Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/902411

Goat Hope fundraiser aims to help Kenyans

Goats, goat milk processing plant needed for villagers
By Rachel Swick Mavity | Oct 03, 2012
Photo by: Rachel Swick Mavity Goat Hope organizers hope to raise money to help African villagers support themselves. Shown are (l-r) Monica Gehrmann of Rehoboth Beach, Patricia Cobb-Richardson of Wilmington and Carol Wayne of Millsboro.

Cape Region residents attended a reception for Goat Hope, a fundraiser for Kenyan villagers affected by HIV and AIDS, in Rehoboth Beach, Sept. 13.

Goat Hope, a benefit for Medical Relief Alliance, aims to establish a goat farm in Kenya to provide nutritional support and generate income for families living with HIV and AIDS. The benefit was hosted by Goat Hope supporter Joe Maggio, owner of Maggio Shields Real Estate Brokerage and Cafe.

The event drew a small, but passionate, group of supporters to the cafe, located on the second floor of First Street Station. So far, the event has raised about $5,000, which will be doubled through a matching grant.

"The vision is to realize a world where children, women and men affected with HIV and AIDS are able to lead healthy and self-sufficient lifestyles," said Goat Hope organizer and MRA volunteer, Patricia Cobb-Richardson.

Cobb-Richardson and her sister Carol Wayne organized the event, which aimed to connect Kenyan villagers with hope for a better future.

That hope comes in the form of goats. A single goat can vastly improve the life of a family, said Cobb-Richardson. Besides providing the family with life-saving milk and cheese, it also gives the family a source of income. The family can sell the milk and cheese at local markets to help buy other necessities, she said.

"The idea is to help families help themselves," said Wayne, a Millsboro resident.

Cobb-Richardson of Wilmington is a volunteer for Medical Relief Alliance, which helps organize Goat Hope events in the Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. areas.  MRA asks residents to donate money for goats. Each goat costs $125.

"Once a family receives a goat, they have a window to pay back the money for the goat," Wayne said. "When they pay it back, that money goes for a goat for another family."

In addition to funding goats for villagers, MRA is working to raise money to build a goat milk processing plant. The plant will create jobs and also allow villagers to make more money for their goat milk.

"We want to support these communities that are struggling," Cobb-Richardson said.

"Community members here in Rehoboth were interested in doing something to help too, so with Joe Maggio's help, we were able to organize Goat Hope," Wayne said.

Also helping at the event were Monica Gehrmann and Donna McIntee, an interfaith minister.

For more information or to donate, go to www.mra-africa.org.

About MRA

MRA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and quality of life of families living in sub-Saharan Africa. MRA began operations in Kenya in 2002. Initially, through its Medical Supplies and Equipment Relief program, known as MS+ER, MRA concentrated on rehabilitating local hospitals with medical supplies and technical assistance.

Since 2002, MRA, based in New York City, has developed a network of partnerships with United States- and Kenyan-based hospitals, corporations, airlines and professionals who volunteer skills. Through these partnerships, MRA has sent numerous consignments of medical supplies and equipment to Kenya.

Goat Hope is a microenterprise project that works with rural households impacted with HIV and AIDS to fight the effects of malnutrition and poverty often characteristic of communities ravaged by this disease. Goat Hope focuses on enhancing the health and economic outlook of people affected with HIV and AIDS by gifting them with dairy goats that improve their nutrition through goat milk consumption while supplementing the household income through the sale of surplus milk.

The Community Health Outreach Program aims to provide education and evidence-based HIV infection prevention services. By working with Kenya's government, MRA hopes to test all adults at risk for HIV by next year.

Joe Maggio, owner of Maggio Shields Real Estate Brokerage and Cafe in Rehoboth Beach, talks to Beth Dorman, left, and Cheryl Myers. (Source: Submitted)
Attendees of the Goat Hope fundraiser watch a video about African villagers who could receive goats thanks to donations. (Source: Submitted)
Residents talk during a Sept. 13 Goat Hope fundraiser in Rehoboth Beach. (Source: Submitted)
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