Director’s Blog – August 1, 2015
A few years ago, well-known Jewish artist Gary Rosenthal (who is a Camp Airy alum) worked with a group of our counselors to create our very own tzedakah box which proudly sits outside of our Solarium at Camp Louise. Since we are a cashless society here at camp, we have put a lot of thought into how best to use this tzedakah box in a meaningful way at camp.
This summer, we have decided to work with a non-profit organization called Kiva. Their mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva enables donors to make microloans to people in need around the world. They pay back the loans through Kiva and then the donor can relend that money to another individual in need.
We presented the campers with three women who have asked for loans through Kiva:
1. Yulieth from Cerete, Colombia was in need of supplies (a cabinet, paper, and telephones) for the business she runs to support her family – a small internet café/information center.
2. Mercedes from El Salvador wanted to purchase metal sheeting and nails so that she could replace the roof on her family’s home.
3.Ruth from Nandi Hills, Kenya is the mother of eight children and is also a farmer. On the Kiva website, Ruth is described as an “ever-happy farmer” who has “defied the common thinking of most Kenyans that farming is only for men.” Ruth is looking to buy a dairy cow to meet the greater demands of her customers.
Our campers saw videos about these women and we discussed their needs. They were then asked to think about who they wanted to help with a loan.
After Shabbat services last week, each camper was then given a button to place in the tzedakah box. There were three slots – one on each side to represent each woman’s needs. The campers put their button in the tzedakah box to vote for who should receive a loan from Camp Louise.
We were particularly touched by notes we found in the tzedakah box from the CITs. The notes read – we feel that all three of these women are equally deserving. As a camp, we decided to fully fund Mercedes so that she could buy materials to fix her roof. We then donated a portion to Yulieth and Ruth as well.
When I spoke to some campers about this project, they truly understood the situations and the loan program. They are already eagerly waiting to see what Camp Louise can fund next year when we are repaid the money from this year’s loans.
Through this program, our campers are learning as the Jewish sage Maimonides taught in the 12th century – that the highest form of charity is to help someone become self-sufficient. Kiva’s loan program has helped 1.7 million people in 83 countries around the world become more self-sufficient through loans that they can pay back 98.7% of the time.
Be sure to ask your campers about this experience that they had at camp and you can read more about Kiva at http://www.kiva.org/
What an incredible lesson for our campers to learn here at camp and even better – to take back home with them.
Phoebe – Bunk #21
Sara K – CIT
Ronnie – Counselor, Bunk #30
Today’s Menu[table “” not found /]
High: 84°F | Low: 60°F – A truly gorgeous day at camp!