. That's why the Ms. World Feminist Club at LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York is starting a drive for clean, unopened feminine hygiene products that will be delivered to girls in Africa through the American Foundation for Children with AIDS.

Martin UguriOne thing that makes Martin special to me is his desire to learn.  He has little - a hovel for a house, no parents, and no means with which to get himself out of a horrible situation. But, he knows that education can get him out of that hovel and that if he studies hard and does well, he can continue on to college and to a good job one day. When I first met Martin, it was 7 years ago and I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He looked at me blankly,not able to comprehend that one day, with the right medicine and good food, he'd make it to adulthood.  He'd seen his parents die of a virus that was in his own body and he assumed he'd meet the same fate.

Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignity.

Every girl in the world deserves education, safety, and dignityI don’t care where they live, these are basics every girl should count on.  Yet, in some places of the world, girls simply cannot obtain an education.  It is not because her father demands that she stay at home and work.  It is not because she doesn’t want to receive an education.  It is something more basic – her period.  Yes, this is something we don’t usually think about and much less, talk about.  No one wants to discuss something like a girl’s “time of the month”, yet this basic biological function is what stops girls from becoming educated, time and time again.

PastorHe is a simple man, with no money to call his own.  His house is a small round hut in the middle of barren ground, with a few clucking chickens and peeps trying to find grain and worms to eat.  I hope these chickens are patient because I don’t see anything worth eating around here! His wife is inside the hut, surrounded by a cloud of smoke as she cooks a mixture of peanuts, round nuts and beans in water with a bit of salt.  They cook for a long time to get to a point where they can be eaten and when she is done, she places the single pot to the side, waiting for her visitors to come visit.

Geckoby Jodi Winfindale

I can’t say that living out in the bush is something I would volunteer to do on a regular basis, but it does make for funny stories, once you’ve boarded the bus back to town. 

We arrived at Morning Star Camp and were greeted by our friendly hostess, Norma, who quickly went through the basics of camp. There was a spigot of borehole water for drinking.  Two flushing toilets for emergency nighttime use only, outhouses with the tip tap outside for hand washing, be watchful if you walk around in the tall grass for snakes, there was a huge but friendly lizard living in the men’s outhouse (that scared away just of few of the manliest of men in the group) and just for our information, there may be a rat or mice around, as well.  Don’t leave our food out in the open, just to be on the safe side. 

by Jodi Winfindale

It’s funny how sometimes “new and improved” doesn’t mean “fast and efficient”. 

We arrived in Bulawayo to a brand spanking new airport terminal that had been in the making for years.  We’d pass it as we taxied the runway the past 2 years, on our way to disembark at the prior kwanza hut, with its hand written forms and visa paperwork, toilets with no seats or flushing capabilities, baggage that would be unloaded and piled up by airport staff.  Tanya’s friend, Roberto, somehow instinctively knowing she’d be on that plane, would wait for us to handle our bags and would push us and our bags through customs. Though primitive, it was efficient enough. 

Third Annual Run for Their Lives 5kAFCA held its third annual Run For Their Lives 5K on June 14.  One of the things I find rewarding as the event coordinator is that I am recognizing names and faces of runners that have been to our race in prior years.  I hope that means that people enjoy participating in this event as much as I enjoy organizing it.  Several people showed up wearing shirts from last year's event, something that thrills me to no end.  I recently saw someone in the grocery store wearing a Run For Their Lives 5K shirt, and I felt like an artist watching someone hang up and enjoy my painting.  Maybe not the best analogy, but nonetheless, it made my day.

What happens when you take 5 children and 25 teenagers and adults who want to make a difference in the lives of others to Zimbabwe for two weeks?  Two days of travel at the front end and a couple of days of travel back home cut into our two weeks right away.  A weekend resting at a safari camp takes another two days out of the work time.  With so little time left for work, I wonder what we'll get done.  We have the goal of seeing up two playgrounds for two schools so that the children have somewhere to play.  I know we must design them ourselves, cutting the wood and metal, putting it all together.

We are complete – our team of 30 has come from London, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Massachusetts, and DRCongo (Fred and I join the team in South Africa) and we all make it to Zimbabwe without any issues, other than a couple bags lost and found again.

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American Foundation for Children with AIDS
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