Sunday, August 22, 2010
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About 5 years ago, I was inspired to cofound an international nonprofit charitable organization called The Meriwether Foundation. Motivated by the work my parents did in the early 1980s, the foundation focuses on operating medical and healthcare clinics, sustaining HIV/AIDS orphanages, and establishing community and agricultural projects in rural Southern Africa. Further, in response to the dire need for education at all levels, we have founded schools ranging from preschool to a health science college.
(FEEDING PROGRAM FOR ORPHANS, ZITHA VILLAGE)
(ORGANIC GARDEN, EASTLINGTON VILLAGE)
In the early 1980s, my father, Dr. Wilhelm D. Meriwether, traveled with my mother to South Africa to dedicate 8 years of service as a missionary medical doctor. While he worked pro bono in clinics and hospitals, my mother established projects in impoverished villages to motivate economic empowerment. For example, she initiated programs that encouraged villagers to make and sell indigenous arts and crafts to support their families. She promoted feeding schemes for the malnourished and implemented agricultural projects to help meet dietary needs. To this day, whenever my family travels back to the villages my parents worked in, people will sing and dance upon our arrival, grateful for my parents’ selfless dedication.
The Meriwether family has continued to support the needy in Africa both remotely from the US and by organizing trips to the region to raise awareness of the myriad issues still plaguing it. These groups have consisted of students, volunteers, physicians, healthcare and nonhealthcare workers, and even a white house fellows delegation. In 2005, we formally established The Meriwether Foundation, and we have since achieved a 501(C)(3) nonprofit status.
(CHITINGWIZA HOSPITAL, ZIMBABWE)
Through my work with the foundation in Southern Africa, I have been blessed to engage in wonderfully enriching experiences. I have helped drill bore holes to provide water for villages whose closest access to water was from rivers or streams several miles away. I have worked to provide food, school fees, uniforms, education and counseling to orphans affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have made bricks from water and river sand to lay new foundations for better village housing. I have provided medical service to the sick while shadowing my father in rural hospitals and clinics. I have fed, played with and taught preschool and primary school students. In the footsteps of my mother, I have helped provide agricultural and medical supplies, clothing, laptops, school books and so much more. I have sat on a committee to plan the curriculum for the health science college founded by The Meriwether Foundation that helps train physician assistants, home base caregivers and other healthcare workers. I am absolutely thrilled to continue this ongoing work through The Meriwether Foundation.
(ROOFING THE ORPHANAGE, ZITHA VILLAGE)
I am so grateful to my parents for paving the way so that I and so many others may help those less privileged in Southern Africa. We have projects in 6 countries, namely South Africa, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zambia. These projects could never exist without continued support from our friends and colleagues here in the US, so I would like to extend to all of you an invitation to volunteer or fund any of our current or future projects.
For more information please email: Missions@MeriwetherFoundation.org. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!!
Ps. Our next trip to South Africa will be in December. If you would like to join, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email the above posted Meriwether Foundation email.