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Hope for Africa hosts yard sale

Rachel Batten

Today students and members of the Oxford community will have the chance to shop for a good cause.

The Hope For Africa (HFA) organization is hosting a yard sale, with all proceeds going to benefit their sponsored children in Uganda.

The yard sale will be both Friday and Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 706 South Lamar.

All items for the yard sale have been donated by members of the HFA organization, various Greek organizations and members of the Oxford community.

Items that will be sold at the yard sale include clothes and furniture, along with other various items.

This organization started at the University of Mississippi in Spring 2007 by a small group of students and an Honors College professor who wanted to do something
to help the children of povertystricken Uganda.

Hope For Africa has grown significantly since its start two years ago and they have a lot in store for the future.

The members of HFA meet twice a month to plan different events that will raise money and awareness about what is going on with children and families in
Africa.

“I encourage anybody to get involved with us,” Steve Stringer, president of the organization, said. “I started doing things with Hope For Africa when I was a
freshman, and it became something I am very passionate about. I hope this organization lives on long after I graduate.”

Currently through Hope for Africa, the Friends in Need Integrated Development Project and individual donors, 12 students in Uganda are being sponsored and
provided the things they need.

Sigma Chi Fraternity is also involved and sponsors nine additional students.

Stringer explained how he spent the Summer 2009 in Uganda meeting each of these children.

“I was in Uganda for almost a month. We went to each home of the kids we sponsor, all of them are orphans. Our goal was to see what the needs of these kids were and to make relationships with them and their family members,” Stringer said.

“We worked in their schools by facilitating studies and setting up AIDS prevention
clubs.”

AIDS prevention clubs are a huge part of what the HFA team does with these children.

These clubs raise the children’s awareness of AIDS and teach them how to be safe and not spread the virus.

When a child is sponsored there is a list of things that must be provided to them, including a $70 bike.

“Even with a bike, these kids have to ride over an hour from their tribe to school every morning,”

Harper Ferguson, Hope for Africa project leader, said. “If they do not have a bike, it takes them at least three hours to get to school, which starts at 7 a.m. School usually lasts until 6 p.m., and the kids have to go that same far distance on the way back, so we try to make sure we provide every child we sponsor with a bike.”

The total cost for Hope for Africa to send a child to school is around $390 a year.

This provides them with uniforms and books, which they must have in order to attend. TOM’s shoes are also provided to the children in Uganda.

In addition to providing these children with their basic physical needs, Hope for Africa also sets up what they call a livestock project.

For this project a female and male goat are given to a family in need to provide them with a way to get food for themselves.

Hope for Africa started the livestock project with only three animals, and now have given away over 70 to families in need.

“From benefit concerts here to livestock projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, from raising awareness on campus to supporting the education of orphans in Uganda, we are committed to playing our part in the global fight against all that derives from extreme poverty,” the Hope for Africa Web site says.

“Being able to see students who have been able to graduate with a degree, because of the help they have received from Hope For Africa, makes me appreciate my education more,” Jennifer Wegmann, a second HFA project leader, said.

“It’s amazing to see the work ethic that comes out of these sponsored students.”

This semester the Hope for Africa team is planning to organize several different events for both the students on campus and members of the Oxford community.

These events include a social justice conference, selling T-shirts and TOMS shoes events.

“I started out with Hope For Africa just selling tee-shirts at the Union. It has now become something that is really important to me, and something I hope I can get more involved in as I go through college,” Crystal Gardener, Hope for Africa member said.

Hope For Africa members will continue to raise awareness of the needs children living in poverty throughout the years to come.

“Hope For Africa has opened my eyes to the needs of children in Uganda,” Ferguson said. “In our country where education is easily found, food is given daily
to those in need and our parents and guardians in reach, we tend to take these essentials for granted.

Hope For Africa offers students an outlet to serve and to become the change we wish to see in our world.”

The organization will be hosting more events throughout the semester including a benefit concert planned to take place in November.

All students are encouraged to become involved with this organization and attend the next meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6, in the Union, room 405.