Students raise money for South African orphanage
By Joan Riggers
In the fall of 2006, my daughter, Brenna Riggers, saved enough money to take herself to South Africa.  Her destination was Bethany Place of Safety, an orphanage run by Sister Mary Paule Tacke formerly of Cottonwood, Id.  The orphanage is for children who have been abandoned.  While there, Brenna helped to take care of 90 plus children who were only a few hours old to age 6 years old.  As soon as Brenna arrived, she saw that the children did not have a playground or any outside toys.  Through donations from the surrounding communities, Brenna was able to have a small play structure built for the children.  Previously, they had been playing in the dirt.  She said it was amazing to see their faces the first time they played on the structure.  She returned to the States in the spring of 2007 with the plan of returning this summer to help again. 
Brenna has been kind enough to invite me to go with her this summer.  We will be traveling to Mthatha, South Africa to volunteer at the orphanage.  It was our hope to bring with us to Bethany needed items such as: band aids, rubber gloves, coloring books, crayons, water color paints, pre-school toys, soccer balls, kick balls, children’s toothbrushes, children’s toothpaste and rubber gloves for the workers.  The students at Prairie Elementary School made a commitment to help out the children of Bethany.  The fundraising began on May 9th.  I presented a slide show to the students to kick off the fundraiser.  Then a container was placed in each classroom.   The students in my classroom also planned a baked food sale and sold old movies and books.  It was a hope to raise a couple hundred dollars for the children at Bethany.  
As of this date, the children and their parents have contributed a little over $3,000.00 dollars to assist the orphanage.   It is truly amazing to me.  The real story in this is the community of Cottonwood.  Over the years, this little community has “adopted” this orphanage and contributed thousands of dollars.  The giving never ends as the people here have such large, giving hearts.  
I have contacted those in charge at Bethany and they are truly touched.  Obviously, our little fundraising effort has gone far beyond what we had originally planned.    They have need of the finances for some larger projects on their wish list.  Brenna and I will be able to be a part of the decision on what the funds will be used for once we arrive.  I feel so very fortunate to be entrusted with the funds from this community and even more to be able to travel there personally and help by volunteering.  We will leave on the 25th of June.  The day before we leave all funds will be transferred to the Bethany Account.  If anyone wishes to contribute, there is an account set up at Wells Fargo Bank.  It is titled Bethany Fund in care of Joan Riggers.                               

A closeup of the students and another picture showing the wall behind them.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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