story & photo
by Maren Schober
All it took was listening to her friend Linda Wilkinson talk about the needs of African women and children in Zambia, Africa, and Sabrina Buehler of North Stonington was hooked.
“My friend Linda and her husband Bruce are living in Zambia where Bruce works for World Vision. When I heard Linda speak about the tremendous needs of African women, I knew I had to help any way I could. My daughter Carly, age 17 at the time wanted to travel to Zambia and help as well. We went together in 2007 and spent two weeks helping these African women at the project. As a result of this experience my life and focus is completely changed,” Sabrina shares with me.
As we all hear and know HIV/AIDS is of epic proportions in Africa. It robs mothers of their children and robs wives of their husbands.
“When Linda Wilkinson met one widow and her seven orphaned children in Zambia in 2005, she knew she had to help,” Sabrina reflects. “ Out of this love and compassion for the needs of African women, Linda founded the Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project.”
Trips to Zambia in both 2007 and 2009 enabled Sabrina to see first hand how the lives of African women and children are being transformed through this project. Sabrina continues to explain, “A school for orphans whose family members cannot afford the fees for public education began with just 30 children in 2005. Now the school includes 60 widows and over 300 hundred children, 30 single moms and 23 grandmothers! The program is based in Ng’ombe Township and targets women whose lives are devastated by poverty and HIV/AIDS. The project restores dignity and brings hope to these women and children.”
Part of the Chikumbuso Project is the Grassroot Soccer program founded in 2002 by Ethan Zohn along with other professional soccer players. The mission of the Grassroot Soccer program to use the game of soccer to teach African children through a tailor made curriculum about HIV/AIDS prevention.
“To see so many people in our communities such as rotary clubs, churches and schools raise funds for these projects is very heartwarming. Students and teachers at Wheeler High School raise funds each year. They supplied the Girls Grassroot Soccer Team with Wheeler High School uniforms which are proudly worn by the team members!” said Sabrina.
Better yet come to Wheeler High School Gymnasium, North Stonington, on Thursday, May 6th at 7:00 to meet Ethan Zohn yourself! Ethan is the inspirational speaker that night to help promote the coast to coast bike ride that will raise awareness and funds for 100 bikes for school children in Zambia through World Bicycle Relief.
Other fund raising events are coming up for these causes. The 24 Hour Run-A-Thon starts May 7th at 3pm at Wheeler High Soccer Field. Saturday May 8th the Family Fun Ride starts at noon from Wheeler Middle School. For more information about coming fund raisers contact Sabrina Buehler at firstname.lastname@example.org.