Journalism Next from Manatee High School: The Little Elephant charity in Mozambique was established by Manatee student

The Little Elephant charity in Mozambique established by Manatee student

Special to the HeraldFebruary 25, 2013 

What do Mozambique, Africa and Manatee both have in common, junior Leah Rothfeld. Not only is she an AP-plus student, but she has formed her very own charity titled The Little Elephant, in hopes of helping boys in Africa who are in unfortunate circumstances through a program called Masana.

This organization is a safe place for boys who choose to take themselves off the streets to try and receive a better life. Boys are placed in housing for a month depending on their progress with their mentors and movement within the program. They also provide the boys with a day center where any boy under 18 can receive the basic essentials such as clean clothes, food and a shower. Here, they also can receive education on various subjects and learn more about Biblical studies. The goal for the boys who enter this program is that one day they can enter their community and make a lasting difference. Rothfeld's cousin works in Mozambique, which is how she became oriented with this organization. When Rothfeld heard of this program, she knew instantly that she had to spread awareness.

"I got in contact with an administrator there to learn more about Masana. All it took was one visit to Masana's website for me to completely fall in love with the organization's mission. What I find really special about the boys' home is that each boy made the decision on his own to enter the program and leave the life of begging on the streets of Maputo, Mozambique. This means that Masana has an extremely high success rate because every boy is extremely motivated to make the change and get his life back on track," said Rothfeld.

The drive she had after "falling" for the cause led Rothfeld to create The Little Elephant.

"The Little Elephant was started in July with volunteer help from friends at Manatee and 100 percent of The Little Elephant's proceeds benefit Masana," said Rothfeld.

Once committed to this cause Rothfeld started fundraising around campus and gathered other students from MHS to spread the word.

"The Little Elephant's projects have included car washes, garage sales, selling our blue signature embossed "The Little Elephant" bracelets, and donations," said Rothfeld.

All of these fundraisers have raised a total of $1,126.69 as of January. Rothfeld was ecstatic upon sending the first check to Masana.

"Mailing off the first check for over $1,100 was the best feeling ever. The administrator I've been in contact with at the boys' home informed me that $700 is all it takes to feed the 30 boys at the home for an entire month, so $700 was our goal for the first check. It's so exciting that we've not only met our first goal, but greatly exceeded it," said Rothfeld.

She has expanded this charity to social media, where she created a Facebook page titled The Little Elephant. This page informs anyone who is interested in Masana how to get involved and how to donate to this important cause.

Rothfeld is driven to raising more money and expanding The Little Elephant around the community. She needs more help from those who are willing and wants to spread awareness to this important cause.

"Everyone has been so generous in giving to The Little Elephant. We've received many donations, and it's so neat to see everyone working together. We're raising money faster than I imagined we would, and I can't wait to raise even more in the future," said Rothfeld.

Donations can be made by contacting Leah Rothfeld. For more information on this charity go to Masana.org, The Little Elephants Facebook page or by e-mail at thelittlelephantproject@gmail.com. Through one donation you are not only saving a life, but creating a better tomorrow for children in the Masana program.

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