CT FundraiserBy: Malea Otranto

CHOSA is proud to announce that this past February, we successfully had our very first fundraiser here in South Africa! After months of planning – receiving a donation here, an auction item there – we were finally able to bring forty members of the community together in a night full of amazing speakers, great food, and an entertaining auction. The night started off with guests being welcomed with our program guide, an informational flyer with CHOSA’s mission statement, and a list of items that would be auctioned off later in the evening. Soon after diving into some great guacamole dip in the company of new friends, guests were seated and speeches began. We were fortunate to have Dr. Elelwani Ramugondo as our first speaker and our MC for the evening. Dr. Ramugondo, who is on CHOSA’s Board of Directors, has contributed greatly to our organization. She spoke of her initial motivation to become involved with CHOSA when our founder, Jared Sacks, took her to visit one of our partner projects. At the conclusion of the story, Dr. Ramugondo told guests, “What I saw there left me very convinced that as a South African, I had to be involved.”

Jared Sacks spoke next, sharing his inspiration to establish CHOSA. Guests smiled as he reminisced about being a 21-year-old study abroad student who, by the end of his semester, was practically skipping classes to volunteer every day. He already knew he wanted to make a difference, and founding CHOSA was how he would facilitate that change.

Zukie Mabuya, our Community Coordinator, then provided insight into the relationship between CHOSA, the townships, and the people we work with on a daily basis. Her wit and humor had the crowd captivated as she spoke of the children that CHOSA sees every day — their eager eyes and excitement when recognizing a familiar face.

After our donated, catered, and exceptionally delicious dinner, Elena Echevarria and Frank Kronenberg led the auction. One would never guess that Frank and Elena had no professional experience as auctioneers as their vibrant personalities had our guests laughing throughout the process! Thanks to various businesses throughout the area, we received twenty donated items to auction off. From paintings to wine tours, handcrafted jewelry to signed copies of Maika Ndlovu’s book, there was an auction item to fit everyone’s taste!

We are proud to say that our first South Africa-based fundraiser raised over 27,000 Rand ($3,000) for CHOSA and the children with whom we work! But it could not have happened all alone. Sheryl and Stanley Ginsburg graciously offered their home to host our event. Their hospitality is deeply appreciated and everyone at CHOSA is thankful for their contributions to our organization. We also thank everyone who has donated to our cause. From the donors of auction items to the guests who came to the event: you turned an average Saturday night into a night that CHOSA will never forget. It is because of you that change is made, slowly but surely. Here’s to you, and here’s to the next event that brings us together for a common cause.