World AIDS Orphans’ Day 2012

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by sandy on May 7, 2012

Today it is World AIDS orphans day. The day was established in 2002 by FBX International.

The story of FBX International is a touching one in itself.

Their website describes how, “FBX International carries the name François-Xavier Bagnoud who was helicopter pilot specialising in rescue operations. He dedicated his life to providing assistance to others and lost his life at the age of 24 during a helicopter-borne mission in Mali.

In 1989, his mother Albina du Boisrouvray, his family, and their friends founded the Association François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) in order to pursue, in the field of development, the values of generosity and compassion that guided his life.”

They, like KasCare’s knit-a-square and KasKids programs, are dedicated to supporting children made orphaned and vulnerable as a result of the twin perils HIV AIDS and poverty.

The goal of World AIDS orphans day is to raise awareness.

Today, writing for my book, the working title of which includes the word Clans, it seemed appropriate to have a little ‘what if’ dream.

On the basis that if you put it out there it can happen, here I share this excerpt from the book with you, in honour of the children we all seek to help.

“On a macro level, Facebook is a clan with over 500 million participants. On a micro level, each one of those members has their own clan. Face Book chooses to call us users. But what if they thought of us as members.

Just imagine if Face Book choose to involve its ‘members’ in just one small act each year to change the world.

How about awareness raising?

Let’s take just one of the least addressed and most challenging tragedies facing the world today; the ever escalating population of children orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa.

Richard Stearns, CEO of World Vision said: “….I believe that this could very well be looked on as the sin of our generation . . . and our children 40 or 50 years from now will ask ‘what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?’

What if Face Book ‘member’s were asked to share with their clans just this statement alone? Following which, they may then be presented with easy choices to help raise this massive worldwide community voice in protest that such a situation can exist in today’s world.

Just the question, ‘what did you do while 40 million children became orphans?’ from the Face Book ‘voice’ would garner huge media attention and escalate the plight of these children as a priority for attention from the government bodies capable of making a change.

What if every member had some easy means to donate just $1 for membership each year? What could a Face Book Foundation, who would have the status to invite the likes of Richard Branson onto it’s board, do with $50 million dollars each year to better the lot of these children who suffer so?”

Take these children into your heart and let’s see if we can move mountains for them today and every day.

You can make a difference today one square at a time by joining the KasCommunity here.


A letter from me to you

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by sandy on April 12, 2012

It really has been a long time between posts.

Many of you reading this will have received the recent Square Circle ezine, so you will be familiar with the latest developments in KasCare, most excitingly that we are venturing into Zimbabwe, the birthplace of all of the family currently involved in KAS, here in Australia and in South Africa.

The fact that Knit-a-square has continued to grow, indeed flourish under the ministrations of many committed and good-hearted people is a source of constant inspiration to us all. It speaks volumes about the power of community and what people can do when they are invested in a common cause.

As others picked up when we were forced to retire from daily activity, I watched with delight, not a little humility and some personal frustration for my inability to get really stuck in once again!

A return to All For Orphans and re-involvement in KasCare and Knit-a-square is not without its personal complications. Whatever isn’t that’s worth anything?

The whole story will be told one day, when it can do the most good for the children.

But for the moment, I wanted to share with you just a little about this journey of the last 18 months, by way of explaining the gap and now a return, as I can to All For Orphans.

While our personal circumstances are greatly altered, we would not have it any other way. We have learned a great deal and not least of all from the remarkable KasCommunity.

A key learning is how little material issues really matter. From this to this below, is a case in point.

From this to this.

It caused us all so much stress and anxiety to sell our much loved family home, but now that it is done, does it matter?

Not really, our lives have not stopped, our love for each other has not changed. We still eat and celebrate, have friends and are able to function in business. It has indeed been a cause for re-evaluating what does matter, what should count and how much we still have to offer.

Our new home, dilapidated as it looks, is roomy inside, warm and very close to where Cressida and Sunny now live. So how fortunate are we and how much more do we all have then the children whose cause we champion.

While it has taken time, at last I’ve been able to bring a synergy between my new business, Why You Must Blog and KasCare.

Our involvement with KAS was so much about building the community. Part of that process was impassioned communication about the dreadful circumstances facing so many million children.

Impassioned communication is really dedicated blogging by another name. Many businesses acknowledge they need to blog, but they don’t know how or why.

