Saturday, January 26, 2008

Akash, a Kid for a Better Future

One day last year my daughter was in Prospect Park when this young boy of about 9 approached her, asking if she wanted to participate in a walkathon benefiting his organization, Kids For a Better Future, which strives to find ways to improve the quality of life for children around the world through various projects. Last year KFABF helped raise money to build a school for girls in Herat, Afghanistan.

How often do you meet kids like that? How often do strangers even talk to each other? I hear about the youth rock movement in Park Slope, the Tiny Masters of the Universe for instance. It is great to hear about children emboldened by the power of Rock. It is also so great to hear about the mission of this child, empowered by the idea that he can help people. That rocks too.

It seems Akash is still rocking. I just read this email:

Dear Friends and Supporters of Kids for a Better Future:

I had my tenth birthday on December 21st, and like last year I am gave up birthday gifts, and instead asked for donations to Kids for a Better Future. I'm writing because I hope you'll consider making a donation to Kids for a Better Future for my birthday.

This year money raised will support an organization working for children's rights in the Congos. The organization that we have chosen is called Ajedi-Ka. Their website is We want to support Ajedi-Ka because it works with children, and it seems very promising. It mostly works with child soldiers of both sexes, trying get them not to join the army, and trying to get them to leave the army, and go to school. Fifty percent of children in Congo do not go to school, and $100 dollars is what it costs to send one child to school for a one year. Ajedi-Ka works with former girl soldiers and other women victims of violence. We have learnt that sexual violence has been a huge problem during and after the terrible war in the region. Children that were born out of rape ar called by the Congolese "Children of the Enemy", and those children are outcasts of society. That term "Children of the Enemy" upsets me greatly, and I will never use this term except to say how awful it is. We will ask Ajedi-Ka to spend any money we raise on the rights of the Congolese girls and children who were born of rape during and after the war.

Now there's a Care Bear that is truly on fire, and what a big flame for such a young body. In case you'd like to give Akash Mehta a present for his birthday, there's a paypal link on the website

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