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Orphan charity urges Kiwis to take extreme poverty challenge

Orphan charity urges Kiwis to take extreme poverty challenge

Orphans Aid International has today announced its participation in 2013’s Live Below the Line – a challenge that is the topic of conversation at water coolers and on Facebook feeds around the country.

Last night the event was officially launched with the charity Global Citizen Concert in Auckland’s Town Hall with Major Len Brown officiating. Musicians got in behind the cause performing pro-bono to a crowded venue of excited social justice advocates.

Artists included an entertaining Anika Moa, thought-provoking Jamie McDell, and the melodic Seth Haapu. Not to mention speaker-shattering performances by Tiki Taane and Maitreya. The Auckland Gospel Choir concluded with an inspiring finale.

Orphans Aid International are standing shoulder to shoulder with 20 other New Zealand charities – all working to end extreme poverty within this generation.

The charities, which include World Vision and the Fred Hollows Foundation, are in solidarity that this is a global team effort in which much more help is needed.

An initiative of the Global Poverty Project, the campaigners recently celebrated the reduction of the awful statistic – from 1.4 billion down 200 million to 1.2 billion.

However, every day around 19,000 children are dying due to poverty related causes. Orphans Aid International, which has projects in Europe, Russia, Asia and Africa are very passionate about rescuing the world’s most vulnerable children. They rescue abandoned infants and toddlers, as well as working with street children – all of who have no family to go to, and many of which are abandoned at birth.

The organisation has much to celebrate. Founded by Kiwi mum Sue van Schreven in 2004, she recently arrived home with a team of 13 Kiwi volunteers who have been helping children in extreme need in Romania and Russia. While away the New Zealand charity celebrated Romanian project, Casa Kiwi’s (Kiwi House) 9th birthday.

Among those celebrating was 12 year old Andrei. He was rescued by Sue from a hospital cot at age 3 in 2004. At that age he could not walk, talk, or eat solids – not due to disability, but due to neglect. The healthy and happy Andrei, who lives at the charity’s orphanage home with his younger sister Rosa, also celebrated his birthday recently. Having overcome cancer last year, he and the team had a lot to celebrate.

The team is also celebrating the everyday Kiwis who have already gotten behind their cause by signing up to do the Live Below the Line challenge. Already raising over $3,500 and with its regional teams currently positioned in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th place – it seems that Kiwis are caring for their cause – and planning their 5 days of living on $2.25 a day for food and drink coming up in September.

With a huge target of $100,000 they are urging Kiwis from around New Zealand (and abroad) to do their part by joining in, or sponsoring those who already are.

Founder and chief executive Sue van Schreven is very excited. “It’s a way for us all to get involved! To have conversations about what we can do for those in need – and then to actually participate in doing it.”

Van Schreven is not looking forward to the meals she will eat during the 5 days, but assures us it’s not as bad as what those in extreme poverty face. “For those without, that $2.25 has to cover their housing, medical, transport, clothing – and food! There’s no escaping poverty. We have an obligation to act. I’m driven by compassion. What if these abandoned children were my own? What wouldn’t I do to help?”

Kiwis are encouraged to explore the site and the charities mission at to learn about the life changing work.

Orphans Aid International is a Charitable Trust based from Queenstown, New Zealand, with aid projects in Romania, Russia, India and locally in New Zealand. It was founded in 2004 by then Invercargill resident, Sue van Schreven.


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