So why not bring that knowledge to business owners and work with them to build their own community. The reasons were multi-fold.

Yes of course, they would need to pay. But more importantly, could I inspire them to see their community as a vehicle for doing good beyond just selling more product or gaining more custom. Might they understand the power of community to achieve the unachievable?

A decision to become involved in some additional study has offered many further insights.

It has involved me in a 30 week business development program, the first part of which was identifying exactly what it was I could offer from a business perspective and to whom. Part of that was working on ‘the big picture’.

It was a privilege to be given this opportunity for reflection. What came into focus was just how great an impact the KasCommunity has had on how we both see life and wish to be involved in business.

As an example, few can surpass what has been achieved by a world-wide community of caring women and men, whose other passion is knitting and crochet.

It showed me how to put the two together. Then I realised that could not happen without a return to a real involvement in KAS. The two could not occur in isolation.

The ultimate goal is daunting. I plan to present to large audiences on the power of community, possibly around the world, which may be a bit ambitious, but without a dream, not much happens. As an insurance policy, if I don’t make it, it won’t be for lack of trying!

By default, that means that more people will know about the children, more people will go about their business thinking perhaps they could do something similar, and more people will swell the ranks of our KasCommunity.

The starting point is the book I’m writing. It is due for completion at the end of May and I will write more about it in Why You Must Blog.

We look forward to bringing you news about the children, people who are doing amazing work in southern Africa to improve their lives and government initiatives too. Despite the problems that beset many countries in Africa, there are attempts to make things right and for that we should all be grateful.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please let me know if there are areas you would like to know more about that concern the children. With warmest best wishes, Sandy

PS. This cannot be written without acknowledgement of Dawne, who kept All For Orphans going at a rollicking pace with her considered commentary on all things to do with the children, and with knitting and crocheting for knit-a-square. She is now immersed in study, but we hope very much one day that she will reappear in All For Orphans.


Knitting for Africa (part 22)

August 15, 2011

By Roger G McDonald A Humble Toast Zanny’s knitting’s hidden, but still handy. Good Father Francis, elevates the host. At Mass’s end, he calls upon our Sandy to speak to us. And lest you think I boast, she does so in a kind of humble toast. Quickly, she describes the goals of KasCare*; in seconds [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 21)

August 12, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Lost and Found The choir knits the air with hymns of praise. Its three-part crochet magic taunts belief. A thousand voices leave us in a daze because they’re only fifty. And some thief has nicked my cynicism—what relief! My thousand isn’t wrong. The attendance obeys the choir. The air becomes pure [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 20)

August 10, 2011

By Roger G McDonald The Tribe that Africa Forgot Our colour in this place sets us aside. We stand out like the dandruff on a suit. The procession wheels to make its way inside. But elders, careful herdsmen, strong and mute, steer us aside, like sheep into a chute. The front pews of the church [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 19)

August 8, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Holy Rosary But not for us. A Phiri parish waits: Holy Rosary, with its dusty streets. Today, poverty waits outside its gates. On a bare field, the congregation meets. Empurpled women sing. The dust retreats. The fewer, older men, all greying, walk as guards to the procession. Palms held high seem [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 18)

August 5, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Hello Soweto Former, from those days that bred apartheid; when men weren’t men, but animals, for work; it bred in them the making of a state but drove Mandela quietly berserk. It’s our turn for the task. We mustn’t shirk. Nowadays, though, the tourist buses roam with passengers on guided tours [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 17)

August 3, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Knitting Heroes Six days. Our absence underlines a flow. Knitting heroes shame us with their crop of squares and hats and vests. They let us know the orphans aren’t forgotten. Though a drop in all the need, it simply cannot stop. Palm Sunday. A volunteer’s invited our family to her church [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 16)

August 1, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Back to knitting Once more westward. Johannesburg returns. There is where the real job must begin, with no apparent end. My conscience burns. Vacation first, then work? Is that a sin? Is duty always pleasure’s doleful twin? Still, Zan continues knitting. It’s her form of meditative music, and we know its [...]

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Knitting for Africa (part 15)

July 26, 2011

By Roger G McDonald Courage Undressed And then it comes; and though you’ve heard before, the shock of nearness echoes in your chest— the ultimate percussion. Lions roar, of course they do, but not so they arrest your heart. Courage is rapidly undressed. ‘A lone male. Pretty big. A hundred yards.’ Our Quatermain directs a [...]

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