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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Fasting for AIDS Orphans

Photo courtesy of Black Student Center
Photo courtesy of Black Student Center

The Fasting for AIDS Orphans Campaign began in earnest from The Black Student Center’s “One Night, One World” semi-formal held last semester. Professor Tony Van Der Meer introduced the students of UMASS within his classes and the Black Student Center to a fundraising campaign by the Boston Pan-African Forum The proceeds went to adopting four AIDS orphanages in Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. The fundraising culminated in over $1,000 raised.

That may seem like a good number, but we realized the problem couldn’t be resolved that easily. We need continuity; we have to establish ongoing programs and campaigns to combat the HIV/AIDS holocaust. This led to the development of the “Fasting for AIDS Orphans” project. Our strategies developed into a dynamic three-part fundraising campaign:

I. Fasting for AIDS Orphans Proxy Fast

– Starting on 2/12, ending 5/3

Certain parties will be working on the project fast on these days until 4:00 p.m. Community members contribute the cost of one meal to the campaign on any day, Monday through Thursday. In this way, they are fasting in proxy if not in practice in support of the children made orphans by the HIV/AIDS crisis.

II. Pennies Do Add Up

– Starting on 2/12, ending 5/3

Proof that every cent can count, community members are asked to contribute any loose change they may acquire throughout the day. If people have change jars they are encouraged to donate them to this campaign as any and every donation is welcomed and appreciated both by those working on the project and those most in need of the donations. It’s not a rumor, pennies do add up.

III. Outside Resource Contribution

– Starting 2/12 – Ongoing

The goal of this facet of the campaign is to build a bridge between the Black Student Center, various outside parties from grassroots organizations to multinational corporations, and the HIV/AIDS orphans them. We will be creating a link through which much needed aid can flow in, and information can flow out about the communities devastated by HIV/AIDS. Organizations would be asked to contribute any resources (monetary, logistical support, project development, community development, and so forth) that can be used for the improvement of the lives of the HIV/AIDS orphans.

The first two aspects of the campaign can be more easily recognized in connection with three words: empty water bottles. These bottles have been used to collect over $4000. The third aspect of the campaign is meant to specifically target the non-profit and business communities beginning in the local area and branching out nationwide. In this way we hope to build a broad-based network that can effectively focus the energies of concerned parties against the onslaught of HIV/AIDS.

Thank you to the UMASS Boston community for its generosity and compassion. An especially large thanks to the students that volunteered during the program, the Black Student Center, Haitian American Society, Casa Latina, African Hut Club, Queer Student Union, Student Veteran’s Union, Women’s Center and the Asian Center. We are grateful for the support of Student Life for accepting our deposits just minutes before closing. The Wit’s End staff should get special recognition for being more than just a student-run café: they have supported us, volunteered, and graciously exchanged the many coins which we would heave had to roll for cash. Without you all, this wouldn’t have been a success.

Vladimir David, Gulet Shirdon, Hatim Jean-Louis, Riche Zamor are members of the Black Student Center.