A message from Wendy Black-Nasta
Our return to Tanzania last month was a game-changing experience. After working with Josephine Machuwa at the Good Hope Orphanage Center—including partnering with her to help raise the now twenty children living at the orphanage and the forty-eight children attending our one room school house—we can look back through our history together and see how Artists for World Peace has changed the face of this entire village!
Our thirteen-member team included four eye doctors, an optician, two nurses, and six members of our 2016 AFWP travel team. Together we provided eye care to six hundred villagers and gave twenty-three cataract surgeries—literally bringing sight back to people who would never otherwise be able to afford the $50 cataract surgery or the $40 ride to Kibosho Hospital from our village of Kibosho-Umbwe.
We are entering our fifteenth year! Together, with the talent of several hundred artists, musicians, performers, and hundreds of AFWP supporters, we have shown over and over again how the arts can change lives and bring about lasting peace. As I always say: When people are hungry, or they don’t have a safe place to sleep for the night, it is impossible to be a peace keeper. By continuing to raise funds through our artistic performances, through bringing groups of artists and audiences together to form community, and with the financial support of those who believe in our work, we lift individuals to a place of power, dignity, security, and sustainability. This act replaces an insecure environment with a secure, communal, loving one. We can clearly see the difference it has made in the lives of thousands of people AFWP has touched with our commitment of using the arts to help change lives.
In raising our Children of Peace, we not only pay for their educational and living expenses, but just as importantly, we visit them as often as possible and share experiences with them that form life-time memories. This summer we were able to bring seven of our older children on vacation for a weekend where they went on a boat for the first time, learned to row, and had time with us to just talk and relax. The following weekend we took our entire crew, thirty-five people, on a vacation to the Indian Ocean. Our children saw the ocean and felt sand beneath their feet for the first time. It was a first of many: wearing a bathing suit, learning to swim in a pool, running into the ocean, walking a beach, eating fish freshly caught, and on and on. It is thrilling to be part of these life “firsts” on our children’s journey as they enter adulthood knowing they are no longer without the love and security that all children deserve. Whatever country our children live in, we make sure they experience a childhood as rich in experiences as we possibly can. We thank all of the musicians, storytellers, poets, and dancers who perform at our One Concert/One Child concert series that helps support our children; and a huge shout out to all of the individuals who have become a “sponsor mom or dad” to our Children of Peace. With your support our Artists for World Peace family continues to grow.
Our taking care of those in need always begins at home, right here in our community of Middletown, Connecticut, and spreads to every corner of the world. We are looking forward to continuing to grow, and we thank each and every one of you who support our work and our dreams.