Last week I spoke to several Girl Scout troops about AFCA’s work with children affected by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. The presentation, accompanied by pictures of several children in our programs, was part of the organization’s annual World Thinking Day activities, themed this year, “Together We can Save Children’s Lives.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What struck me most about my time with the Girl Scouts, ages 5 through 17, was how intently they listened to the stories of children who live half-way around the globe from them, surviving in the desperate circumstances they have been born into.

The Girl Scouts I spoke to genuinely connected to AFCA’s mission. I told them a story about the impact of something that most of us take for granted: a comfortable bed. I showed them pictures of hospital beds in one African hospital, mere slabs of wood propped up on four cinder blocks that sat on a dirt floor.

Then I showed them AFCA’s warehouse full of hospital beds donated through the medical surplus recovery project along with new mattresses, sheets and blankets. The girls saw snap shots of those beds being loaded by volunteers onto the forty-foot cargo container at our warehouse that would then be carried across the ocean.

They saw pictures of joyful townspeople unloading those beds and other crucial supplies that would save lives for the next year or more at their hospital.

In the final image, they saw a tiny boy who was sick in the hospital, surrounded by nurses and a doctor. “Where are his parents?” one kindergarten girl asked. I wish I could have told her that they stood just outside the frame of the picture or waited outside the hospital room.

Although it doesn’t take the place of comforting parents, the boy was lying, not on a slab of cold hard wood, but in one of those beds—complete with a new mattress, clean sheets and a warm blanket—that had been sent across the ocean in a cargo container. Something as simple as a comfortable bed can send hope and improve the life of a child who is sick, orphaned or both.

During the closing question and answer time of each World Thinking Day presentation, it was so moving to hear a little girl sitting off to the side ask, “Do you take donations?” and “What can I do to help?” These girls, along with many other groups of children and youth I meet, are growing up seeking ways to serve neighbors in need. As the future leaders of a world that has grown much larger than it was for previous generations, our children are willing to help neighbors who may live across the street or across the globe.

Yes, most definitely, together we can save children’s lives.

Kathy Stewart
Director of Development

Will you please join us in making a difference in the life of a child?

Contact me at for ideas to get you or your group started on a well-suited project to benefit AFCA.

Learn more about how you can help send health and hope right now to Kilembe Mines, Uganda at this link: