I traveled to South Africa in 2006. During the month I was there, I visited an orphanage called Mama Amelia’s in the township of Mfuleni. I wanted to check it out and meet with her to find out how an orphanage is run, because for my 200-year goals, I want to create an empowerment center for orphaned children that will give them an advantage in society. I will explain more about this later.
Mama Amelia cares for over 250 children. The orphanage is not a traditional one. It is run like a big family. None of the children are adopted out. She only takes them in, cares for them, and raises them with the help of her oldest children. Each of her children takes one year off from school the year before they graduate to help out with the daily routines, and then they go back to school for their final year to graduate and then go on to do whatever it is they want to do.
Amelia’s only functions on donations because the African government does not assist with anything. Although their quarters are very clean, they are very cramped and need help to build houses. Each house costs $6000 to build and will accommodate 20 kids.
Please visit their site and give anything you can, or you would always be warmly welcomed to go personally visit the orphanage and feel the most amazing sense of joy and love (from the children) you’ve ever felt. They are craving attention.
To me, Kiva is one of the best causes to donate to because you are actually empowering people to help themselves instead of just giving a hand out. The first time I heard about micro lending was through a friend of mine that actually started the first micro-lending program in the US.
He was traveling in Bangladesh when he encountered a woman weaving baskets. They started chatting and she mentioned that she had a big order, but could not fulfill it because she did not have enough money to buy supplies for more than one basket at a time.
She explained that she had gone to banks to get a loan, and they turned her down because she not have any collateral. My friend asked her how much she would need to borrow, and she told him $20. My friend was shocked that it was such a small amount, and offered to lend it to her just like a bank would. He didn’t really expect to get it back, but the woman did pay him back, with interest!
She was so grateful and ecstatic because it would change her life forever; not only her life, but the life of her family for generations to come. You see, this $20 gave her enough to kick start her business enough so that she could reinvest it over and over again enabling her son to be the first in her family to ever go to school. Once he went to school, he could get a good job and provide for his family trickling down from one generation to the next.
Please give to Kiva.org You have nothing to lose. You actually get your money back, but empower people along the way, transforming generations of families to come, over and over again.
I was first introduced to this program when I was just a child. My parents friend Gus, was a big brother. I would hear about the activities they used to do together, and even though I was only about 10 years old at the time, was inspired by the time he took to make a difference in someone else’s life. Or maybe I just wished it was me going on the activities with him! Regardless, it stuck with me and I told myself that if I ever had the time to spare, I would participate in this program. My little sister’s name is Sydney. I encourage you to check it out. Not only is it fun, you get as much out of it from your “little” as they get from you.
I prefer the CCF to other similar programs because you get to correspond with the children you support. You can send gifts and letters and in return they send you letters, drawings and photos with the stuff you sent them. You get to watch them grow and are updated regularly on their progress in school, their likes and dislikes, what’s going on within their family and their community. I currently support 6 children in different parts of the world. Maybe one day I’ll make the trek to the remote villages, and places where they’re from to meet them face-to-face.