To commemorate Michael's birthday on August 29th, fans from all around the world are making a donation to a charity in honour of Michael. Fans nominate their favourite charities and of these, three finalists will be chosen. Everyone then takes a vote and donate to the charity with the most votes. Click on Previous Posts on the right to see what we have done in past years.

18 August 2012

About our chosen charity and how to donate

Cuore d’Africa (Heart of Africa) is a small nonprofit organisation based in Pomezia, Italy. They support poor children in two towns in Kenya.

In the town of Machakos, they are constructing the Village of Hope, which will house two hostels, a canteen, an office and a plot of land for cultivation.

The first hostel was completed in 2011 and is now home to 26 children. The children who live here are either orphans or abused by adults in their families. At the Village of Hope Children’s Home, they given an education, clothes, school supplies and medical care. More than that, they now have a safe haven and hope for a future.

The inside of the hostel

The village also provides employment to the local community - a matron for the children, and a guard for the village. They are now in the process of building the second hostel.

Some of the children sponsored by Cuore d’Africa

Cuore d’Africa also sponsors the education of 106 children. In Kenya, all education is private (there is no free education provided by the government). Many children do not go to school simply because they cannot afford it. The children attend different schools. Some go to school daily from their villages and some stay in a boarding school. Cuore pays for their school fees and buys new stationery and clothes for them every year.

The cost of supporting a child in primary school is €300 ($US370) per year, and for a child in high school, €500 (US$620) per year. €25-40 (US$30-50) - what we normally spend in a day (or a minute!) - is enough to feed, clothe and educate a child in Kenya for a whole month.

Some of the day-school children sponsored by Cuore

At the second site, in the village of Makueni, the owner of an Italian textile factory established the Calosci Sewing School, a vocational school that teaches girls how to cut and sew. Up to fifty students take up a sewing course there for two years, which equips them with a skill to support themselves for life.

The Calosci sewing school in Makueni, Kenya

Cuore d’Africa pays the tuition fees for ten girls each year, at €340 / US$420 per child per year. When the girls complete their course, Cuore d’Africa provides them with a manual sewing machine (electricity is still scarce in Kenya) and pays the first few months’ rent to help them get them started in their enterprise, so that they can be self-sufficient for life.

The sewing school students in their class

Everyone who works at Cuore is a volunteer. Morena from the charity explains:

“We are a very small organization and everyone who can gives his own contribution for free; this is why the entire amount sponsors pay go completely to the sponsored children. When we organize charity dinners, we don't have any expenses. If people pay €25 to take part in the event, then the entire amount is sent to our bank account. This is possible because our secretary is the owner of the restaurant where we serve the dinner. All the personnel is part of the board or member of Cuore d’Africa, so everyone works for free.

Also other services are given for free—the business consultant, the photographer, the journalist, the web designer and maintainer and so on. When we organize other events, such as theatrical shows, we ask shopkeepers in our town to give us a contribution in order to pay for all the expenses, so we can use all the money coming from tickets for our projects. We are all volunteers and this is our strongest power—minimum expenses and maximum proceeds! It seems it works!”

See more pics at Cuore d’Africa’s Facebook page.

Read more about the children who live there.

Cuore d’Africa is a registered non-profit organisation. You can look them up at the Italian government’s Revenue Agency. Click on “Cerca per codice fiscale” (Search by tax code) and enter their tax ID number: 97522400585. You will find this:

Here is their financial statement from 2011 (PDF). As you can see, they are a very small charity. Their average operating cost is only €50,000 (US$62,000) per year, so whatever we can give would certainly make a difference for them. And remember, 100% of your donation goes to the children.

How to donate

You can donate from any page at Cuore d’Africa, or you can go to the page that they have set up specially for us: MJ Birthday Charity for Cuore d’Africa. (Thank you for the lovely page, Morena!) Click on a flag at top right if you need a translation.

Click on this picture on any of the pages...

and it will take you to the donation page. (Click to enlarge.)

1. In the space for “Purpose”, type “MJ”. To the right, enter the amount you want to donate (in Euros) and click the yellow button to update.

If you don’t have a Paypal account and want to pay by credit card, go to Number 2 and select your country from the list. The rest of the instructions will change to the language used in your country.

If you have a Paypal account, go to Number 3, sign in and proceed from there.

When you are done, you will come to this confirmation page:

The receipt is sent to your email address.

Fans in Italy can also use the postal current account (922330555) or bank transfer (Iban: IT68N0760103200000092233055).

At the end of the donation period, the charity will send a card to Michael’s mother and children to inform them of the donation that we have sent in his memory. Michael may no longer be here, but we can carry on his work in his honour. You have until August 29, 2012 to donate.

And... a gift for you!

Anyone who donates €50 or above will be entered into a raffle to win this MJ T-shirt from Blingtastic, so start donating! :)

I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

They follow each other
On the wind ya know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change!

Join us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.


Martha Ames said...

Great job designing the charity page, Morena!

Mimi O'Garren said...

As part of the MJL-Everland project in Liberia, I find your photos and story of the Village of Hope so inspiring and beautiful <3
Thank you for all you do in Michael's memory!

Morena said...

Dear Mimi, Michael has always inspired me all my life long and everything I do for people in need is in his memory and it is a way to apply everything I've learned from him.
When I feel discomforted because things seem to go the wrong way, I just think "THERE'S NOTHING THAT CAN'T BE DONE IF WE RAISE OUR VOICE AS ONE!"
Your words are very precious to me...I've never thought I could ever be a sort of inspiration for anyone!!!
This means Michael's spirit is always alive in each one of us...until we keep on loving him!!!!

Pbaker said...

What a beautiful and giving project. I will be donating to such a worthy cause. Helping children, Michael must be so proud of his fans. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him or miss him. We are "making that change".
L.O.V.E. and Peace :)

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