Tag Archives: charity

Student Helps Kids in Uganda Become More Self-Sufficient


Pigs and chickens are practically staples of almost any animal farm in the world. For some, the two yield key ingredients of the quintessential breakfast. For a group of kids in Africa, these farm animals have become the ham and eggs that bring in the green — vital money resources that connect them to an education, in part, because of the help of one USF student.

From May through August, Mallory Aurellano-Browne developed a plan that allows disadvantaged youth in Uganda to generate their own income by selling livestock. She worked with 26 young people between 12 and 22 years old, all of whom had lost one or both parents to AIDS and were being raised by distant relatives.

“I didn’t want to be disrespectful and show sadness for their life stories. Instead, I knew I needed to tap into what I came there to do, and my biggest motivation was just working and playing with the kids, even if my plan didn’t work,” she said.

In her plan, the group would make a profit by breeding or raising two chickens or a pig. Pork is a popular food item in the area she worked, and Aurellano-Browne wanted to accommodate the Muslim children in her group with the option of raising hens. She bought 20 pigs and 12 chicken for about $450, giving one pig each to 20 kids, and two chickens to each of the six Muslim kids. Kids were also given a five pound bag of feed, nails and wood, and attended a pig sty building workshop.

She raised money for the supplies by promoting her project on GlobalGiving, a charity fundraising website for nonprofits.

“I was surprised — most of the people who donated were my friends, a bunch of broke college students,” she said, laughing.

Aurellano-Browne was paired up with Kitovu Mobile, an organization located in Uganda’s Masaka district that provides care and treatment to communities affected by HIV and AIDS, as part of a Sarlo Scholars’ summer program. She devised and conducted the first income generating strategy for the youth in Masaka’s Kabonera sub-county, where farming is a main source of income and food.

While the sub-county’s population is mostly made up of children under the age of 18, it’s common to find only a small percentage of them attend school. Unable to afford attending school, these individuals spend each day doing arduous tasks like fetching gallons of water, carrying wood, or making bricks. These jobs often pay about 5,000 Ugandan Shillings, or barely two US dollars, each month, which is only enough to buy food for one family.

Aurellano-Browne said although one boy wanted to make more money carrying wood, his small body frame was not strong enough to take on the heavier wood load, which would give him a higher pay.

Oftentimes, Aurellano-Browne observed many of the children had the same responsibilities as their parents or caretakers. Yet while she perceived the workload as a harsh means to make a living, this lifestyle was fairly common among the Ugandans. “Between the youth and adults, I saw a different story. For the kids, this was just the way it was, they were born into it, but the adults felt like they had no connection to their children,” she said.

When she asked the children what they wanted to do with their profit, many of them said they hoped to be able to pay for school, in addition to buying coveted, costly goods like sugar and soap to wash their clothes.

“One of the best parts of being there was seeing the kids walk with their heads held high. Seeing their transition from the beginning of my trip to the end was amazing,” she said. Near the end of Aurellano-Browne’s 10 week stay, her group raised $700. She celebrated with Kitovu, as well as local government officials, who recognized the success of her plan.

By that time, Aurellano-Browne had already been welcomed by the community she worked in, and was even dubbed with the clan name Nassali, or ‘monkey’ in Ugandan, but the first few weeks of her stay were filled with homesickness, two encounters with malaria, and being called mzungu, which means ‘foreigner’ or ‘white person’. “I’m half black, but in Uganda, I was still viewed as an outsider. The whole time I was there, it was like I was playing tug of war trying to find common ground with the people there,” she said.

Wherever she went, young children ran to her, smiling and shouting “mzungu.” She said, “In some parts, mzungus are something like celebrities. One man even said to the kids, ‘Come touch her skin. She’s just like us!’”

