Every two years since 2008, Rwanda Project USVI has taken 10 to 11 high school students from the Virgin Islands to the tiny African nation of Rwanda where they have learned untold lessons about divisiveness and solidarity, poverty and joy, ignorance and education, sorrow and brother-and-sisterhood, abandonment and redemption, war and peace, depression and love. They have witnessed firsthand the historic ravages of bigotry and political manipulation while also experiencing the miracles that love and leadership have wrought in Rwanda over the last 17 years, since genocide scarred this strikingly beautiful land of a thousand hills.
I have been proud to be one of the three founders of Rwanda Project USVI, whose mission is to complete meaningful community service projects while fostering ongoing relationships between the Rwandan young people, organizations and government and the young people, organizations and government of the U.S. Virgin Islands that will result in an exchange of ideas and projects that will raise the consciousness of all concerned.
In prior years, as a summer enrichment program, we were blessed by substantial contributions from the Virgin Islands Lottery. Sadly, politics and vindictiveness in our community has made our board decide not to request support from the Lottery this year, through no fault of the Lottery.
That said, we are selling raffle tickets to raise $30,000 to go toward the Rwanda 2012 trip. All of the money raised goes directly to our young people and the projects they will be working on, along with our fundraising efforts.
Adult chaperones on this trip pay their own way.
Tickets are $20 each, and $200 for a book of 10 (which we hope you will find a way to purchase.) The first prize is that you get to go with us on Trip 2012 or give your prize to a deserving youngster so they can make the trip if you don’t want to go – but you should! Either way, it is a fantastic opportunity!
As you all know, the value of hands-on experiences like those provided for our young people through this 501(c) 3 charitable organization are priceless and irreplaceable. Most of our 2012 candidates are from Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean High Schools. These are not students who are economically advantaged enough to pay fully for this trip. So, with that knowledge in mind we ask that you dig as deep as you can to either purchase a raffle ticket, or book of raffles tickets or to make a tax-deductible contribution.
It costs approximately $5,000 per person, not including food or tours, to make this trip.
This year we are taking one of the young men with My Brother’s Workshop, a non-profit organization that works with 16- to 24 -year-old disadvantaged young men. There is no doubt this trip will change his life and the lives of all the people he encounters. The cost of his trip is being partially if not fully funded by Rotary Sunrise and other Rotary clubs.
If you are interested in contributing to this life-changing program, and maybe even making the trip with us, please email or call me. There are several ways you can pay for your tickets or make your tax exempt donation. Or you can send your check with instructions as to whether you want tickers or if are making a donation. Tickets are not tax deductible.
The drawing will be held on April 20, 2012. The trip will take place in July 2012 for about three weeks.
Make checks payable to Rwanda Project USVI, Inc. and mail to P.O. Box 505 St. Thomas, VI 00804. We are a 501(c) 3 charitable organization. Thank you in advance for your support of the Rwanda Project USVI, Inc.
Shaun A. Pennington, co-founder
p.s. if you are interested in making the trip, we have a few chaperone slots left. Please call for details!