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Ennis Daily News

Kiwanis learn of HIV/AIDS in Africa

42 percent of Swaziland residents have the disease
Everyone from sensitive women to sturdy, tough men of the Kiwanis Club were brought to tears as they viewed a moving video presentation of photographs from speaker Dennis Little’s trip to save the residents of Swaziland, Africa. Little said he went to try and make a difference.
Little told the group that Swaziland is a very small country located on the northeastern boundary of South Africa and Mozambique. It has a population of 1.1 million and is mostly known to be a rural country, with only two major cities of about 60,000 people each, according to Little. Little also said approximately 42 percent of the country has HIV/AIDS.
Little spent almost three months in Swaziland in an effort to relieve some of the most pressing needs and since returning, has attempted to get the word out to enough people to determine how to set in place a volunteer program that would support sustainable projects and provide assistance to the church staff and community in Swaziland.
“The need there is overwhelming,” said Little. “I wanted to make a difference for the orphans and children of Swaziland. When I speak before groups I tell them I don’t have an agenda, just a goal. That is to make a difference.”
The average life expectancy in Swaziland is about 34 years, Little said, which leads the young ones of the country to learn to cook and sew at an early age because it is they who are forced to raise the children.
Little’s video included photographs of hurricane damage and its effects, Little working to build homes and stoves that help to make the citizens lives easier, children who can’t afford a $10 mat for sleeping on the floor, the school pantry with food stored on the floor and latrines consisting of a hole in the ground surrounded by a rickety shelter.
Since returning from Swaziland, Little has started the “Gifts of Light, Gifts of Hope,” fund-raising program. This program, which raised $35,000 last year, uses volunteers to build lighted glass boxes. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, Little, his wife and other volunteers were able to build 500 gift boxes for sale.
From the money raised, Little reported Swaziland would be able to build a minimum of three Carepoints, or day cares, and complete a number of other projects that were identified as critical to the welfare of the children who have been left orphaned or vulnerable.
Little kept a video diary of his experience in Swaziland. It can be viewed at deninafrica.blogspot.com.
To become a part of the “Gifts of Light, Gifts of Hope” program or to help with the Swaziland cause, contact Little at dennislittle@valornet.com, 214-906-4992 or 903-389-4888.
The Ennis Kiwanis Club made a $1,000 donation to the Swaziland fund.
The Ennis Kiwanis Club meets every Thursday at noon at the Odd Fellow and Rebekah Retirement Center.

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Posted by on Jan 30 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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