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April   7

Reaching Out To Rwanda

Who says people in Baristaville only care about latte and their granite countertops? Actually, there's a movement here mobilizing to help people in Africa. You may have already heard about Gift For Life – an organization started by Montclair resident Stephanie Urdang to assist Rwandan women raped during the 1994 genocide, who as a result, now live with AIDS.

Montclair_campaign_1 Didacienne_2

Although Rwanda’s Ministry of Health provides anti-viral drugs to treat HIV for free, when Stephanie traveled to Rwanda last year on a UN grant, she met women – and their daughters – so destitute and malnourished that the anti-viral drugs were basically useless: “Desperately poor women with no access to medications, terrified of dying…and others not able to eat enough food for their medicine to be effective.  Any food that they had was put in the mouths of their children first.”

Stephanie’s outreach hit a nerve in the community, and on the 12th anniversary of the genocide, others have initiated their own fundraising for Gift For Life:  Jessica Rasp is planning a Manhattan Tip to Tip Walk for Rwanda this Sunday, April 9.  She expects nearly 100 walkers for the 260 block trek. Each participant is asked to raise $108 for the Gift For Life project. For information, contact Jessica at [email protected], or 973-893-0011.

A group of seventh grade girls at Glenfield School calling themselves “Girls for Life: Rwanda” came together to see how they could raise money for girls and their moms in Kigali.  This Saturday April 8, they are holding a bake sale, 10a.m. - 2 p.m. in front of Baby Boom, Valley Road, Montclair. Any other girls interested in helping with future fundraisers, contact Eileen Sweeney, 973-744-8857.

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Urdang.  Top photo, Butare Market. Left photo: GFL volunteers left to right: Claire Ciliotta, Cherie Avinger, Stephanie Urdang. Right photo: GFL assisted woman, with researcher.

April 7, 2006 in Civic Virtue | Permalink


Great stuff.

Posted by: walleroo | Apr 7, 2006 9:48:48 AM

Good, now this is something productive!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 7, 2006 9:51:58 AM

I'll be at the bake sale Sat. Nice job kids.

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 7, 2006 9:53:23 AM

Kudos...I will also stop by and make a donation.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 7, 2006 10:05:43 AM

If it can help, I'll probably even stop by Saturday morn and buy a cupcake or two or three. I will then even gladly share them with Mazie. ("Hers" I will sprinkle Carolina jessamine blossoms on, purely to give the cupcake visual appeal, of course.)

Yes, it does sound like a worthy cause. But there are so many worthy causes, and maybe not enough givers or cupcake buyers.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 7, 2006 10:24:09 AM

Outstanding!!! It's such a welcome relief to read about folks like this, who make the effort to ease life for people on the other side of the world who truly need help. I'm happy to support them in any way I can.

What a great reminder to feel blessed to live where we do - and how we do. We may not live in perfect situations, but this sure puts a lot of "problems" in perspective.

Please continue to keep us posted on all of these wonderful do-gooders & the ways we can help. :)

Posted by: Mujer en Fuego | Apr 7, 2006 12:46:36 PM

I think Ms. Sweeney should literally alert the media about the's group activities. Seriously. The AP daybook, Star-Ledger, News 12 NJ, the big networks...why not? THAT's the way to get the message out to our comatose politicians.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 7, 2006 1:00:40 PM

Love this report -- it really showcases the spirit of all the good that's here in our towns in Baristaville. Nice one Barsita in showing something postive and giving the kudos to all those folks who are really making a difference.

Posted by: Barista Fan#99 | Apr 7, 2006 1:57:07 PM

As I achieve that legendary "all-crank What's New" moment, only fitting that I do so with a good cause.

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