Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Working Together for the Good of Others

This is a blog about a good friend of mine who has started a non-profit in order to provide food and critical vitamins to malnourished children in Zambia, Africa. You can actually help in very simple ways - simply by liking Umweo Bags on FB and sharing the link. Grace and peace - Brian

In an effort to raise awareness, friends of Umweo Bags will donate over $600 to this amazing cause if Umweo Bags receives over 250 likes on their Facebook page, along with receiving at least 60 shares on FB and 20 new followers on Twitter by December 25.

Umweo Bags is a non-profit organization (pulling together the final paperwork for being incorporated as a 501(c)3 as you read) that was started in 2010 by Ana Rich. While on a mission trip in Zambia, with her church - the Vineyard Church of New Orleans. Ana had the opportunity to visit a malnutrition clinic in the town of Kitwe. This clinic is a place where children in the community who are malnourished are brought, most often by their parents, to be given a chance at surviving in life. While at the clinic, children are cared for by nurses who do all that they can to provide care, nutrition, vitamins and food to these children; to nurse them back to health so that they may return home to their families, healthy. At the time that Ana was visiting the clinic, there were close to 15 children being cared for and nursed back to health.

Upon returning to New Orleans from her trip to Zambia, Africa, Ana had an overwhelming desire to help, to work to figure out how she could play a part in helping these children survive. While in Zambia, Ana had the opportunity to go to market one day. While there she purchased a handmade bag from one of the local merchants. It was this bag that enlarged Ana’s imagination as she considered ways that she could help those children who are clinging to life over 9000 miles away.

After weeks of thinking and praying, Ana pulled out her old sewing machine, though she had only minor sewing skills, and began to play around with fabric and designs to try and replicate the bag that she had purchased at market. Within a few days, Ana had finally landed on her own unique pattern for the purses. And thus Umweo Bags was born.

Umweo Bags are all made out of fabrics full of vibrant colors that in some way reflect the culture of Zambia.  Bags are sold for $30 and every penny that is profit is now sent to the malnutrition clinic in Kitwe and is used to purchase the necessary food and vitamin supplements for the children.  Over the last year and a half, Ana has empowered a number of other women in the community to also make bags and today, every Umweo Bag is handmade by Ana and 5 of her friends.

To date, Umweo Bags has sent $2,675 to the malnutrition clinic which in turn has allowed the clinic to purchase food. The clinic usually only has enough funding to purchase formula. However, children over 8 months old are in need of solid foods in order to get the nutrients they need to regain their health. The money that Umweo Bags sends to the clinic enables the clinic to purchase the necessary solids, such as, fruits, mealie meal, ground nuts for protein and more.

Here are some other sobering numbers:
·         People travel anywhere from 10 miles to 150 miles in order to find help at the clinic
·         Children stay anywhere from 7 days to 30 days at the clinic
·         There is a dietician and 3 nurses that work at the clinic
·         The clinic has anywhere from 12 children to 32 a time 
·         There are only 25 beds at the clinic

Since Umweo Bags partnered with the clinic in 2010, over 95 children have been nursed back to health and have returned to their homes nourished and healthy.

It is our heart at Umweo Bags to continue to provide as much as we can financially to this clinic to provide these children with the food and vitamins they need to survive - to provide life.

Here’s how you can help:
1.       Like Umweo Bags Facebook page (here)
2.       Share Umweo Bags page on Facebook (here)
3.       Follow Umweo Bags on Twitter @umweobags

In addition to this, you may always purchase an Umweo Bag at or donate directly to Umweo Bags at