By Vanja Pejic
After weeks of planning, organizing the venue, getting the DJ, collecting donations, and marketing the event, it was finally time to make the dream come true and raise money for the Linawo Children’s Home.
About a month ago, I had an opportunity to spend a day with the children from Linawo Children’s Home in Cape Town, South Africa. An orphanage with 16 children, ages 5 month to 13 years old that was forced to move out of their existing home due to funding. Because of this circumstance, their only choice was to move into a one room dilapidated house with no indoor plumbing, ceiling that is ready to collapse, lack of electricity, clean water, bed space but most importantly little space for children to be children. However, no matter how bad things got, these 16 children were the most joyful, loving, caring group I have ever met. Soon after meeting them, I knew that I had to help them in any way I could. After speaking with the Linawo Children’s Home director, she informed me that while they did find a new home for the children to move into, Linawo did not have enough funding to buy the home. News, of this broke my heart, but more importantly it triggered me to do something to help these 16 beautiful children in any way I knew how.
After going home that day, my roommates and I decided that we wanted to play a part in buying a new home for the Linawo Children. After a couple meetings with various venues and donors, “Groove to Move” came to life; a fundraiser at a local bar/restaurant in Cape Town that would collect money through entrance ticket, raffle and local donations. Goal of “Groove to Move” was to raise as much money as we can by encouraging both Study Abroad students as well as University of Cape Town students to attend our event.
Finally, after all the planning the night was an absolute success! Music, food and atmosphere all came into place! We not only had Study Abroad students attend, but other University of Cape Town students as well as local Cape Tonians. While our main goal was to raise as much money as we can for the Linawo children, it was just as exciting to see over 200 people from different backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles came together for this one night. Furthermore, not only were we able to raise money, but raise awareness for homes like Linawo that are struggling to stay open and have little means of supporting over 2 million children that are orphaned in South Africa.
Our $1000, or some R10, 000 will not buy the Linawo children a new home, however it will play a small role in helping them get one step closer to having clean water, indoor plumbing, individual beds and a place to call home. More importantly it gave us, Study Abroad students from all across the world as well as local students an opportunity to come together for one night and together make a difference. This experience will forever be one of my proudest moments and I cannot wait until the day when the children move into their new home!
**News update, while it has been months since our event was organized, a new group of study abroad students has come together to raise money for Linawo Children Home. The tradition continues! : )