Jan 5th – back to “reality”…whatever that is.
The team finally finished their long journey home and everyone was excited to get back to their families and “reality” – except me. No matter how long (or short) I’m in Swaziland, when I get home, it feels foreign and somehow wrong… wrong that I go to the bathroom in potable water when kids are thirsty, wrong that my dog is showered in more love (and eats better!!) than some children. I hate myself for being one of the haves, as if I struggled more – somehow the kids would struggle less. I have a 14 hour drive back to Denver tomorrow and I’m hoping I can keep my thoughts positive – such as all we were able to accomplish due to your generosity, donations, and support!:
1. SOLAR LIGHTING PROGRAM: For orphaned children living without electricity, alone, in the rural mountain areas – darkness can be scary and dangerous! Thanks to generous private donations and sponsorship from WInGS – we were able to purchase:
a. Generic solar panel kits that each support 3 LED lights and USB cell phone chargers for 16 hours/day at maximum capacity for 10 years
b. Portable solar lanterns that will allow for safer night traveling in the rural darkness
c. And we are piloting one larger construct-your-own solar product that will power not only lights but also larger electrical products like radios, TVs, etc.
2. ANTI-BABY DUMPING CAMPAIGN: The GHFP participants were able to partner with Malindza community leader Maseko, Heart for Africa, and the Swazi Deputy Prime Minister in a national Anti-Baby Dumping awareness builder. We learned that since May, 22 babies were found dumped in latrines. Some of these babies had breathing problems from surviving in the unsanitary conditions and others had permanent head trauma from their drop. Malindza is introducing a baby safe to the country in hopes of offering women a safe and anonymous alternative to dumping babies in fields and latrines.
3. ORPHAN EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIPS: This year due to generous donations from countless donors we were able to expand our orphan education scholarship program to include 16 children. (3 of our GHFP kids recently graduated bringing the total kids = 19) We are thrilled to now have orphans in eLangeni and Malindza communities with 14 in secondary school and 2 in primary school! Thanks to everyone for allowing us to grow – we hope to continue to include more deserving children in the future!
4. TREES OF HOPE PROJECT: We purchased and planted almost 100 trees including litchi, mango, grapefruit, lemon, lime, paw paw, banana and avocado. These trees were planted at child-headed homes, eLangeni Primary School and eLangeni Secondary school. They will provide a sustainable food source and a means for income-generation by selling the surplus. Thank you Power of One Foundation!
5. FENCING/POULTRY/FARMING PROJECT: The headmaster at eLangeni Secondary School graciously offered GHFP a plot of land on the school grounds for our children. We planted 20 fruit-bearing trees and they are also cultivating vegetables and reproducing chickens on this land. We also purchased poles and fencing wire to protect our land from grazing goats and cows. Our orphans will work on this land outside of school and benefit financially and nutritionally as well as learn vital skills pertaining to successfully producing their own food. *Thank you Power of One Foundation!
6. CELL PHONE PROJECT: Communication is key to survival in the rural areas. During this trip one of our children had an allergic reaction to a wasp sting and his older sister had to run to a distant neighbor’s house to borrow a phone. The doctor said that if it had stung closer to his throat rather than above his eye – it could have cut off his air supply and been lethal. We were able to purchase all of our child-headed homes a cell phone with ample air-time to last until we return in June. We also purchased an abundance of air-time for Bheki (our village coordinator) to enable him to call and check up on all of our children and send us a monthly report. A MoneyGram wire transfer takes only 10 minutes to reach Swaziland in case of an emergency.
7. ARTISAN DIRECT PROGRAM: We purchased hundreds of dollars worth of jewelry, batiks, masks, and crafts from our rural women. We offer these products for a donation that will not only provide an income for the women, but the remaining money will go toward GHFP orphan programming. Check out some of the goods online: http://www.ifightpoverty.org/african-artisan-direct.html or schedule a “Party for a Purpose” with us.
I am already looking forward to returning in June! We still have a few spots left on our June and July 2013 trips, check out our website for more details: http://www.ifightpoverty.org/take-action.html
You can also show your support by:
- Spreading the word about our programs and website to your friends and family: www.ifightpoverty.org
- By “liking” us on facebook: www.facebook.com/GiveHopeFightPoverty
- Hosting a Party for a Purpose (artisan direct, painting, bar/restaurant, boutique - options are endless!!)
- Hosting a donation drive (contact us for our most immediate needs including: children's books, medical supplies, school supplies, art supplies, and luggage)
This is the end of the blog until June when we return to Swaziland. But I will leave you with an excerpt from a letter one of our 14-year old orphaned boys wrote to me:
“I’m going to run out of words on how I’m going to thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the last 6 years. You have made me a human again by showing me light when in darkness. May the almighty God open the flood gates of heaven and let the blessings flow over you. You have done more for me than any other human. I’m glad that God brought you to shed light to my troubled soul.”
This thank you should be directed toward YOU, our supporters, our donors, and our GHFP friends. Without you, we would not be able to help children like Sizo… and without you, we cannot grow to help supporting more incredible children like Sizo.
Thank YOU for showing ME light, love, and hope for a better future for these amazing children. Until June, xoxo annie (email@example.com)