Spring Serenade in Sidney offers outreach to South Africa

The Ukulapha project is run by former Victoria resident Carolyn Burns.

Craig Henderson and his trio will be performing at the Spring Serenade on June 12 at the Mary Winspear Centre.

An international project of the Victoria International Development Education Association (VIDEA), Ukulapha provides support to more than 1,000 elementary school students, including orphan headed households and families with vulnerable children, through training, sponsorships and community outreach. The Ukulapha project is run by former Victoria resident Carolyn Burns, who returned to her native South Africa in 2007 to give back to her community. She began working with the school in the township of Slangspruit, close to her home of Pietermaritzburg.

Over the years, many Victoria area residents have helped raise funds to provide for the young students, many of whom survive on only one meal a day.

“It’s amazing that this has raised enough to fund building a resource centre,” says Rhonda Todrick, co-chair of Spring Serenade for Ukulapha.

The resource centre includes a library and computers for the children.

“None of them had ever even owned a book before,” says Todrick. “They had no safe place to do homework, a lot of them have no electricity and no access to computers or technology.”

The completely volunteer-run organization also provides meals, has developed a community garden and educational campaigns on sex education, tuberculosis and AIDS. Burns has also found sponsors for several of the children so they can attend high school.

Spring Serenade is June 12 at the Mary Winspear Centre and includes travel information and demonstrations, music by the Craig Henderson Trio, fashion, food and wine along with live and silent auction items.

For more on the fundraiser go to ukulaphafriends.org.

— by Laura Lavin/Black Press