Villaggio della Speranza, Dodoma Tanzania (Village of Hope)
Organized by: Nancy Nicosia
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Once upon a time, there was a boy who walked along a beach after a strong sea storm. The beach was covered with starfishes brought by the sea; the boy, while walking, kept on throwing the starfishes, one by one, back to the water to save them from the heat of the sun. A man saw the boy from far away and approached him asking what was he doing? "Why bother? There are so many starfishes that you couldn't possibly save them all". The boy looked at the man, then he picked one starfish and answered "Maybe not all of them but this one for sure...."
The Villaggio della Speranza, the Village of Hope is a non-profit organization located in Dodoma, Tanzania. It is a grass roots organization originally started by a handful of people to give housing, love and care to a few orphans with HIV, and give them comfort until they succumbed to their illness, - only they didn't. In 12 short years a small house has grown into a village, with a school, clinic, medicine, hospital for mothers with HIV or AIDS, and homes with live-in caretakers for orphans with HIV. Recently a bakery, fish farm, and dairy was added, as a means of helping the community become more economically independent. One single donation provided for a small solar energy system which provides energy for the bakery, without dependence on expensive and often intermittent electricity. What started as a preschool has grown exponentially, and education is now provided through high school.
In addition, the entire community has become the beneficiary of the Village, and the clinic, hospital and school now provides for all of the surrounding community. A small example of what wonders can occur with just a handful of dedicated people. The Village welcomes volunteers from over the world, and has been especially aided by the people of Impruneta, a small town next to Florence, Italy.
This testimonial is from Sheila Biasini, volunteer at the Village of Hope in 2003, 2004, and 2006 and President of the ONLUS (Non-Profit Organization for Social and Community Purposes). "The first time I visited the Village of Hope, the entire center consisted of a well, a house and 3 hosted children. The task in front of us seemed huge and 15 million people in Africa were already affected by HIV. How could we possibly deal with such a huge catastrophe with only one well and a house? Suor Maria Rosaria made me read this story and since then not one day goes by without me thinking of a starfish..."