Group goes hungry for African relief

The Association of African Charities is raising awareness of hunger in Africa as well as money to help combat starvation with a 30 Hour Hunger Campaign.

On April 4 and 5 the AAC hopes to gather over seventy people in the University Center to fast, listen to speakers and participate in activities. They will raise money through sponsors who pledge either a specific dollar amount or give money based on how long a person fasts.

In Africa, “a hungry man is a dying man,” said Lovingson Mtongwiza, president of the AAC.

He said other problems Africa faces, such as the spread of AIDS, are complicated by the fact that millions are threatened by starvation.

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, 38 million Africans are at risk of starvation.

“If the problem of hunger can be taken care of, all of those problems will go away,” said Mtongwiza.

The money they raise will go to several groups including orphanage-schools in Zambia, Malawi, and Kenya, as well as Ungana – Friends of AMREF, an organization that provides medical supplies and food to children who live on the street.

Money will also benefit residents of rural areas in Zimbabwe, where some people must walk 15 miles to get to the nearest well for water. The money raised by the AAC will go towards digging a new well.

“People have to survive,” said Chanda Kadota, the AAC’s vice president for Finance, who is from Zambia. “You can’t go on like this.”

“We’re trying to make sure these people are taken care of,” said Mtongwiza.

The campaign begins Friday night at 6 p.m. in Otto Budig Theater in the University Center with a lecture by Vincent T. Costello Jr., director of International Services at the Cincinnati Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The campaign will progress through the night with movies, games, and a dance from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. And, on Saturday, KISS 107 FM radio station will broadcast live from the Hunger Campaign.

Mtongwiza said if people can’t stay for the entire 30 hours, they could still help either by donating money or participating for a smaller portion of the time.

The Hunger Campaign is one of several activities the AAC has sponsored this semester. Last Friday they held “Africa With Change” in front of the UC building. They collected change and put the coins along a chalk outline of Africa drawn on the ground.

The AAC also held a clothes drive earlier this semester.