This post is written by Tanya Weaver of the American Foundation for Children with AIDS.
We always hear about the fact that children cannot study for school in their dark homes or at night in the villages we work with in Kenya. They light candles they can hardly afford or use horrible lights with fumes that make them sick and make their eyes water. Women who’d like to sew cannot do so once the sun sets.
When we gave out the LuminAID lights, we immediately saw people smile and dance, telling us how they no longer have to use paraffin lights or candles, which are dangerous when little ones are around. Women were ecstatic to receive these lamps and equally as exciting was seeing the kids, who so desperately want to study, knowing that they could do so now.
Another reason we are grateful for these lights is that we know that those who received them will use them when they need to use the restroom at night. Walking in the dark towards an outhouse is frightening, especially if you are a girl. Now, they can walk with a light to show them the way and to let them see if others are around.
We love that the lights are waterproof because many structures in which people live get wet often. Rain can come in during storms and wind blows through some of the “houses”, especially if roofs have fallen down. The LuminAID lights continue to stay lit, despite a storm, right when they are most needed. Sometimes children walk home in the dark during the rainy season that doesn’t seem to stop, and these lights help them feel safer.
Our organization also had the pleasure of working with Mama Roselina Kong'o, a member of a village called Kamagaga in Kenya. She was married in her late 20's to her husband Kong'o. Sadly, her husband passed away in 1990 leaving her with four daughters under her care. Unfortunately, one of her daughters passed on in 2005, leaving Mama Roselina with three older daughters who had already moved out of her home. Mama Roselina Kong'o has been living alone for a long time now, but another daughter just passed away recently, leaving Mama Roselina with two little AIDS positive grandchildren to raise. This 84 year old now has a 2 and 3 year old to care for - Vionah and Nancy. The only investment she was left with, is a small piece of land where she grows substances crops to depend on. Because of LuminAID, we were able to deliver two lights to this little family, which made Mama Roselina so very happy. We also were able to provide her with three pregnant goats, training, seeds for a garden, and hope. Thank you for the lights you gave us!
The American Foundation for Children with AIDS is still raising funds to help people like Mama Roselina, who is caring for two children with AIDS. People can get involved by going to our website, here. 94% of all donations go directly to our programs! If people would rather donate items instead of money, we accept a wide range of medical supplies, baby diapers, baby blankets, and school supplies. Thank you!
-- Tanya Weaver, AFCAIDS
Now that spring is in full swing, the warm weather is wonderful motivation to bring your team outdoors and make a local impact. Service projects and volunteering opportunities make for great team bonding experiences that also help strengthen your local community.