Since 2004, the Leadership Committee for Africa has been working to educate the Culver Academies community and beyond about the AIDS crisis in Africa and financially support programs assisting African women and children, co-chairs Hannah Buggeln ’14 (Valparaiso, Ind.) and Caroline Pepper ’14 (Grand Haven, Mich.) said.
Operated by 50 Culver Girls Academy students, LCA is divided into four major sub-committees: Fund raising, Research and Education, Communications, and Work Projects. While each committee focuses on separate goals and initiatives, every branch collaborates to pursue LCA’s overarching goal of eliminating AIDS and poverty in Africa.
LCA initially started supporting Christel House South Africa and the Amani Children’s Foundation. Over the years, the group and individual members have raised money through special projects benefiting other organizations as well, Pepper said.
She added that $2,960 has already been raised this year. Since its inception, LCA has raised over $35,000 for the two organizations and special projects. From the Amani Foundation’s beads program to manning concession stands to selling hair bows during International AIDS Awareness Week, the girls are busy throughout the school year, every year.
Buggeln said LCA has added a Kenyan Market, which sells “random knick-knacks” made by women. The market is similar to a fair trade store. It comes through Amani, as do the beads LCA uses to make the bracelets sold throughout the year, and especially during Parents and Alumni Reunion weekends.
The organization’s fund-raising committee is always on the hunt for ideas, Buggeln added. Coming up next semester is the return of the “Nets for Nets” campaign, which will be run by the Research and Education Committee chairs Grace Kim ’15 (Seoul, South Korea) and Zixuan Gao ’14 (Bloomington, Ind.). Teams that use a net in their sports will raise funds to purchase mosquito nets. At just $10 per net, it has proven to be the most effective way to prevent the spread of malaria, Buggeln said.
The work LCA does is significant, both financially and in raising awareness. The Amani Foundation’s work in helping the New Life Homes care for children of parents who have died from AIDS and HIV-positive babies. It is estimated that $1,000 will care for one child for one year. After this school year, LCA will have contributed over $25,000 to Amani and New Life Homes – enough to care for 25 children. And it has been able to accomplish this through its awareness campaigns. “People are so generous when they hear about a good cause,” Buggeln said.
Another major beneficiary of LCA’s time and funding is Christel House South Africa. Christel House South Africa is part of a network of schools devoted to helping children around the world from low-income backgrounds break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. It is a regular stop on the Global Pathways Spring trip list. Team South Africa, which is mostly LCA members, will travel to the Christel House in Cape Town to teach leadership skills and other activities to the students. LCA has also contributed more than $7,500 to Christel House over the past 10 years.
Some of the special projects done over the years include Partners in Evangelism, Give a Cow to a Girl in Uganda, Free the Slaves, and the New Neville Prep School Trust. Each one of those was headed up by an individual and a total of $1,176 was raised.
An example of a special project is Erin Thomas ’15 (Wheatfield, Ind.), Yen Yen Lee ’17 (Seoul, South Korea), and Madeline Sorg ’15 (Middlebury, Ind.) working to raise funds for World Vision’s microfinancing program, which gives small loans to entrepreneurs – mostly women – in impoverished areas around the world. The program has 930,305 active borrowers and has created 1,229,082 jobs. The average loan is just $643.
Raising awareness is just as important. Along with its AIDS in Africa education program, LCA will be teaming with the Global Studies Institute and the Human Rights Council to present Girl Rising, a documentary about the impact educating girls can have on local societies and economies. Buggeln, Thomas, and Caitlin Schwartz ’14 (Knox, Ind.) have worked to bring the film to campus. It will be presented either Thursday, Jan. 16, or Friday, Jan. 17, Buggeln said.