The Elephant in South Africa
What started as a safari Elephant tour, turned into the adventure of a lifetime, and the beginning of a new life for many others. Martha Cummings, current Executive Director of Universal Promise, planned a vacation to Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa, for her 50th birthday, only to find out that the safari wasn't the wild ride. At the safari lodge, Martha asked her waiter and translator Moses if he would take her to his town, Nomathamsanqa. "As a lifelong educator, I wanted to view the extent to which apartheid still infected schools and society" says Martha. When touring the town, Martha recalls a moment when she mistook the main building of a primary school for an abandoned and condemned building. What stuck out to her like the elephant in the room, was that this building had to go. Martha says "It reflected a chokehold on progress and the insidiousness of the legally debunked apartheid regime." This filled her head with a magnitude of ideas for a better purpose for the building.
Martha returned in 2010 and sat down with young staff members at her game lodge. When she asked what they aspired to be, she noticed all of their answers replied with “I wanted”. I wanted to be a nurse or I wanted to be an EMT. Martha realized their ideas of future opportunities and dreams were no longer relevant, and at such a young age. One staff member, Luyanda, put his hand over hers and said, “Oh, mama, those dreams are over for us now.” But that condemned building Martha had seen, stuck out to her once more as a new opportunity. Eight years later, this building became the Universal Promise Academic Centre with the main hall named after Moses.Nonprofit work is a challenge, especially in a foreign country and Martha wanted to make sure that her efforts were not a "short-lived promise". She focuses on sustainability for the Xhosa community.
On Martha's recent trip, her team of 40 healthcare professionals used their MDF Instruments stethoscopes, sphygmomanometers and reflex hammers to provide medical attention to the community. Their focus on this mission was concentrated on obesity, hypertension, diabetes, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs. Martha has created more than she ever thought she would on her first vacation to South Africa, now it might as well be her second home. To learn more about how you can help with either 1$ a day or volunteering visit their website at https://www.universalpromise.org/sponsorship
MDF is humbled to be partners with Martha and Universal Promise, “it is our duty to the world to be as cohesive and compassionate to each other as possible in order to achieve the same goal of creating more positive moments in every life as possible” #CraftingWellness
"It is within our heart to give and smile at every step of the way. All small things come together and are always stronger with faith in a better future"
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