West Chester University’s Honors College held their fourth annual Community Fair to benefit Aid to South Africa on Saturday April 4, 2009 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Hollinger Field House.The fair attempted to raise money for the millions of people who are in need of help fighting AIDS in South Africa.
The entertainment ranged from carnival games, magicians, music, and food .
Some of the live music and entertainment was provided by Nelson Illusions, Matt Chylak, The Blue Peasants, Color on Canvas, Lizanne Knott and Justin Arthur.
The event also benefited two South African agencies that help people with HIV and AIDS everyday, the first of which is H.E.L.P. Ministries Soup Kitchen.
This agency was founded in Dec. 1994 as a welfare trust by Reverend Cecil Begbie. Now, Begbie and his team prepare 6,000 bowls of soup daily in his own garage and deliver them five days a week to 1,000 unemployed adults and eight primary schools in the areas affected with HIV.
The second is Sparrow Village. This is a village that was founded in February 1992. The agency adopts HIV positive children, many of whom are orphans, and gives them a life that they could have never had otherwise. There are 238 children and 94 adults currently being served there.
The event was sponsored on two levels: Diamond and Silver. Diamond sponsors donated $1000 or more. They were West Goshen Rotary Club, Nelson Illusions, and MoonBounceAdventures.com.
The Silver sponsors donated $250. Those sponsors were: AFSCME, and WCU Graphics and Printing Department.
Since 1998, there have been three teams established by the Honors College Director Dr. Kevin Dean. They are made up of members from the WCU family including students, faculty, and staff.
These three teams travel to
South Africa to participate in community-needs assessment projects which have impacted countless numbers of lives all around the world.
Dean, who has traveled to South Africa himself, has made his travels part of his life and says that he will never forget what he saw and the people that he helped while he was there.
“The eye-opening, heartbreaking, and inspiring moments that each child felt in South Africa contributed to the drive behind the Aid to South Africa event,” Dean said.
The project has been underway since 1998 when the first group of teams from West Chester University traveled to South Africa and provided aid to the millions of people who are part of the ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS.
Now, 11 years later, Dean and his teams are still making yearly trips to South Africa and plan to continue doing so for many years to come.
According to officials, South Africa has the highest infection rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. Nearly 1,000 of its citizens die every day because the average life expectancy of someone with AIDS is 44 years. Furthermore, 61 percent of the 18 million children that live there, live in poverty, many of whom go entire days without any food.
Jenna Shepanski is a fourth-year student majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. She can be reached at JS618186@wcupa.edu.