share the love appeal

Thankyou for Sharing The Love.

Wow - time has certainly flown, and we are now at the end of the Share The Love Appeal.  I am so pleased to announce that That Vintage has just processed the donation to World Vision Australia Child Rescue Cause for an amazing $180.00!

So thankyou to all of you who took a moment out to read Nell's story, share the love and support this cause.
I am hoping to do this again in sometime in the near future and I encourage you all to do something proactive with your craft, business and heart.

Much love,
Sophie x

Nell's Story - Africa, March 2010

"Broken. This simple word explains me perfectly. I remember sitting by my window, suitcase packed, waiting for my lift to the airport with huge expectations of the journey ahead of me. Hopelessness. Desperation. Human Trafficking. Sex slavery. Poverty. Malnutrition. Injustice. Inhumane cultural practices. Abuse of women’s rights. Child labour. Starvation.

I knew that as a volunteer worker in the disadvantaged communities of
Africa, what was waiting for me on the other side of the world was horrendous. I also knew that people back home needed to know –that is why I am writing this.

My days were spent travelling to and from rural villages throughout
Ghana and Kenya - teaching at schools, assisting in local child trafficking projects and youth feeding programs, as well as working alongside precious girls who had been rescued from the horrific and inhumane cultural Trokosi practice. This was my first glance at rural Africa – untouched by the western world.

Bare feet. Tattered and torn clothes for the lucky ones –bare skin for the majority. Enormous swollen tummies with untreated, protruding hernias pushing out of their hungry stomachs. Eyes that were for some reason always covered with flies and stained yellow from severe malnutrition. Little faces covered in dry, cracked mucus that poured persistently from their noses. Smiles so big that you would almost believe that they were the happiest children on the earth.

Each child has their own story, bursting with affliction and unimaginable atrocities. The day rescue comes is the day life begins. This is the story of 11 year-old Akhaan.

The first time I saw her, I was standing in the doorway of a 15x5m tin shed that was housing over 350 famished children, looking out over one of the largest slums in
Africa. With a baby strapped precariously to her back in nothing but a thin strip of material, I watched her slide unsteadily through the mass of mud towards the children’s refuge where the feeding program was being prepared.

It’s hard not to fall in love with every child you cross paths with in
Africa, but there are some whose stories just move you in a way that words can’t explain. Akhaan was one of those children.

Essentially an orphan, Akhaan had lost her mother to AIDS and her father had skipped town before she had even breathed her first breath. Her grandmother is alive, but gravely ill and unable to care for them. At ten years of age, Akhaan took on the sole responsibility for looking after her tiny malnutritioned brother.

Depending on where she is able to find shelter each night, she carries him for miles on her back to ensure he has food to eat, but often – it simply isn’t far enough.

I spent three days working with Akhaan – each day she walked for miles in the same clothes. Her complete impoverishment meant that nappies were a luxury far beyond her reach. On the third day, I held little her tiny brother especially tight because I knew that those would be the last moments I could spend with him. The combined smell of urine and diarrhoea was so strong on him that it was almost unbearable. I didn’t even have a piece of cloth with me to clean him and wrap around him.

Akhaan finds it hard looking after her baby brother sometimes. She told me that she often goes many nights without sleep, because he screams throughout the night due to the pain he is in from lack of food. Akhaan is in constant pain also, but if food is within her reach – her brother always comes first.

Akhaan wants to be a pilot. She told me that she wants to fly as high in the sky as she can. When I asked her why, she replied, “Because I need mother, and she is waiting for us there”.

Our time spent working with the children who had been rescued from the horrendous industry of trafficking was largely spent trying as much as we could to show them that we cared. We made them laugh and we told them that they mattered. We promised them we would never forget them. But deep down, I knew that just didn’t cut it. It wasn’t enough.

It didn’t put food in their swollen bellies, so that they didn’t cry themselves to sleep that night because the pain from starving was so great. It didn’t clean and disinfect their wounds. It didn’t provide a change of clothes, so that the infants didn’t spend days wrapped in their own diarrhoea.

It didn’t provide a reliable source of clean drinking water, so that children didn’t have to walk miles carrying water three times their total body weight on their heads. It didn’t provide them with an education, so that they had a fighting chance of surviving in this cruel world. It didn’t leave anything visible. Words fall short – I just knew it wasn’t enough. I knew that the people in my world could be doing so much more.

Friends, this is the stuff you see on movies. It’s the stuff you see on world vision ads and graphic third-world news reports. But I was right there amidst it all and I realised: This is real and this is heartbreaking. It’s right in front of me, and it’s worse than I could have ever possibly imagined.

I once heard a wise man say that the best religion – the truest and the purest religion, is to go and to visit the orphans and the widows in their affliction.

To speak out on behalf of those who have no voice – the poor, the stolen, the weak, the starving, the sick, the lonely... the forgotten. To act justly and to love mercy.

I’ve never been interested in religion, but I fell in love with the idea that this one man conveyed – the idea of living for something bigger than us – the thought of never turning our back on the one in need.

So what can you do? If nothing else – you have a voice. It’s time to use it. The moment we choose to look away and remain inactive is the moment we become responsible. If you don’t do anything, if you don’t say anything – then who will? Life is but a breath – it’s time we all decided to do something with it."