Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crocs donated to refugees in Africa - Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Raleigh, NC - Think Humanity

The children of Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina had a variety show in November to raise money to provide Crocs to children in a refugee camp in Uganda. They also donated Crocs at the event. In total there were 342 pairs of shoes donated to children in Africa.
In January, Think Humanity hand delivered hundreds of these shoes to the village of Nyamiganda in the Kyangwali Refugee Camp on the border of Uganda and the DRC.
The children all lined up and we had the parents stand back. Then the children sat down with their legs in front of them. We opened up the duffle bags that we had carried on a bike for 1 1/2 hour on a dusty red dirt road in the 80-90 degree heat.

(In the photo to the left is Janvier, one of the orphans at the Coburwas Learning Centre located in Mukarange Village)

We brought a bullhorn and announced that we had shoes for the children. It wasn't long before many children started to arrive, most without shoes, many without clothing from the waist down.

The Think Humanity managers, Amani Jean-Paul and Nsabimana Emmanuel spoke to the crowd of parents and community. Beth and Jim Heckel, Charity Watson and Joe Bergholz (all from Colorado) spoke to the crowd and it was translated into Kinyabwisha because these refugees are from the North Kivu area of the Congo. We always try to encourage these refugees, give them hope and let them know that people outside of Kyangwali care about them. A pastor lead in prayer and we unzipped the bags and began. We had several volunteers that helped us fit shoes on the children. Thank you Pascal, Joseph, William and Ericson. The children were very patient. If the shoes didn't fit then we would try them on another child.

Most of the children received shoes, however not all of them because the crowd continued to grow and grow as the word got out that visitors had shoes for children. In the video you will see the many children lined up. Many of these children have never seen white people (they call them Muzungu) before so you will see one child run and cry when he sees me with the camera. Additional children in Mukarange, Kasonga and Kagoma villages received shoes too.

We told them that we would be back. Sycamore Creek sent five additional boxes to our P.O. Box in Hoima, but they had not arrived yet.
When the other shoes arrive they will be distributed to those that did not receive and also to other villages within the camp.

Thank you Sycamore Creek Elementary School children for your love and care for refugees in Africa. I will be sending your school mascot,Kirby back soon. He is anxious to get back to North Carolina. He traveled to Denver, to Washington D.C., to Belgium, to Rwanda and to Uganda. On the way back he visited Ethiopia, Germany and then back to Denver. He has been resting for a couple weeks now and misses his school friends.

The children loved Kirby and everybody wanted to hold him! They also loved the shoes so much.
Beth Heckel, President
Think Humanity

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