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In this small African country, kids would never leave weet-bix in their bowl.

Sarah Megginson

By SARAH MEGGINSON

As with most families, breakfast time is chaotic in our household. It takes at least an hour to get the kids dressed, fed and presentable, and washing the remnants of soggy weetbix and mashed banana down the drain is a common casualty of a busy morning.

But recently, this mundane task has taken on new meaning. It makes me feel sad. Because I’m not just cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I am literally pouring good food down the sink.

In Burundi, the kids would devour this, I thought when rinsing the bowls out this morning.

Burundi is a small African country I recently learned about; it’s wedged between Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where its residents struggle to survive.

Burundi is:

  • Home to almost 9 million people.
  • Around 80% of its population lives in poverty.
  • According to the World Food Programme, over 56% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • The Global Hunger Index ranks it as the hungriest country in the world!

I’d never even heard of Burundi until some random web-browsing lead me to an orphanage in Kirundo, Northern Burundi. I was searching for a needy cause and stumbled across Koriciza.

Every month, my friends and I hold a fun morning tea to catch up, give the kids a chance to play and to raise money for someone who really needs it. I started it in January this year, because I was disheartened: we constantly hear tragic stories, yet I often feel powerless to do anything about it.

But morning tea? Morning tea I can do! And so we started Feel Good Friday.

One of the Feel Good Friday morning teas. (Credit Matt Robertson.)

So far we’ve raised over $5,000, including funds for a terminally ill mum, Corrina; a sick baby, Alliyah, who needed a specially-adapted pram; people in need of support via Janelle’s Miracle Foundation; and most recently, we bought 16 swags for a homeless shelter via Rosies on the Gold Coast.

And in July we are fundraising for Koriciza, which means “do the good” in Kirundi. Which is why I’m reaching out to you…

Their situation is so desperate that, despite the hard work and dedication of those involved, the orphanage struggles to meet even the basic needs of the children. They rely purely on donations and the children can go days without eating. These kids are genuinely at risk of starvation.

I reached out to Leigh, who administers the orphanage’s website from the UK. She lived in Burundi briefly in 2003 where she became friends with Felix, a local teacher.

“Felix and I stayed in touch and in 2009, he told me about the dire situation at Koriciza, which is run by the pastor of the church he attends. He asked me to help in any way I could and I set up the website,” Leigh explains.

“It really is a very small operation, basically just me in the UK and Felix in Burundi. There are no admin costs at all, as both Felix and I do what we do as volunteers, and I pay for the web-hosting myself. I’ve been really amazed at how people from all over the world have stumbled upon the website. We probably manage to send in the region of £1000 a year, which is not a huge amount, but it makes a difference.”

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Some of the kids from Koriciza. (Credit Matt Robertson.)

The orphanage usually cares for 40 kids and young adults, aged between six and 20, but recently a drought has hit the region hard. Prices have increased and the orphanage has doubled in size to 80.

It’s a seriously grim situation. But, we also have an opportunity to make a seriously positive impact! I once read about Nicholas Winton, who led a team that saved 669 endangered children from almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis.

“There is a difference between passive goodness and active goodness,” he said, “which is, in my opinion, the giving of one’s time and energy in the alleviation of pain and suffering.”

We can, right now, have an immediate impact on alleviating the pain and suffering of those who genuinely need it.

If you live on the Gold Coast, we’d love you to come to our next morning tea! (Details here). If not, ANY donation you can afford will make a significant impact.

If you donate:

$1.50 – that will buy a kilo of beans.

$3 will buy beans and a kilo of rice.

$4.50 buys a blanket.

$6 buys a school uniform.

$25 feeds 40 children for one day.

Can you imagine: if everyone reading this article donated just $1, we could keep the orphanage stocked with food, blankets and clothing for months!

When I told Felix we were aiming to raise $500, he was beyond grateful. “I can’t thank you enough,” he said. “I do hope the children will get once more another smile from the kind-hearted people like you.”

You can donate to the orphanage directly via Paypal or via bank deposit to:

Sarah Megginson

BSB: 084917

AC: 562445095

Ref: Koriciza

Donations via Paypal attract a 3.4% fee + 0.35c for each transaction, so it would be more effective (especially if your donation is a smaller amount) to donate to the main pool via Sarah. All donations will be transferred to Burundi by Western Union as a lump sum the w/c Monday August 4 (the larger the sum, the cheaper the fees).

Full transparency and records of all donations will be made public via the Feel Good Friday FB page. Feel free to contact me via email ([email protected]) for more information.

Remember: ANY DONATION, no matter how small, will make a difference. Thank you for your support!

Sarah Megginson is a freelance writer, editor, wife, author and mum. She recently released her first book through Mamamia Publishing: ‘How to make money by working from home’, to help others create a profitable and flexible career and lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter @sarahmegginson.

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