Some of you may actually have volunteered with me in the past (thanks!!! I really appreciate it and value your help!).
Some of you may know that every little thing you do to help others has a ripple effect....like the other day the car in front of me gave a young homeless girl a couple bucks when we were stopped at a 4-way stop. And instead of being irritated that he was taking FOREVER - I was inspired to give up a couple bucks myself, and didn't remember why I was in such a hurry. Or by making a small little card for a terminally child - you are actually affecting that entire family (who knows how bad their day was going before you sent that card, and how uplifting it might have been for their spirits to see your great rendition of a cartoon dinosaur). We can do just LITTLE things and make such a BIG difference. We really can!
Just try it, I dare you.
Last year, some volunteers got together and we made ABC posters for schools overseas. Some went to Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Kenya. And then the project came to a standstill because I just didn't have any more schools to send them too and I had an abundance of posters ready to mail. And they sat in my closet for about 5 months with no home.
And then one day, I just put in more effort and searched around for a local non-profit that was somehow connected to an overseas school that might benefit.
And that's when I found Barry Childs and Africa Bridge.
And that's when I fell in love.
Barry is this amazing human who has dedicated his life to the people of Tanzania. He works with the elders to identify a counsel of people who work together to identify the most needful children in a community. Then they, the counsel and elders, work together against the factors that prevent their community from being successful with the bridge to what they need in order to educate their children, grow their community, provide for a future for their people.
I'm certain I am not doing the program justice with my little description - here's a little blurb from their website:
Africa Bridge blends effectiveness and efficiency to change Tanzania one child at a time. Its core projects include providing seed capital for farm cooperatives, training for agricultural projects, building classrooms, providing scholarships for school expenses and supporting Tanzania's Most Vulnerable Children Committees (MVCCs).
We use an integrated approach that works through local families and communities. They agree to identify and care for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and other diseases. We bring resources, technology and training to create sustainable incomes for the caregivers.The children receive housing, clothing and food, social and legal support, and at least a primary school education. We make each project sustainable to create permanent change.
I have had the chance to hear Barry speak a couple of times, and listening to him speak, you can actually feel the passion he has towards this cause. He has done amazing things in these little communities in the middle of one of the poorest countries in Africa...and he just does it, with little recognition, and in such a humble way, and in a peaceful and quiet way. He's just amazing.
Anyway - I spoke with the people at Africa Bridge, and Barry was happy to take our posters to his schools in Tanzania. I think we sent seven or eight. Barry had to buy an extra suitcase to get them there-the posters, when folded even, take up quite a bit of space, and were not really conducive to suitcase packing.Typically, we send these posters off and then never hear another word. Not a card, not a thanks, nothing...which is fine-but we would all love to see the outcome of our work, right?
Well, Barry pulled through......and our posters are in the hands of some very happy teachers in Tanzania and Barry and Africa Bridge has requested more donations! Not just letters, but also numbers. Or other teaching implements. They really value our work. They really appreciate what we have done. They loved them - and beyond that even, they brought back pictures!! Of our little posters....in the middle of Africa!! And I have to say that I almost cried a teeny-tiny bit when I saw them.
The children were all gathered around, as they come running when they see "papa Barry" come to town. They were all so excited about our posters.
The teachers literally have nothing on their wall. The children do not all have paper and writing utensils. They do not all have books. Our posters have really made a change to the lives of others in a little community far, far away.
Thank you to everyone who helped me make this happen. Thanks to Natalie, and Jackie, and Kathy, and Kristi, and Mike, and Dean, and Amy, and anyone else I'm missing.....we have made a difference!!!
If anyone else wants to make a difference, it's really easy. Donate via their website ($25 will buy a student supplies for a year). Or become a fan of their cause on Facebook. Or just spread the word about them. They are wonderful.