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Posts Tagged ‘malawi’

revo orphanage

{photo by Nina Brav}

When you live in Small Town, Big Island, Hawai’i, sometimes it’s a stretch to look beyond your local environment…let alone decide to start a revolution that might have an impact on the world. But it seems easier when you have the advantage of being naively unconcerned with challenging undertakings or succumbing to the easy road by limiting your aspirations. Sometimes when you look outside yourself, you find the strength. That’s what a group of Hilo youth are doing in their quest to make a difference and create positive change in the lives of those less fortunate.

Of course, despite one’s best intentions, it can be a long road, to discovering where you are needed and what exactly you can do to help others. In this case, some inspiration and focus was generated when a local girl named Kristie Campbell went to Africa and became involved with the Grace of God Orphanage. Her schoolmates didn’t simply listen to Kristie’s stories of her experience with admiration, but took it as an open invitation to become involved.

They decided to start Revo: an aesthetically designed humanitarian project based on fighting social injustice; a movement based on the concept of love, with an ideology of thinking beyond oneself and redefining our modern conception of necessity. Revo Hilo would raise money for Grace of God and their first fund-raising event held last spring was an overwhelming success. This was because of the many like-minded people who jumped on the opportunity to participate: from event organizers, artists, designers, local businesses as well as the 700 people who attended.

One of the artists involved was quite surprised by the local interest. “I had no idea of how huge the event was going to be, or how much funds we were actually able to raise,” admitted Lisa Franklin. “I think it was great how Revo brought the whole Big Island community together. We are fortunate to have such a creative artist collective and such an abundance of volunteers. It just feels really good to help these kids out.”

revo in africa

{remember Johnny, who used to work downtown Hilo Starbucks – here he is, transported to Malawi, in front of one of the new buildings the people of Hilo built, as well as some of the kid’s clothes and school supplies}

Little did any of the participants realize how profound the affects of their efforts would be for the recipients. When a group of seven of the Revo organizers went to Malawi this summer to hand deliver the $10,000 they raised ($6,000 at the event, and another $4,000 through mailed-in donations) the reality that this money would have such an impact it would actually save the children’s lives became tangibly apparent.

“For me, it was pretty incredible. How much everything we did in Hilo affected and changed [the children's] lives forever. It was a humbling experience to see how they live; how little they have,” said Nina Brav, the founder of Revo. During the time in which their first Revo event took place, a little girl named Samantha died of malaria. “While in Africa, I found the malaria pills cost just $4 U.S. but they couldn’t even afford that. So our goal,” Brav declares, “is for them to always have enough money that they don’t have to die because of something as simple as that.”

Before this energetic group of Revo supporters got involved, the Grace of God Orphanage was financed solely by Campbell. “Kristie’s paycheck is what has helped them survive the last three years,” said Brav. “She’s a full time student and makes $600 a month babysitting. She lives with parents and they pay for her food and gas. They don’t care, they’re stoked.”

revo event hiloBecause of Hawai’i support and monies raised at the Hilo event, they were able to not only afford doctor’s visits, medication and a three month’s supply of food, but had enough left over to build two buildings including dormitory housing, as well as mosquito nets and school supplies for each of the 114 orphans.

Now Revo is extending the invitation to anyone who wants to be involved. Utilizing the marketing potential of MySpace friends and bulletins, they have created a massive network of young people from around the U.S. who care enough to get involved.

HOW DO THE GROUPS GET STARTED?

First they pick a cause: Clean Water, Hunger, Woman’s Rights, HIV/AIDS, War and Peace, Child Slavery, Torture, the Environment, Human Trafficking and brothels, Poverty and Homelessness, etc. They then chose an under-funded, underdog activist organization in their area and hold local events to raise money. Currently there are Revo groups in 10 states, including Baton Rouge, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. Some of the projects include: Blood Water Mission, Invisible Children, Stop the Traffik, Care, The Mocha Club, and the African Orphanage Project. The current goal? To get cities in all 50 states participating in the project by 2010.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Campbell has started a program for people in Hawai’i to choose and sponsor one of the orphans. Interested sponsors can email Campbell at sheenaca@hawaii.edu or refer to her MySpace at www.myspace.com/graceofgodorphanage to view individual photos of the orphans.
  • Start a Revo of your own or find one in your area: get involved.
  • Attend and participate in Revo events.

Elevate Church in Hilo has graciously donated their large building for the upcoming Revo art show December 28th! It promises to not only be a fundraiser but the place to be: featuring artists Jacob Medina, Roy Ruiz, Lisa Franklin; photographers Nina Brav, Willie Branlund; designers Leah Evans, LaPistol; DJ Storm, among many others.

revo flyer hilo eventIf you’re out of town for the holidays and unable to attend, check out the web site startarevo.org; support the cause. If you are interested in making a donation, checks can be made out to Revo and sent to PO Box 4250, Hilo, HI 96720. Remember, it’s not the amount, since every little bit helps but -as this socially active group has proven- it’s more about having an open heart and making an effort to start a revolution; no matter how impossible it may seem!

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Revo 2.0, Social Justice Fight Art Show, @ the Elevate Church Building, 21 Kalanianaole Ave. (just past Verna’s). Fine art, photography, film, fashion. $5 entry fee. All proceeds go to the Grace of God Orphanage, Malawi, Africa.

For more information contact Nina Brav at www.myspace.com/revooflove or nina@startarevo.org

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Hey, even mega-famous YouTuber and local Hilo boy “nigahiga” had something to say about the matter… and with over 23,000 views in just over 20 hours might make one reconsider the potential power of da kine small town, eh?!



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