Though it took Aurellano-Browne some time to adjust to her new surroundings, she said from the start, her host family treated her as their own kin, a kindness she especially appreciated when she contracted malaria while on safari.
Aurellano-Browne explained that her host mother, Mama Tamale, stayed with her in the hospital for three days, ensuring she received proper care and attention in the non-English-speaking facility which had no sheets on beds and did not offer food to its patients. When Tamale had to leave, she had her distant relatives come in to keep Aurellano-Browne company.

“I couldn’t believe that she did that. I don’t think the experience would have been the same without my host family,” she said.

Though Aurellano-Browne found it challenging to live off a diet of mashed green bananas, cabbage, and tough-skinned chicken, a wardrobe of five skirts and shirts, and a television with one channel, she said she eventually learned to adapt to the new, simple life. “I realized that a lot of the things I have are unnecessary.

The communities I worked with didn’t have much, but they’re happy,” she said. In her host home, Aurellano-Browne took showers by pouring buckets and used latrines formed by holes in the dirt floor. “Now, I’m scared that I’ll get too used to my life here, and forget about life in Uganda,” she said. Getting off the airplane in her hometown of Los Angeles was surreal, and she committed a whole day to recollecting her thoughts by herself.

Aurellano-Browne hopes to return to Uganda sometime soon and continues to keep in touch with her host family through Skype. “Being in a completely differently country and being part of a community to the point where we know each other’s faces, instead of just finishing my project and leaving — that was the best experience I got out of my trip,” she said. She is currently raising funds to apply her plan to another group of 26 Ugandan youth.

For an inside look at Aurellano-Browne’s work in Masaka, Uganda, check out her blog at ninethousandthreehundredand1.blogspot.com, which is named after the distance in miles between Uganda and San Francisco.

A Brief Guide to Fashionable Giving: The Fashion Community Reaches Out to Help Japan

Every day, somewhere in the world, tragedy strikes and hearts are broken. The coverage of the Pacific’s earthquakes and tsunami continuing to rattle Northern Japan has brought thousands of individual tragedies and broken hearts to our television screens. We watched the crisis with sad spirits, feeling helpless for Japanese families and those affected by the destruction. Being students at the University of San Francisco, we are trained to extend our hands to those in need in our community and beyond. Yes, Japan is many miles away, but our diverse campus community at USF is made up of many who are connected to the tragedy.

While almost every media outlet is providing information on how to contribute dollars to the efforts in Japan, there are other ways to give and create awareness to the cause. Leave it to philanthropic designers in the fashion industry to provide support with perks, connecting your credit card as an IV to the Red Cross to aid those in need.

Red Crossing
Red Bags by  Rebecca Minkoff
The red circle on the Japan flag symbolizes the rising sun. Help the sun rise in Japan this season by carrying a red Rebecca Minkoff bag with each sale supporting the Red Cross. Not only will your ruby bag cross your heart and sway at your side with fierce style, but $100 of each bag purchased will be donated to help provide medical care, food and shelter to thousands affected by the tsunami. Prices range from $294-$495 for all styles and occasions.

http://www.rebeccaminkoff.com/shop/handbags/japan-relief.html

Love in the Mix
We Love Japan T-Shirts
by Tory Burch
Help carry on the Tory Burch craze of comfy leather and gold T-emblem flats to the designer’s Japan relief t-shirt. No need to worry about this charitable fashion item going out of style as the t-shirt camouflages its message with rows of petit Japan flags surrounding one row of red hearts. No matter if worn under a blazer, thrown on with denim, or cuddled up in bed as a PJ shirt, your heart will feel its warmth with 100 percent of proceeds heading straight to the Red Cross. This relief effort is just $29 with no shipping cost. Cute, comfy and charitable.

http://www.toryburch.com/japan-relief/13112196,default,pd.html

A Wave of Relief
Wave Necklace by Jewelry
for a Cause
The wave that destroyed Northern Japan was unstoppable, fluid and powerful. It is now our turn to fight the destruction with an unstoppable, fluid and powerful aid to reconstruct the lives affected. Charm the idea of lending a helping hand by honoring Japan with a wave charm around your neck by Jewelry for a Cause. The two $30 blue wave pendents are modern and easy to incorporate into your accessory rotation with more than 20 percent rolling to the Red Cross. This necklace duo is perfect to share as a gift with any friend or family member and is fashionable for ladies and gentlemen alike.

