Hello and welcome to the first of many blogs!
Seeing as this is my very first blog entry for my journey in Uganda and I still don’t leave for three months I must bore you with my letter of support. The letter will give you a great idea of where I am coming from and where I am going. I sent this letter to family and friends for two reasons: the first reason is to let everyone know where I’ll be for the next two years, and second is to help generate support for my time in Uganda since I will be working on a volunteer basis.
As many of you know, I have had a long-standing love for the continent of Africa. I find the history, people, and cultures of Africa and its many countries to be fascinating. While attending Indiana University, I had the privilege of spending a semester studying at the University of Ghana. My time in Ghana solidified my passion for Africa, and I knew then my life would always be somehow intertwined with Africa and its people.
Africa makes up 20% of Earth’s land mass and is home to one billion of the seven billion people on Earth. Although Africa is rich in culture and natural resources, its long and turbulent history of colonialism, corruption, civil wars, drought, famine, and unsuccessful development has caused nearly half of Africans (that is almost 500,000,000 people!) to live in crushing poverty. I feel it is my calling to help the people of Africa who are suffering in unlivable conditions. I believe if I am able to improve the life of one person I am making a positive difference in the world. This brings me to my plans which I would like to share with you.
In order to make a true difference in the lives of people in Africa I have decided to commit the next two years, starting in May, 2012, to serve on a volunteer basis as an International Ambassador for The HALO Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. HALO stands for Helping Art Liberate Orphans. HALO’s mission is to improve the lives of orphans around the world by providing them with food, water, shelter, clothing, education, and art therapy. Many of the children HALO supports have witnessed war, disease, death, and other unimaginable hardships. In order to help the children work through and express their emotions HALO utilizes art therapy, which has been very successful. I fully support HALO’s mission and its approach to development and change in third world countries. HALO currently supports five orphanages in Kampala, Uganda. As HALO’s International Ambassador, I will serve as the link between the homes in Uganda and HALO’s offices in the United States. My duties will include visiting each home weekly, implementing art and other programs, managing the budgets for each home, and assuring the children are reaching their full potential through future focused programs.
While I was in Africa, I saw the poverty that exists, and although I did not even see the worst of it, I knew I could not continue to live my life without trying my hardest to help those in need. However, I cannot do this alone. Your support, both moral and financial, is greatly appreciated. Your tax-deductible donation will be received by The HALO Foundation and used to support my role in Uganda of helping children like Joy (featured in picture). If any donations are unused after my time in Uganda they will be used to support the greatest needs of the HALO children. To read more about Joy and how you can help other children, please visit HALO’s website at www.haloworldwide.org. If you would like to make a donation, please fill out the included card, and please know I appreciate your support by e-mails and phone calls just as much as by a financial contribution.
Sincerely, with love and hope for the future,