Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Help Build A Community Kitchen In Africa

Building to house community kitchen

The son of a good friend of mine, Aaron Levine, is currently doing a two year stint in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Africa, working in the Youth in Development program.

I should preface this post by saying working as a member of Peace Corps is no "Club Med." And, as many of you know, it's not a money making experience. According to the Peace Corps website,  Peace Corps provides each Volunteer with housing and a living stipend that enables them to live in a manner similar to people in their community of service.

That being said, everyone talks about the awesome experiences and growth the program provides to young adults.

In an effort to help leave behind a worthy legacy for years to come, Aaron is working to build a much-needed community kitchen to help feed the children in his area.

The project will cost about $1,500, but Aaron isn't allowed to fund raise on his own. So, his mother has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of materials to build the community kitchen.

I'll add that this project isn't going to win someone a Grammy Award or Academy Award. No one will get famous or rich. In fact, no one will make a dime from what will be a grueling project to complete.

But what will happen is countless children in need will get help. And that is priceless.

From the GoFundMe page:

Aaron works with schools, community members, community organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations to provide interventions and education pertaining to healthy living, prevention and mitigation of the effects of HIV/AIDS, life skills, employment skills, and providing basic services for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).

Aaron was attached to Eric Rosenberg High School in Gege in the southern region of Shiselweni last Septmeber, having arrived in the country for training in June 2015. He has been doing work to help the youth of the community empower themselves and make a difference in their lives and their community, but sometimes there are economic barriers that are too much to be overcome by children with no parents or children heading households themselves.

Aaron suggested using a nearby store that was abandoned and unused and refurbishing it instead of making an entirely new structure. They approached the owners, who leased it to them for 300E ($20) a month, which will be offset by the repairs they will make on the structure. Upon a closer examination of the structure, they decided to turn it into a community kitchen for the OVCs in the Eric Rosenberg area of Gege.

The inkundla (community head) of Gege has a list of all of the OVCs in the area, but truly every person under 18 in Swaziland is considered an OVC by the Peace Corps. The spread and affect of HIV/AIDS is felt in every corner of the country by everyone in one way or another. Every child has lost a parent, older relative, or sibling. Every adult takes care of, or provides for in some way, at least one OVC, at least one extra child. This project is a small part of relieving that strain of HIV/AIDS on the community and empowering the youth in their economic, social, and emotional struggles. This project is targeting those OVCs with no parents and no solid source of income or food, and will attempt to provide them with at least one extra meal a day.

There's a lot more info at the link.

I personally think this is an awesome project. It's a relatively small amount of money for something that, while labor-intensive, will help this area for years and years to feed vulnerable children.

I invite you to click over and take a look at the project, and if you feel it, please consider making a donation - of any size.

Aaron will be doing the physical work here, but I'd love to help him get the funds to make this a reality.

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