The Challenge The Seva Challenge 2010 was focused on HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa.
The Results 83 fundraisers collectively raised $550,000 and generated awareness about HIV/AIDS in their own communities worldwide. Over 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS today, 67% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Trip Participants Jennifer Chitwood, Melody Moore, Tim Thill, Gwen Soffer, Tammy Binkley, Colleen LaDelia, Christina Sabatini, Christine Geiser, Carly Weis, Kerri Kelly, Marley Vigdorth, Claudia Whitney, Jenna Jeantet, Grace Dubery, Megan McDougall, Marissa Waller, Nikki Myers, Cournay Meletta, Maura Manzo, Michelle O’Brien
Partners and Projects Funds raised during the 2009 Global Seva Challenge supported six organizations in South Africa. Christel House South Africa (CHSA)breaks the cycle of poverty through education, health and empowerment. Earthchild Project focuses on the holistic development of children, teachers, schools and communities. The African Whole Grain Bread Project aims to establish community-based microbakeries to produce fresh, high quality, whole grain bread to improve the nutrition of health-compromised and malnourished adults and children. GOLD Peer Education Development Agency (GOLD) is a dynamic not-for-profit organization that plays an important role in the transformation of under-served communities in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. Linawo Children's Home is a residential home that cares for abandoned, neglected and orphaned children as a result of substance abuse, poverty and HIV/AIDS.The Baphumelele Project will construct a recovery house that allows young people to begin the process of reintegration with society, while providing monitoring, support, education and job opportunities for young people.
During the trip, participants engaged in the following activities
- Learned about the history of South Africa, focusing on apartheid and its effect on the current culture and AIDS crisis in Africa
- Purchased books for Christel House library and assisted in the cataloguing, indexing and shelving of books
- Assisted in the painting of a yoga studio and orphanage
- Assisted in the construction of a bakery to help feed individuals affected by HIV/AIDS
- Met and interacted with children at Baphumelele, assisted in baking food and making jewelry
- Daily yoga and leadership development with Seane and Suzanne
“I’m in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s Valentine’s Day and I am falling in love. No, I don’t have a new boyfriend… but I have met amazing people that have opened my heart and my eyes. Every day I have been brought to tears and to just as much laughter by the stories of the people here that form the rich tapestry of cultures. I’ve played with orphans, painted schools, and stayed in the home of a family in one of the townships and I’m amazed by everything that I’m learning about this fascinating place.” Claudia Whitney, Hong Kong
“What has been shocking and a sledgehammer to that expectation of total hopelessness is the spirit of the people we have met and worked with. The kids are like bundles of electric love, there is nothing like the total attention of their hearts as they race to you for the sweetest hug you will ever receive, and then hold your hand throughout the entirety of your time together. Or the way in which they freely show affection to one another, girls who huddle around the friend who cries as she discusses the death of her brother, 16 year old boys who watch a movie with us with their arms slung around one another’s shoulders the whole time. These are 2 examples in a sea of hundreds.” Marley Vigdorth, Colorado
“In sum, what I can tell you about the OTM experience abroad was that it is priceless. There was no limit to the space created for me to transform. There was no boundary of LOVE. Yet there was interminable freedom to go deep and to love BIG. And for me, Africa is where I woke up.” Courtnay Maletta, Rhode Island