http://www.jewelryforacause.net/thebluewave.html

Positive Bandwagon
Fashion
Charity T-Shirt for Japan
by Anna Sui
The weight of the earthquake and tsunami crisis is an impossible handful to balance. However, Anna Sui’s t-shirts (designed by Dean Landry) show hands holding the heart of Japan announcing, “Japan: We’re All in This Together.” Unify this effort by choosing to purchase this shirt for $20 in a women’s lavender or a men’s black. 100 percent of proceeds go to Japan disaster relief. The world of Anna Sui communicates imagination and nostalgia, so this is a perfect piece to remember destruction while realizing healing is on the horizon.

http://shop.annasui.com/T-SHIRTS/CHARITY-T-SHIRT-FOR-JAPAN-WOMEN-S-p89.html

The fashion industry endures the criticism of selfishness and snobbery but it also provides one of the most compassionate artistic outlets to extend a helping hand. Let your guard down and consider shopping for a cause. Keep your eyes open for tsunami relief t-shirts, red hot Rebecca Minkoff satchels, and symbolic waves around our necks to see fashionable support at USF. Courage will help rebuild Japan. We must stand together to support the cause as an institution specializing in humane relations.
Through donations, fashion, or hands on service, USF awareness and concern shall be addressed to contribute to our world’s well being.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-editor: Natalie Cappetta

Scene Editor: Tracy Sidler

USF Students Lend a Hand to AIDS Victims A World Away

Zimbabwe Vitamin Project

A volunteer distributes vitamins and AIDS medicine at a health clinic in Zimbabwe. (Courtesy of Professor Lillian Dube)

In many parts of Africa, the AIDS epidemic is raging; exasperated by malnutrition, prolonged violence and failed governments, as is the case in Zimbabwe, a country of 13 million people, over 1.6 million of whom are living with HIV/AIDS. Zimbabwe, which has seen its economy collapse and healthcare system crumble in recent years, has forged the most unlikely of bonds with the San Francisco Bay Area, USF and the man that connected the two worlds together, Dr. Robert Scott.

Scott, who has been going to Zimbabwe with a team of volunteers for 10 years to see AIDS victims and offer them life-prolonging antiretroviral medication and treatment they could not get anywhere else, came to USF last semester to explain the situation on the ground there with students. Following the presentation, students approached Scott, eager to find ways that they could help. Scott said he was impressed by their willingness to lend a hand and suggested they assist him in collecting donations of multivitamins which get distributed to the AIDS victims, affording them a nutritional supplement to their one meal a day, consisting of little more than starchy roots, which most poor Zimbabweans eat.

Students, including many from the African studies minor program and Ubmthombo Club as well as faculty and staff from Health Promotion Services and University Ministry, coordinated the vitamin drive, collecting bottles of pills and sending them to Hayward, where volunteers repackaged them into bags of 30 to be given to patients in Africa, where they are instructed to take one pill every other day along with their regiment of AIDS medication.

USF Professor Lillian Dube, a native of Zimbabwe, who is helping to promote the vitamin drive, has also traveled to Africa with Scott to assist him with patients and act as a translator. Dube handed out vitamins to hungry patients and had to turn away 100 people from the clinic where she and Scott were working after their resources were depleted. Dube said that every time Dr. Scott returns to Zimbabwe, which is 3-4 times per year, he is confronted by more and more people seeking his aid.

On her trip in late December, Dube said the volunteers instituted a lottery system to see who of the hundreds of new people who had shown up to the clinic would be taken into the care of Scott. “Dr. Scott held the box and I called the numbers,” she said. “They were sitting in the rain, hoping they would get on board – on the life train – it is like your ticket to life. You are looking at their faces, hoping they would get called but we could only take 25. I was sick after that, I was deciding who lives and who dies.”

