|by Flemming Funch|
Virginia Girl Gives Leg-Up to Kenyan Village; out of Poverty into Self-Sufficiency
-By Cathy Dyson in The Free Lance-Star
While on safari with her family last summer, 17- year- old Christina Morin spent four days in Kenya with people of the Samburu tribe. Two years of drought had killed their cattle and left the tribe with nothing to eat. Christina helped the owners of a tourist lodge pass out flour and sugar rations, but she wanted to do more....
For fun, she taught the children how to paint. "They came up with amazing drawings of animals", she said, "and they'd never seen a paintbrush before".
Christina decided to turn the paintings into notechords and sell them back home. She paid the children $200 of her own money for the images. "That fed them for two and a half weeks", she said.
Before Christina flew home to Fredericksburg, VA, she'd hatched the idea of paying the tribe to make crafts, which sheÂ’d sell in local stores. Her parents loaned her seed money, and the Samburu project was born.
Now tribal women are stringing beaded bracelets, the spear-maker is turning pieces of metal into ornaments and the children are painting giraffes and zebras. "It's turned into a huge project", said Christina.
She earmarks every penny of profit for the tribe. Her goal was to raise enough money to buy a cow for each family and to dam the nearby springs so drought would never devastate the tribe again.
Sales during last yearÂ’s Christmas season yielded $10,000 in profit. Christina was able to collect enough money to buy the cows, build the dam and even pay the medical bills of a girl who had a brain tumor and a boy badly burned in a fire.
ChristinaÂ’s enthusiasm has triggered groups like the girl scouts to buy cows for the Samburu people at $50.00 apiece. 67 cows have been purchased so far, freeing up the crafts proceeds for food, medical expenses and to build a crafts center in Kenya. The project has raised $18,000 --100% profit -- for the Samburu People.
(From Good News Network)