Gabrielle Elkaim Fundraising
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In rural Zimbabwe, children with physical disabilities face obstacles that seem insurmountable. They have no wheelchairs – or ramps. No braces or special accommodations. They are often hidden away in their family huts, pariahs because of the traditional belief that disabilities are signs of the ancestors' displeasure or the macinations of a witch.
Energy Maburutse, Goodwell Nzou and Honest Mupatsi defied the odds. Although Energy’s uncle called him an “animal,” and the families of Goodwell and Honest told the boys that they were “useless,” the three struggled their way out of their villages into a special school for children with disabilities. There, with humor and tenacity, they excelled. The music of their band, Liyana, captured the interest of American filmmakers, who won an Oscar for their documentary portrait of the young musicians. And their academic achievements won them scholarships to U.S. universities.
Even with those funds, we’re still short of what we need to cover their room and board, books, health insurance and spending money. Please help us to give these amazing young men the chance to keep soaring.
The Longer Story:
It’s not easy being born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Brittle Bone Syndrome, anywhere since it consigns you to a lifetime of fractures, a frame that compresses your organs, and an inability to walk. And in Zimbabwe, the situation is even worse. But Energy Maburutse has a tenacious mother who refused to consign her son to a lifetime of dependence. She found him a place in a special school for the disabled – and carried him there in a bucket on her head because she didn’t know that such a thing as a wheelchair existed. From that elementary school, he received a scholarship to study at King George VI School, Zimbabwe’s only secondary school for children with disabilities.
So did his friends Goodwell Nzou and Honest Mupatsi. Goodwell, the 16th of 22 children, had lost a leg from a snake bite and was told by his family that he should forget about school since it was silly to waste money on a useless disabled boy. He'd fought for the right to continue his education and kept fighting all through school, emerging at the top of his class. Honest still wasn't sure about how to think of the future. When he was diagnosed with hemophilia, his father told him that he was cursed, and he still thought he might be right.
Their worlds began expanding when they helped to found the band Liyana and began traveling, first throughout southern Africa, then to Europe, and family, in 2009, to the U.S. America became their dream, and they moved a step closer when they finished high school and were selected as three of 33 students, out of a pool of 975 applicants, to participate in USAP, the United States Achievers Program, a very selective U.S. government-sponsored program that assists highly-motivated, talented students from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds to find places in, and scholarships to U.S. universities.
Honest received a scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he is studying Computer Science. Energy is studying Communications at Lynn University in Florida, and Goodwell is majoring in Biochemistry at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. And all three of them had fantastic freshman years. Goodwell is at the top of his class and playing with the Nazareth Percussion Ensemble. Energy has been speaking in churches and making short films. And Honest, who a junior in high school before he saw his first computer, is now programming on his own.
We made it through their freshmen years with the help of university scholarships and the generosity of dozens of friends and admirers. But we still have 2-1/2 more years!
Please help us raise the funds we need to give them the futures they deserve.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!