Scott, who is now seeing 750 patients in Zimbabwe, said he is overwhelmed by the demand for his services. “We don’t have the financial resources or enough doctors, when you have 100 people standing in front of you saying ‘please save my life,’ it’s very depressing.” Scott and the organization he works with, the Allen Temple AIDS Ministry, use donations to buy AIDS medication in India where local pharmaceutical companies ignore international patents on the drugs and manufacture them for far less than they cost in the United States. A one-month supply of a three-drug cocktail which is given to Scott’s patients costs $8.50, he said. The Allen Temple then uses volunteer labor to solicit donations of multivitamins to stretch their financial resources as far as possible.

Dr. Scott said he is grateful to USF students who are helping to collect donations. “The bottom line is that in third-world countries where the diets of people are so poor, people who have multivitamins live longer and healthier lives,” he said.

USF will be accepting multivitamin donations all semester long at Health Promotion Services outside the cafeteria on main campus and University Ministry. Student volunteers are also working to get donation boxes in residence halls and will be accepting donations at 5 p.m. Mass in St. Ignatius as well as student Mass in Xavier chapel.

Homecoming Is Opportunity For Social Change

Nearly one year ago this week, Wyclef Jean stood in front of an enthralled student body, visiting friends and family, alumni and others. His vibrant character and robust musical talents left us all in awe. The reduced admission of $5 for students seemed like a steal, a welcome relief for the frugal college student.

Nonetheless, it is likely that Wyclef Jean was not chosen because of his musical prowess or jubilant personality but rather with close attention to his personal endeavors for his native Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Unbeknownst to many may have been that Wyclef had established the Yele Haiti Foundation in 2005 to “create small-scale, manageable and replicable projects to contribute to Haiti’s long-term progress.”

Similarly, the choice for our homecoming concert this year can be attributed as much to a majority of students desiring a hip-hop artist as it can to Lupe Fiasco’s “acute thoughts [often] ignored [by] his peers.” In other words, Lupe, born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, is as much a popular hip-hop figure as he is a fun-loving student of the world around him, a “dazzling lyricist” whose childhood bedroom floors tended to be “covered in comic books and literature of all genres.” He is not a typical “rapper” but rather a “thinking man.”

What’s more, Lupe has an affliction for charity and has previously raised money for “Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.” Earlier this winter Fiasco donated $5,000 for new children’s coats in his native Chicago and sponsored a design contest benefiting the World Hunger Year Foundation (WHY).

So at this point you may be asking what all this has to do with the concert. Why should it matter to me or USF about our featured musical artist does in his or her free time and what communities they support? It is because the university’s mission and one of the reasons that I choose to attend, as I hope many of you can relate to, emphasizes “social responsibility”, “a common good that transcends [our own] interests”, the “development of each person with the belief that no individual or group may rightfully prosper at the expense of others.” And what better way to illustrate our intentions than to have a portion of the homecoming proceeds benefit a charity of the artist’s choice?

I did some research last spring and learned of Wyclef’s charitable activities and wondered if there was a way to raise money for his cause? To possibly present a check to Wycelf at his concert as a show of unity with his mission. Unfortunately, my idea did not pan out but the possibilities have continued to permeate my mind and body.

It is easy to enjoy a great artistic demonstration and nice to pay a relative small portion out of your pocket. It should be even easier to establish a new tradition at the University of San Francisco. A dollar surcharge or two, a contractual agreement for even a 5 percent donation of the $50,000 we generally pay our homecoming artist. My hope is that this would be a unique feature that would encourage other artists who share our values to be more receptive to coming to the university. However, at the very least it would show that we are not merely “educating hearts and minds to change the world”; we are actively participating in the creation of a better world.

Jon Coon is a junior finace major and politics minor. Online at infoforlivin.blogspot.com