The Impact of Travelers’ Generosity
A report on recent activities of Generosity in Action, a designated fund at PVF
The following is a guest post by Duncan Beardsley, PVF Board Chair and Director of Generosity in Action
A center for homeless children
Have you ever been traveling and come upon a school or village with a need that caused you to want to help? Craig Sherod, a photographer from Mountain View, did just that in Benin, in West Africa, when he came upon a residential property that was being used to house a number of homeless children. The problem was that the children were about to be evicted because the owner wanted to sell the property. Wishing to help, Craig set out to raise $28,000 to buy the property and give it to APEF, a local NGO in Benin, to establish an official home for the children.
Craig needed a financial process that would allow donors to make qualified charitable donations, but APEF is not registered in the U.S. This is where Generosity in Action came into play.
We agreed to promote the project on our website and to collect donations via our Designated Fund at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. As he set about to raise the funds, Craig worked closely with Martine de Souza, director of APEF, who worked with the children. We were very excited to help support his efforts.
Craig said that this project stood between the horror of children living in alleys, perpetrating petty crimes, and the joy of a new life in a supportive environment, going to school and becoming productive members of their society. Martine told Craig that when she first noticed children living in these conditions she viewed this as a “cancer” on her community, and she wanted to help.
In just over a year, Craig raised $38,000 to purchase the property and create the Homeless Children’s Center of Ouidah. He personally negotiated the property purchase and delivered the funds to the bank in Benin. More importantly, the boys and girls now have a home for the future.
A school for a small rural community
A few travelers to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe have had the opportunity to visit the small and very remote village of Intabayengwe. The communities in this area were relocated from fertile land to unfertile ground, where the only option for them was cattle raising and subsistence farming. Thanks to the efforts of a single safari guide, Benson Siyawareva, the children in the area now have a school: the Lesedi Primary School, a very small minimalist structure in this remote area.
The school wouldn’t be there but for the generosity of many travelers. A London-based safari operator initially took her clients to the village, and Benson explained the need for a school. Recently, a group from Road Scholar (previously known as Elderhostel) visited the school, and their generosity alone raised over $30,000 for the school.
We are pleased that Generosity in Action can be the conduit for U.S. travelers to make tax deductible donations that support the children and the school. It is very exciting to be able to facilitate the advancement of the education of the children in the area.
PVF is proud to have been a catalyst and able to provide the mechanism that allowed Generosity in Action to give a helping hand to these children in Africa, as well as other unique programs throughout the world.