Stand Up for Africa (SUA) is a community service group that fights for the eradication of poverty in Africa. It started off in 2009 when a handful of students from Sookmyung Women’s University founded this group in the hope of seeking a better life for those in Africa. During a lengthy trip around Kenya, the students were shaken by the impoverished community the deplete children were residing in, specifically the children of the Watoto Wema Orphanage Centre.
“Although we have started off with a small number of participants, the number has steadily increased over the past few years, and now we have 20 active members and a hundred more supporters,” said Choi Sun-ho (Yonsei University, 4), the administrative manager of SUA. “As we expand the group further on, we not only seek for the well-being of the Watoto Wema Orphanage Centre that we directly support, but also for each and every person in Africa who suffers from a lack of basic necessities on a daily basis.”
The medium of SUA’s fundraising is unique; members host café events selling African coffee. This is more meaningful to them because they become circulators who return the money to the place where the marketed items come from.
“We host one to two special café events each semester, and customers who attend them are genuinely satisfied,” said Park Se-young (International Office, 2), the publicity manager of SUA. “We change the coffee species we use in our events every year, and we also sell African bracelets, necklaces and traditional hand-made African Chin-Chin cookies, an item with excelling popularity over other items among customers.”
To be a SUA member, traits such as perseverance, compassion and cooperation are necessary. Even in times when they face conflicts, they are driven to progress for their mission: Stand up for Africa.
Among customers, SUA members also frequently encounter people who express their benevolence and support in the most unexpected ways. They occasionally receive e-mails from people who are enthusiastic about donating to SUA, which enhances their community service spirit.
“One time when we were hosting a café event, a foreigner entered and ordered a cup of Americano. He paid a price higher than its original price,” Choi said. “When we returned the extra money along with his coffee, he said, ‘Keep the change,’ and walked towards the exit. He left a deep impression on us, and is certainly one of the most unforgettable customers we have met.”
All donations raised in SUA events are entirely sent to the Watoto Wema Orphanage Centre in Kenya, and are spent in areas that need repairment. The SUA constantly receives feedbacks from the orphanage and is provided with sufficient information about the development progress. As a result, children in Watoto Wema Orphanage Centre are now in a better environment than before.
“The orphanage was in the most adverse conditions one could possibly imagine when the earliest members visited Kenya back in 2009,” Choi said. “SUA’s incessant support and donation provided the orphanage a chance to step up to a higher level of living conditions.”
Choi expressed the members’ conviction to attain an extermination of continent-wide poverty in Africa.
“I know it may sound absurd and seem like an illusion to the majority of contemporary people,” Choi said. “Albeit its assumed impossibility, SUA members and I will constantly work towards our vision and conviction: To find a better, finer life for the people of Africa.”