Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for OrphanAid Africa!
On July 1st, 2012, I will be racing in my very first triathlon, here in my 'hometown' of Annecy, France (the most beautiful corner of France for those of you who are unaware! :). The triathlon is an olympic distance: 1.5 kilometers swim in the lake, 40 km bike ride (in the mountains), and finally a 10 km run. I will be racing in support of an organization dear to my heart - OrphanAid Africa, who I have worked with for almost a decade!
To give you a topline view of OrphanAid Africa - it is a relatively small non-profit organization whose main objective is to support the education, health and overall well-being of orphaned and vulnerable children in Ghana. OrphanAid Africa does not run or build orphanages. Rather, it helps to support communities so that parents, foster parents or relatives can earn money and raise the children themselves. OrphanAid Africa believes that children are happy in a family, not in an institution.
I will be raising money specifically to buy school books, supplies and uniforms for primary school students all the way to university students. Without the money to buy books and school supplies, many children and young adults are left out of the school system entirely. And it is relatively inexpensive - at least for most of us - to pay for these items. Sending a primary school student to class costs $20 a year! And a university student costs $150 per year in books and supplies. My goal is to raise $12,000 before the end of the summer to send 200 students to school! OrphanAid Africa is already responsible for five graduations from University! These are students who may have not even graduated from elementary school without our help. With even small donations we can support a child going to school for an entire year.
My dear friend Lisa Lovatt-Smith founded OrphanAid Africa in 2002 after she volunteered at a children's home for a week. Basically she was so moved by the experience that she gave up her position as an editor of Vogue magazine in Europe and moved to Ghana full time. In the span of ten years, OrphanAid Africa has gained recognition from the United Nations, Unicef, US Aid, Medecines Sans Frontieres, and the Ghana government for its outstanding work in supporting, protecting and nurturing children throughout Ghana. Because Lisa lives in Ghana year-round, she knows what the priorities are for the children, and she helps to allocate the money accordingly.
Today OrphanAid Africa counts on its private donors to help support its programs. The organization is lucky enough to have some influential spokespeople who have relentlessly campaigned on our behalf - via television appearances, radio, sporting events, media interviews, etc. Victoria Abril (actress), Marcel Desailly (ex-French football team captain and Ghanaian orphan), Margerita Missoni (fashion designer) are amongst our supporters.
In 2008, I went to Ghana to visit Lisa, the kids, and everyone working with OrphanAid Africa. It was an amazing experience and completely inspiring to see how even the smallest contributions can make such a positive impact on the lives of children. If you would like to contribute to my fundraising to help send children to school, please use this site which is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
You might want to check out these links to OrphanAid Africa and Annecy Triathlon videos and photos. Please keep in mind that OrphanAid Africa's work extends far beyond what I have described here - you can learn a lot more about the organization on the website below.
I would like to sign off by THANKING Lisa and the entire OrphanAid Africa team (near and far) for the amazing and inspiring work they do! I have been so lucky to be a tiny part of the OA
And a huge thank you in advance to ALL of our supporters of this event, past events and the extended OA family. THANK YOU!!!!! There are MANY children out there who have positive and happy futures because of you! I have seen it firsthand and will continue to swim, bike and run until the kids get to go to school! Thank you!