You Can Help

Expand the Band  (Updated: Dec. 12, 2008)

South Africa has the highest number of HIV positive individuals worldwide. In rural areas, there is a severe lack of opportunities for children and youth to develop a routine of healthy, life-giving behaviors. In April of 2007, a church in rural South Africa received a donation of a single pre-owned (and rather beat-up) trumpet. This single, potentially insignificant donation started a chain reaction leading to the active creation and promotion of a youth band. The congregation has since pulled together what little it has to purchase a replacement for the original trumpet. Upon hearing of the dream, the local musical instrument dealer donated a second instrument to the cause. With the band gaining momentum, the congregation, through much hard work and sacrifice, raised nearly $3,000 U.S. dollars to purchase 9 additional instruments to date. Each musical instrument is shared by a cadre of children and youth, and therefore 9 instruments currently serve a band of twenty-two youth. The congregation has hopes to expand its reach by adding 11 new instruments to the band, helping to provide a positive opportunity to over 30 additional at-risk children and youth.

The church is hoping to raise $4428.66. Please consider helping. 100% of your contribution will go to the purchase of the new instruments and therefore 30 more youth will have an opportunity to exerience the power of making music.

You can donate here using the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) Website. It’s fast its secure and it allows you a way of keeping track of your donation for tax purposes.

Thanks, Benjamin

 KLM Foundation

Check out the Photos from Longtom

One of the best parts about being in Peace Corps is getting to collaborate on projects with fellow volunteers. One of these projects is raising money for the KLM Foundation by participating in the Longtom marathon…

It’s actually a half- and an ultra-marathon, and we plan to walk the half, which is 21.1 km. It’s happening on March 29th in Sabie, Mpumalanga Province, not too far from Kruger Park. It starts at the top of the Longtom Pass and goes downhill most of the way into Lydenburg. Many Peace Corps Volunteers will be taking part, probably over 70 of us, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to get together with them for the weekend and walk/run in this beautiful part of the country which we haven’t seen. Plus, after the marathon, Ben has been chosen to participate in the Longtom “lank off!” He’ll represent our Peace Corps group (SA-16) and compete with another volunteer (SA-15) to see who’s more “lanky.” Leave it to Peace Corps Volunteers to always have a good time…

In addition to being fun, the main reason for taking part is to support the KLM foundation. Their website is: www.klm-foundation.org; please check it out. We won’t go into all the details of what they do, since you can read that on the site, but we’ll just say that the organization was founded by two PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) who served here in South Africa a few years ago. They decided to hook-up with the Longtom marathon as a fundraiser; each year they fund a worthy, needy child to attend an excellent secondary school in Mpumalanga at Uplands College. We are so excited about helping them to raise funds; what better way to help this country than to educate a future leader? And the child they choose is very carefully selected, going through a four-tier process of elimination. The four children who have been chosen so far are excelling in all respects.

We hope after reading about KLM you will find yourself as supportive as we are of their work. There may be other projects we encounter along our way, but this is very worthy indeed, and one for which we would love your support. Our goal is to get a gold medal (in fundraising, not the run) and your donation will help us reach that goal ($700). Please give what you can; any amount is appreciated. Even if you can only give $10 or $20, it is greatly needed and it is tax-deductible. So please go to the KLM website to make a donation; just click on the “donate” photo. Make sure to put our names in the white box where it asks for the Longtom person you want to sponsor. The online donation is preferable, but if you need to mail in a check, please make it payable to “Kgwale le Mollo (US),” and send it to:

KLM Foundation (US)
c/o Bowen Hsu
461 So. Bonita Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91107

Please make sure to include a note that your donation is in our behalf.

Thanks so much for your support of us, and especially for supporting the child who is chosen next year to attend Uplands. We’ll let you know how the weekend goes, and how many funds we Peace Corps Volunteers collected.

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Chrysalis Girls Club

My major Peace Corps project is a 7th grade young women’s empowerment club, led by teachers from the two primary schools and “carers” from the Home and Community Based Care. The club meets on Mondays and Tuesdays, after school, and features a variety of activities: life-skills, teambuilding, community service, recreation & fitness, craft projects, environmental awareness, women’s health, and HIV/AIDS education.

“Chrysalis Girls Club” symbolizes the beautiful transformation process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. Becoming a young woman is both exciting and challenging, filled with significant physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual changes. Chrysalis Girls Club aims to empower Abbotspoort’s 7th grade girls (“caterpillars”) through this transformation process (“chrysalis”). At the end of the program, the goal is for these girls to enter their next phase in life (secondary school) as strong, confident young women, or “butterflies!”

If you are interested in supporting this project, anything butterfly-related to help create the theme would be greatly appreciated: butterfly paper, pencils, folders, posters, pins, charms, etc. Any symbols of women’s empowerment (pictures, posters, etc) would also be tremendous. Finally, small toys/treats (butterfly or not) that could be given out as special prizes, throughout the year, would be fabulous (candy, coloring books, card decks, games, dolls, stuffed animals, etc).

Thank you for your support!

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Neighborhood Play Toys

Nearly every afternoon, 2-20 children stop by our house to play. At first, we were just leading camp games and songs or cards games, but when Susie’s parents sent a plastic tennis/badmitton set and jump rope, it added a whole new dimension to our time with the kids! We still enjoy sharing our favorite camp activities and the kids love playing cards, here, but since we’ve had the other toys, hardly a day has gone by without someone asking to play with them.

It certainly doesn’t have to be anything expensive (I think the tennis set and jump rope just came from a grocery store), but if you would like to contribute to our impromptu “day camps” with the neighborhood children, we’ll gladly accept any and all play toys. Some possible items might be: bubbles, sidewalk chalk, long jump rope, bouncy balls, and anything that looks fun to YOU!

Once again, thank you for your support!

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