Sunday, August 8, 2010

Please donate to our cultural center!

Dear friends and family,

I have been serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Southern Africa in Mozambique as a community health promoter since October 2008. My primary assignment is being a community health promoter and I have been working towards the goal of improving the quality of life in Chibuto, where I am stationed, in various capacities. One way is through collaboration with a local group of working professionals as well as other Peace Corps Volunteers in efforts to build a cultural center.

Since April 2009, I have been working with this group to construct a cultural center for youth on the outskirts of my city. Utilizing local materials, labor and expertise, the cultural center will provide an environment where young people can productively spend their free time, thus reducing their chances of engaging in risky or unhealthy behavior.

The center will provide training and development in the areas of theater, music, visual arts, dance, sports and culinary arts. Talents in these areas will be cultivated with the help of Mozambican professionals, creating a form of expression that preserves, appreciates and celebrates Mozambican culture. In doing so, participants will also be developing their fine- tuned motor skills.

The local government has donated the land for the project just outside of the city center. The cultural center will consist of the construction of a small office and stage and eventually a kitchen/café for culinary students. A large space behind the center will be kept open for sporting events and other large gatherings. Phase one of the project will include the construction of an open-air stage, a small building to be used as an office, and a reed fence surrounding the entire property for privacy and protection.

Creating a sustainable center will be an ever-present priority in the creation of this project, its objective, and its methodology. Our request from the Partnership Program will help greatly in the initial start-up cost. It would contribute greatly toward the preservation of cultural pride and other such factors would motivate the local community to encourage healthy and creative behaviors among the younger generation.

This cultural center project is an out-of-the box method of HIV prevention for our community in Mozambique, where the HIV rate is estimated to be 29% in our province. It will also bring the community together through the events we will hold.

Please think about contributing to our cause to make our dream into a reality. If you decide to donate, you may do that through the Peace Corps Partnership Website (https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=640-020). The total amount we are raising for the project is $6,646 while our community is contributing $2,993. The good thing about this cause is that your donation merits a tax-exemption and there will be Peace Corps Volunteers overseeing the project so you can rest assured that your money will go directly to the cause and benefit our community.

Thanks so much for your help and support!
Gracey Uffman
Peace Corps Volunteer
Mozambique 2008-2010
graceyuffman@gmail.com

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