LPGA, Christian Agency Bring 'Golf Fore Africa' to Rwanda

The Ladies Professional Golf Association and one of the world's largest Christian organizations are partnering to help impoverished and AID-stricken communities in Rwanda.

This week, World Golf Halls of Fame member Betsy King presented a $10,000 check from the LPGA Tour membership to World Vision during a press conference at the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship in New York.

The LPGA fund will provide the people of Mudasomwa, Rwanda, with the ability to plan, implement and develop sustainable solutions to address AIDS, impoverished children, education and work opportunities in their community.

This will be done through World Vision's Community Care Coalitions (CCCs), which develop child-focused, community-based activities to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, and community members living with AIDS.

Golf legend Betsy King has been a long-time supporter of World Vision's work in Africa.

Recently, she visited Rwanda where she witnessed firsthand the level of need. What she saw in Mudasomwa ignited her desire to work towards alleviating the root causes of poverty in this rural town.

"It was wonderful to meet women empowered to help themselves and their children out of extreme poverty," said King after meeting a group of women supported by WV's microfinance project.

Mudasomwa is located in southwestern Rwanda and is home to over 70,000 people. The community is located in one of the poorest districts in the country, where over 75 percent of the population live below the poverty line.

Moreover, only two health clinics are available to the residents, while most of the schools are old and destroyed by warfare and unequipped. As a result of the lack of available education, many of the children in this community are illiterate.

The effects of the 1994 war and genocide in Rwanda combined with the devastation of the AIDS pandemic create many orphans and child-headed households.

Currently there are over 13,800 identified orphans and vulnerable children who are in desperate need of care and support in Mudasomwa.

Overall, there are 810,000 orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda, and 100,000 child-headed households, according to UNICEF 2006.

Golf Fore Africa, a member's international charity initiative of the LPGA, has the following specific project goals:

•Recruit 30 CCC members and train them in orphan and vulnerable children care and support activities. Provide them with medical kits and bicycles for transportation.
•Train older orphans and vulnerable children in vocational skills.
•Provide mattresses, school materials, uniforms and fees for 50 school-going children.
•Register 100 orphans and vulnerable children and 30 people living with HIV or AIDS in health insurance.
•Provide families caring for orphans and vulnerable children with food assistance, seeds and agricultural support.
•Sensitize and mobilize churches and community-based organizations to advocate for the rights of orphans, vulnerable children, and people living with HIV or AIDS.