This summer I have the opportunity to work with an amazing organization called Loveworks. Loveworks is a NGO out of Edmonton, run by my friend Graeme Watt. Graeme, and his team, inspire and empower youth to change the world. This past fall Graeme was in Vancouver and we got to chatting about a trip to Burundi, Africa that he was planning.
Loveworks has committed to working long-term with the marginalized Batwa people in Burundi, specifically in the village of Busiga. The Batwa are considered the poorest of the poor in Burundi, with most only living to see 27 years old. Working with a local Burundian development organization called Harvest for Christ, Loveworks is partnering with the local Batwa people in Busiga to address the immediate needs expressed by the village; clean water, housing, food security & sustainability, and education. With a clean water project already underway, the next need to be addressed is housing. Loveworks has launched the Building Burundi campaign, $1 = 1 brick and 500 bricks = 1 house. The goal is to build 50 houses in Busiga. The team going this summer will be helping to build 10 houses along side the locals in Busiga.
For 3 weeks in July, myself and a group of 20 others from around Canada will be traveling to Busiga to build houses, learn as much as we can from our African hosts, experience their rich culture, and dance (of course!). I have also been asked to document the trip.
To say I’m excited for this opportunity is an understatement. From what I’ve heard from Graeme, there are amazing stories to be told of the Batwa people. I am more than honored to have the chance to tell some of them. As I’ve brainstormed about the different ways I could take pictures in Africa, the thought of giving pictures came back to me. How can I give pictures in Burundi? I am working on a way to be able to give prints to the people in Busiga. I will update as the details start to come in on how that may be accomplished.
Each team member going this summer is fundraising the cost of their own trip. The cost of the trip is $3500. I will be fundraising in a couple different ways, one being a single-origin Burundian coffee roasted in Vancouver called Good Coffee. All of the sales from the coffee will go towards the trip. More on Good Coffee in my next post coming up shortly. If you feel like donating directly to my trip, you can online on the Loveworks Building Burundi donation page, and add my name, Ian Sheh, and Burundi Summer Trip in the comments section (both are a must so that the funds get directed accordingly). You are also able to donate to the Building Burundi campaign, remember $1 = 1 brick and it only takes 500 bricks to build 1 house.