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by Caitlyn Black

Last November, I flew to Johannesburg to spend some time visiting relatives and do some travelling before I begin a new job in Melbourne, in February this year. When I decided to go over to SA in about May 2011 my initial plan was to work for my Aunt's business as I would be based at her home in the South of Johannesburg. By the time I actually booked my flights, it was close to the end of August and I then began thinking about the fact that I did not actually need to work and would rather spend my time volunteering. I decided immediately that I would visit Nkosi's Haven, a home for destitute HIV/AIDS infected mothers, their children, and resulting AIDS orphans (infected or not). At the end of September, I then decided to do some fundraising; my initial goal being $500.

Within a few weeks, I had collated over 90 recipes from family and friends, secured $1400 in local business sponsorship and had the commitment of a graphic design student to assist in putting together the “Food for Thought” recipe book. After two successful print batches, just over $4000 was raised and we were able to purchase for Nkosi's Haven, an industrial sized tumble dryer; an item that Gail Johnson (founding director) had requested.

What amazes me the most about the project and its initial success, is the fact that a very large portion of the support that I received was from Australians, born and raised in Victoria or bordering states. I was completely overwhelmed by the generous support of a project which was aimed at raising funds for a non-Australian organisation.

Gail was extremely impressed with the recipe book and due to its quality and potential as an already existing fundraising tool, has expressed her desire to have another batch printed and taken over to Johannesburg. The Qantas Cabin Crew Team (a charity division made up of Qantas Cabin Crew members) has gratefully agreed to assist in the transportation of the printed books to Johannesburg. I believe however that this should only be done if the printing can be sponsored; therefore allowing all profits to go directly to Nkosi's Haven.

I would like to have a minimum of 200 books printed, a cost of approximately $2500. I believe, and I am sure you would all agree with me, that this is a very small cost in comparison to the potential return of $5,000 (R40,000) when selling at $25.00 (R200) a book. This amount would make a significant difference to Nkosi's Haven, its residents, the volunteers and full time employees. One specific item which they are in great need of is an industrial food processor; an approximate cost of $2,500 (R20,000).

If you are in a position to assist in the sponsorship of the project or simply make a small donation, I ask you please to act quickly by contacting me at caitlyn.black@hotmail.com. Gail Johnson and the team at Nkosi's Haven are dedicated to ensuring that the “residents learn how to live with AIDS, not die from it; develop and become self-confident, mature and responsible members of their community”. I have no doubt that the majority of you, if not all, are well aware of the severity of the issue of AIDS in Africa and this is one way that you as an individual can make a difference, not just now, but well into the future.

For more information on Nkosi's Haven, visit http://www.nkosishaven.org/. Once again, please contact me at Caitlyn.Black@hotmail.com if you have any questions about the project or would like to help.

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Posted by Caitlyn Black
29 Jan 2012

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