Ya-Marie Essay | Campus Editor
Share Heart Africa raises awareness of West African orphans and widows in the Hampton Roads area during their 5K Race for Hope.
The organization hosted their 5 th annual 5k Race for Hope at the end of September near Warwick High School in Newport News, Virginia. The race is dedicated to raising funds for Sierra Leonean children in need, proceeds will directly impact the education of Sierra Leonean children and microfinancing for caregivers to assist their financial need.
The race began with an 8 a.m. 1-mile run followed by a 5K and 8K race at 8:30 a.m. The cost of participation began at $18 for one mile, $30 for 5K and $45 for 8K.
Saffiatu Harper, founder of Share Heart Africa, also a Sierra Leonean native said she was
inspired to host a 5k run to raise proceeds for Sierra Leonean girls that suffer to get access to an education. Last year the race took place during the August heat and had a greater turn-out than this year. With it being the 5th year the Share Heart Africa’s team had a stress-free planning process.
“It was really good to get a late September date this year, the early morning Autumn breeze felt good especially to our runners,” said Harper. “The event was a success but we definitely need more participants to make a major impact in children’s lives in Sierra Leone.”
Rapheal Kamanga came in first place during the 5K race. The Kenyan native was extremely excited to give back to Africa. He hopes to encourage people to participate in fundraising races to not only live a healthy lifestyle, but to also impact the lives of others through a great cause.
“When you’re doing something for Africa, I feel like you’re doing it for me and doing it for my people,” said Kamanga.
Share Heart in Africa focuses on families in the village of Sierra Leone, and main cities like Freetown, Makeni, Kenema, Gloucester, Waterloo and Grafton.
“Our hope is that each child will fully grow up, take what they have learned, and become an agent of change in their community,” said Harper.
Harper believes the Lord called on her to give back to her country. “My heart’s desire is to fulfill the calling God has placed in my heart by promoting the welfare of children in Africa,” said Harper on Share Heart in Africa website.
The organization was founded in and focuses on seven core values that include family and community, accountability, faith, quality, stewardship, integrity and individualized care. The organization also ensures that each child has basic holistic care through their physical, mental social and spiritual needs for a healthy and well-rounded life.
In mid-August Sierra Leone faced a drastic mudslide killing over 300 people, and destroying many homes leaving over 2,000 people homeless. Many organizations including Share Heart in Africa are currently accepting donations to provide medical, sanitary and food supplies for those affected.
“We look forward to impacting more lives in Sierra Leone, West Africa with other future
events,” said Harper.
Share Heart in Africa is currently looking for hardworking and dedicated volunteers. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.shareheartafrica.org