Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘donations’

A Bright Human Comet

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A Bright Human Comet

Gianna Altano was and is, a brilliant comet on this earth and her family (Danny, Sydney and Marissa) are shining stars. Gianna died this week, at the age of 23, after a life-time of living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Her life and even her death, was a precious gift to all she touched.
 

Though many of her friends with CF died at the expected life-span for someone presently living with the disease, Gianna kept on going like a marathon runner who kept running the race one short sprint after another. She did things that many of us without CF cannot or would not do. She did everything a teen and young twenty-year-old would do, including martial arts and surfing. To say she was fearless would be an understatement.

Everyone fell in love with Gianna – family, old friends, new friends, classmates, colleagues, students, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, the staff at Stanford, acquaintances, and friends of friends.

A few days ago Gianna’s Mom Sydney said, “We as a family got to receive the reality of both sides of organ transplantation. We also were able to give in a way we were hoping to get. The full circle of life and anticipation in every from.”

Gianna was on the donor list waiting for a lung transplant that never arrived. Yet, with her death (and her deepest intentions to donate her own organs) others now live and/or have regained function of vital body parts.

Gianna Altano’s life and death have been one gift of love after another… whether you were touched by her physical presence when she was alive or received part of her body after her death. To know her now or have known her before, is to be in the presence of gratitude incarnate and a being who lived every moment up to her last breath.

A celebration of Gianna Altano’s life is being held this Saturday, March 30th at the Seaside Resort.

Christmas In Rwanda

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and that you enjoyed stuffing your faces with all the delicious Turkey Day foods I miss more than I could possibly describe to you.

I’m writing to you because I want to ask you for your help. All of you know the work that I’m doing here in Rwanda with these orphans and former street children, and although we’re always struggling for funding I try not to take advantage of my relationships with you by asking for donations or making you feel pressured to contribute to our program throughout the year.

That being said this time I am asking for your help. We really need any and all help we can get to give our 100 boys a Christmas celebration this year. In the past we have been able to get local businesses and donors to sponsor our Christmas celebration, allowing us to provide a special meal and a small paper sack full of simple gifts like a couple pairs of underwear, some pens and notebooks for school, a tennis ball, some sweets and a few other items. As many of you have seen from photos of past Christmas celebrations that this is the boys’ favorite day of the year.

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However, this year we have struggled to find any partners or sponsors for Christmas. Starting this year the Rwandan government began a program called Agaciro. Publicly billed as voluntary, Agaciro is a nationwide program virtually requiring all businesses and individuals to donate money to the government that they say will be used for the development of the country. Often employees, whether street sweepers or doctors, are told to donate one month’s salary to this fund and businesses and organizations (like ROP) are pressured to also make large payments or face the possibility of being blacklisted and being unable to get services from the government. Basically it’s a unofficial tax in a country that already has a tax rate of 30%.

So what does this have to do with ROP? Well, because organizations and individuals are having to make these “donations” to the Rwandan government they have no money left to give to the orphanages and other charities like ours who need their support. In November we sent out dozens of letters to local businesses asking for Christmas donations and so far the response has been extremely disappointing. Jenny and I are becoming very concerned that we won’t be able to give our boys a nice Christmas.

That is why I’ve written you this letter. I know the economy is still shaky and the holiday season stretches everyone a bit thin, but I’m asking that you please consider helping us out this year, even if in a small way. If we can collect enough donations of any size in the next couple of weeks we will have just enough time to organize a Christmas Day dinner for them, buy them some small gifts and put together their little gift bags in time for the big day. If you can donate $10, $20, $50 or even more it will go a long way towards giving these wonderful kids a celebration they deserve. If you would like to help the easiest way is for you to visit our website, www.rwandanorphansproject.com. The method most likely to get the money to us before Christmas is to donate via Paypal, but you can also send us a check to the address listed on the same page. We are looking to raise only about $700 for dinner, a drink and some small gifts. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Finally, thank you all for the support you give both to me and our program. So many of you make contributions to ROP and I can’t begin to express how valuable each and every one is to us.

Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all of you!

Sean
ROP Center for Street Children
Kigali, Rwanda

Rwandan Orphan’s Nursery

From Amakuru! News from the Rwandan Orphans Project.

ROP Nursery Now Open for Business

Thanks to donations from AIC, a Kigali based charity, and some other fundraising, the ROP (Rwandan Orphan’s Project) was able to repurpose one of our rooms to become the new ROP Nursery School. The school is open to children from around the area whose parents pay school fees for their children to attend. This is the first income generating project for the ROP and is already showing promise with an opening enrollment of 16 students, yielding $800 for the ROP. We are continuing to advertise with hopes of filling the school’s capacity of 30 children which will bring in approximately $2500 every three months, or enough to cover the secondary school fees we are currently spending each term for the boys under our care.

Jenny Clover, coordinator, came up with the idea after realizing the wealth of toys, games and art supplies the ROP received from various donors throughout 2011. She said: “We feel incredibly lucky to have received such wonderful donations, and our boys love to play and learn with them. So for us to be able to generate income from these same items while also helping the local community is a great opportunity for the ROP. We hope our nursery will continue to grow and benefit us.”

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