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Bracelets Ignite a Community

Eleven-year-old Carrie-Anne Bauer has a dream. She wants to raise enough money to build a medical centre in Zimbabwe to help AIDS orphans, and she's half-way there.

"God has dreams for everyone and, if you ask Him, He will show them to you," says Carrie-Anne Bauer. She should know. The 11-year-old is almost halfway to her goal of raising $50,000 to help AIDS orphans in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Carrie-Anne Bauer is well on her way to raising $50,000 to help AIDS orphans in Harare, Zimbabwe. "God has dreams for everyone."

Two years ago, Bauer saw a mission presentation about AIDS and children dying in hunger and poverty. Her mother credits the speaker's words for their dramatic impact on her daughter, their church and their home community of Perth, Ontario.

"I cried myself to sleep for two nights," Bauer says. "And I asked my mom what we could do to help."

The mother-daughter duo contacted missionaries working with the Villages of Hope in Zimbabwe, a project of Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO), and found out that $5,000 would furnish a home for orphans, $30,000 would build one and $50,000 would establish a medical clinic. Carrie-Anne chose the $50,000 goal because "I know that with God's help we can do it," she says.

For the first year, the Bauer duo and a girlfriend tried a number of fundraising ideas, including yard sales, bake sales and barbeques. At the end of the year, they had raised about $1,000. Then Pam Bauer attended a women's retreat where someone was selling bracelets as a mission fundraiser, and she thought, "We can make these."

The idea took off immediately. Carrie-Anne and her friend Rachel raised $930 in just three days by setting up a table to sell the bracelets in their school. To date, they've raised almost $20,000.

Pam Bauer sees the bracelets as a galvanizing force in their community. Twelve local businesses are selling them, the town paper has run stories and volunteers have stepped forward to help with bracelet production. Pam Bauer hosts weekly "beading parties" in her home. On one of those evenings, a woman attended who is originally from Zimbabwe.

"I love coming here," she said. "Sitting around the table and sharing our lives echoes what I remember of my country—the women sitting beside the road singing and talking and weaving baskets."

Carrie-Anne Bauer is certain she'll reach her goal. What will she do then? Her church is planning a mission trip to Zimbabwe, and she has her eye on raising more money to build an orphans' home.

To find out more or to make a donation, visit

Originally published in Faith Today, May/June 2007.




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