The Nata Village Blog

The Nata Village Blog

November 30, 2006 06:30 ET

The Nata Village Blog: Canadian Blogger Offers Hope in Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Weblog Raises Thousands for Small Village in Africa

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 30, 2006) - International AIDS Day brings awareness to a global problem many see as insurmountable. A Saskatchewan-born blogger has proven that an individual gesture can make a difference.

Jon Rawlinson was touring through Botswana when he stumbled across the village of Nata, a place tour books referred to as nothing more than a dust hole. The visit opened his eyes to the devastating effect HIV/AIDS can have on a small community. Moved by the pandemic that left this small village with over 400 orphans, he was determined to help.

Rawlinson created The Nata Village Blog to raise awareness and funds. While millions of dollars in aid pour into Africa, remote villages like Nata rarely receive the benefits of this generosity. The project is unique in that every cent of every donation goes directly to the people.

Natavillage.org launched in March 2006. Since then, it has received more success than Rawlinson ever imagined. In June, it landed a feature spot on the popular videoblog Rocketboom. Rawlinson put together a video profiling the village, which aired on Current TV in the United States. Retailer The Gap featured the video on its website in support of its Red Campaign. "This has all been such great exposure for the village," says Rawlinson.

The site is updated regularly by Peace Corps Volunteer, Melody Jenkins and village native Martha Ramaditse. Showcasing personal stories, photos, and videos, the blog gives readers an inside look at the struggles of Nata, allowing donors the opportunity to see first-hand where their money is going. Thousands of dollars have been raised, and the village has appointed a board of six trustees who decide how the money is best spent. Donations thus far have helped promote HIV/AIDS awareness in the village, provided hospital transportation for the sick, offered support to orphans, and eased the daily life of the villagers. The Nata Village Blog hopes to raise enough money to build an orphan care centre. "If people could just see what I have seen" says Rawlinson "they too would want to help."

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