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Do What You Can

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Do What You Can, Water Every Good Seed

Teddy Roosevelt said "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

That's what a whole network of dedicated people are doing through LIFE PROJECT FOR AFRICA (LPA), http://www.lifeprojectafrica.org, a volunteer-driven, smart-budget, grass-roots organization started in Ossining, a town in Westchester County, New York.

With the mission to save life and give hope to the poor in Tanzania, Africa, LPA supports services that promote health, provide education, tackle poverty, provide homes to the homeless, and support orphans and vulnerable children among very poor communities. We are part of this beautiful effort, serving as chief ambassador and fundraiser (Heidi) and friend to the cause (Russell).

LPA is by most measures a small foundation: building one hospital where there was none, supporting another health care dispensary, digging local wells where water was scarce, giving hope to some children when the future otherwise would look bleak. But one sick person made well, one life improved by safe, clean water, one child smiling because someone cares -- these are not small accomplishments in LPA¹s view. LPA has a unique ability to do great things with even the most modest resources, by placing those resources exactly where they are most needed and where they will do the most good at once, with a minimum of bureaucracy. Delivery of services is the goal.

Around Thanksgiving 2008, a 40-foot container left Ossining carrying supplies to support the people of Tanzania. The contents included medical supplies, schoolbooks and uniforms, and other assorted supplies, all of which were donated to Life Project without charge. The combined value of all the donated equipment and supplies exceeded $300,000. Two UM9 Ultrasound units were on board, bound for LPA¹s biggest project to date, the Njia Health Center serving a community of 122,000 people. LPA also partnered with Rotary International to drill a well at Njia, bringing clean, essential water to the health center in an area where 42% of people still live without improved water.

LPA, like so many projects investing all over Africa, is struggling to make a difference. But also like so many of these projects, LPA is succeeding in making a difference. The Board of LPA is made of smart, big-hearted people who infuse every program and fundraising effort with positive energy. We are finding people who are happy to lend their home for a fundraising event in Manhattan, or give medical equipment and supplies that are going to directly assist in Tanzania. People are stepping up to donate what they¹ve got to help this cause get the resources it needs. LPA founder Father Stephen Mosha is from Tanzania but now based at a church in the U.S. He¹s completely dedicated to helping his people and his heart is not far from the villages he returns to every chance he gets. With a base in New York, Fr Stephen has a small army of dedicated people helping him change the world, one ultrasound machine at time.

Do what you can today to water a good seed and be a driving force to make life better for one person or an entire village, right next door or on the other side of the world. It is contagious and it's fun. We promise you, soon you will find other people who share the vision. The next thing you know the world will be a little bit better than you found it.

With great love all things are possible.

Heidi Albertsen
Russell Simmons