Changing Lives – One Person at a Time
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Village Partners International grew out of the mission work of people of faith from different churches beginning in rural Haiti in 1995. A young Haitian boy had fallen into a vat of boiling water and could only receive help in the United States. A medical team arranged for a UN helicopter to bring him to Tampa, Florida for treatment; his story was published in an international surgical journal. (Read more about this boy’s story here.)
Five years later, Martha Kawala, a young girl from the village of Papoli, Uganda was diagnosed with a life threatening cardiac condition. As this could not be treated in Africa, she walked 8 miles to an internet café to send Dr. Sylvia Campbell an email asking for help. Dr. Campbell helped arrange for the Rotary Club to provide transportation and the St. Joseph’s Hospital’s cardiac surgical team to provide surgery. Martha’s life was saved and changed. (Read more about Martha’s story here.)
Martha returned to her village and scholarship money was raised for her education through the efforts of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church. It was soon discovered that water was a more critical need if the village was to thrive, so a well was built. The AIDS epidemic has devastated a generation, leaving behind homes headed by orphans and widowed grandmothers. Housing for orphans and widows became an ongoing need that began to be addressed. The opportunity to serve grew to include the efforts of friends from a number of faith traditions. The merit of partnering an interfaith organization became clear, leading to the creation of Village Partners International which demonstrates how communities can be changed one person at a time.
Village Partners International, a 501(c)(3), was created as a way to open the work that the church has begun to the broader community. The four major areas of focus are:
Our goal is to partner with villages for projects that create independence and are self-sustaining.