AMERICAN FORK — On one of her many trips to Africa, Utah County resident Kathy Headlee spoke with children on the streets of Zambia and asked them what they needed the most. “Ma'am, I just want a pair of shoes and a pencil so I can go to school,” they responded.
Headlee is the founder of Mothers Without Borders, a nonprofit organization with volunteers helping orphaned children get schooling and support from caring adults. The American Fork-based group organizes annual trips to Africa.
Local author Michele Bell has been involved with Mothers Without Borders for four years, and is helping the group raise money to build a school for orphans in Zambia. And she is asking Utahns to help — with the donation of a dollar.
"Americans think nothing of spending a dollar on a soda or a slice of pizza or a candy bar, but a dollar can make the difference to whether a child in Africa can eat, have a safe place to sleep or go to school. Every dollar counts and most people can give a dollar without feeling like they are breaking their personal budgets," Bell says. "I want to involve our community because we are the ones who can help. We have so much and even if we give a little we can change lives. Giving a child in Africa an education will make their lives better and will give them a chance to have a better life, and in turn will improve their homes, their neighborhoods and their communities."
Bell will be selling bookmarks with a story of an orphaned child at her "The Perfect Fit" book signings in Utah and Salt Lake counties during May and June. The bookmarks will cost $1, with all proceeds going toward the school.
She says this is an easy way for Utahns to make an impact in a third-world country.
“Millions of children are denied the opportunity to attend school because they cannot afford a school uniform, shoes, books or even a pencil,” Bell says.
Bell first became involved with Mothers Without Borders when a woman in her neighborhood asked for help to make sanitation kits to send to Africa.
"I was happy to donate toothbrushes and soap and didn't think much more of it until I learned about the Mothers Without Borders organization and what they do," she said. "I learned about children whose parents died from AIDS and left them to fend for themselves on the streets. I learned about the horrible things that happen to these children and how they get infected with AIDS, either from birth or from things that happen to them."
This summer, Bell will be hosting a special event that will allow community members to have dinner and listen to local entertainment for a $2 entry fee. Bell will also donate the proceeds of this event to the school.