“Giving has more than one meaning; in fact it has six different meanings. It can mean to present, to hand over in return for something, to put into the hands of, to produce, to do by movement, act or sound, or finally to break under pressure. All of these are accurate meanings…” Mia Parker, a 5th Grade Springhill Elementary student wrote. Parker was the winner of a writing contest that all 5th grade Springhill Elementary students participated in about giving after reading “Iqbal,” a book about a child who was forced into child labor in India. Upon completion of the book, 5th graders at Springhill Elementary were inspired to GIVE to a charity and help raise money to get kids out of child labor themselves.
The American Foundation for Children with AIDS was chosen by the students at Springhill Elementary as the charity to donate to and raise money for. Through Operation Days Work, the students’ goal is to raise $10,000 to send to Zimbabwe to help orphaned children and broken families learn to live again. The 5th grade students at Springhill Elementary are asking the Saline County community to join together and partner with them to help raise money for this cause.
“These children were born into families that have AIDS. These children are either orphaned or vulnerable because their parents died from AIDS and they are at risk, and they are now the head of household,” Keasha Mosley, Special Education teacher at Springhill Elementary said. Mosley along with 5th grade teachers Brandy Brazeale and Leslie Smith are helping coordinate the school’s efforts in raising money for the charity.
The American Foundation for Children with AIDS is a non-profit organization that provides critical comprehensive services to infected and affected HIV children and their caregivers. Since 2005, the AFCA has served tens of thousands of families in some of the most underserved and marginalized communities in Africa. The areas of impact from AFCA include medical support, livelihoods, educational support and emergency relief. AFCA is currently changing and impacting lives in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Our money will be sent to Zimbabwe to provide goats, rabbits, guinea foul, chickens, vet kits, and rabbit pellets to 286 families. The money will also provide seeds, porridge, transportation, training, and oversight of the project,” Mosley said.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 1 million orphans due to the HIV/AIDS crisis. This virus is wreaking havoc among families in the area resulting in either one or both parents succumbing to the disease. As a result of this, young children are left to fend for themselves and take care of other siblings they may have. These children face hunger, lack of education, and lack of health care.
Through Operation Days Work, families in Zimbabwe will be provided the skills, tools, supplies, and training to be able to sustain their lives and others in their communities. The goal is for 36 families to receive small or medium livestock, seeds and nutritional support. 36 other families will receive veterinary and gardening training. The livestock will be bred and reproduce, producing a source of food for the people of Zimbabwe and crops will be planted to help ensure another source of food.
“There is more to giving. Giving isn’t just giving presents to people; it is also giving friendship and time. You can’t just wrap something up and expect that to make people feel better. Some people need a helping hand or a hug or just some time spent with them. And don’t expect a present in return. You are doing something kind to help them, and it is the thought that counts, not what you receive. Sometimes what you receive back, you never expected,” Mia Parker wrote.
If you would like to give to Operation Days Work through Springhill Elementary, checks can be made out to Springhill Elementary and mailed to 2716 Northlake Road Alexander, AR 72002. In the memo section of the check write “Zimbabwe” to ensure your donation in placed in the correct account. For more information call 501-847-5675.
Mia concluded, “My biggest wish is that someone will be challenged to start helping the less fortunate in their community. We forget how lucky we are, how much we have, and take it for granted sometimes. So let’s start sharing not just in November and December but all year long with those who need our help. It is in giving that we receive.”