Project AIDS Orphan grew out of a working relationship between two men; one Kenyan and the other American. Both men are medical professionals with a desire to serve some of the neediest people in Africa. David Okong’o and Paul Bilak, nurse practitioners, worked together in Kenya and surrounding rural clinics for two years before joining efforts with their wives to assist a small group of children from a rural community near Lake Victoria. It is here that some years ago, Mr. Okong’o had the dream of building an atypical orphanage where children could be cared for in their home village by surviving relatives.
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Project AIDS Orphan is a non-profit organization supporting children who have been orphaned by the AIDS crisis in East Africa. Funding goes directly towards Mission House of Hope, which provides food, clothing, health care and education to AIDS orphans in Kenya. Stateside, the goal is to create an awareness of the African AIDS crisis, educate individuals about how they can help and raise funds for these children. Project AIDS Orphan is a tax exempt pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), and most donations are tax deductible. (above two paragraphs taken directly from the Project AIDS Orphan website)
Mr. Bilak and his family moved back to the states and made their home in Paducah, Kentucky. Even though they were no longer living in Africa, they still wanted to make a difference and do their part to help. In 2007, they decided to host a benefit 5K called the One World Run. It has been held every year since then in Noble Park in Paducah, Kentucky. Funding has gone directly towards Mission House of Hope, which provides food, clothing, health care, and education and educational supplies to the orphans in Kenya. The proceeds have also gone toward the building of a medical clinic in rural Kenya.
Most large corporations won’t support the One World Run financially because it “doesn’t directly benefit people in the United States of America.” In the words of the late Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” My inner voice is telling me that we are benefitting because we are helping others in much more dire need than our own. The children in our area are learning the importance of community and giving and helping others. In the words of Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” That is the kind of character building we want to do.
Thank you to all who participate for doing your part in improving the world. The One World Run at NRC has raised more than $20,275 over the past seven years for Project AIDS Orphan. It is exciting to be a part of the bigger picture to make a difference in the lives of the people in Kandaria, Kenya.
The One World Run 2018 will take place on 17 November 2018 at the Norrisville Rec Complex. Packet pick-up for preregistered participants and same-day registration will begin at 8 AM. A stretching and warm-up activity will begin at 8:30 AM for those interested participants. Registration will close at 8:50 AM and the race will begin at 9:00 AM, with a kid’s fun run to follow at 10:00 AM. The race will be timed and awards will be given to the first three finishers in 7 age categories, as well as to the largest youth group involved and overall winner for the male and female divisions.
You can contact that site’s race director at firstname.lastname@example.org to register, answer questions, or volunteer.