By Devlin Smith

As sixth graders friends Dorothy Goodwin, Lauren Flynn and Olivia Overington started Peace Love Cupcakes, selling cupcakes to raise money for local causes. Now in high school, the girls continue to make and sell cupcakes, with African Well Fund their latest beneficiary.

Peace Love Cupcakes will be hosting a cupcake sale on March 21 at the Market Basket in Westford, Massachusetts. You can support the fundraiser by purchasing cupcakes at the event or making a donation through the Peace Love Cupcakes Crowdrise page and help the girls reach their goal of raising $15,000 for AWF.

Dorothy, Lauren and Olivia answered a few questions about Peace Love Cupcakes and making an impact on the world.

How did Peace Love Cupcakes get started?
Peace Love Cupcakes began when we were in sixth grade. We decided we wanted to give back to our community while doing something we loved, which is baking. And thus, Peace Love Cupcakes was created.

What causes and organizations have you supported in the past?
We have supported MSPCA, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, the Ellie Fund, House of Hope, and now the African Well Fund.

Why did you decide to raise money for AWF?
We decided to raise money for the African Well Fund because water is an essential aspect of a healthy life and we feel it's necessary to help bring it to other people in the world.

What is your goal for the fundraiser?
We hope to raise $15,000 to build a borehole well providing a community with clean water, and to hopefully spread our message of philanthropy along the way.

When did it start?
It started at the beginning of our freshman year, in September of 2013.

When will it end?
We hope to reach our goal and finish this project in our senior year, spring of 2017.

How can people support your fundraiser?
People can support our fundraiser by coming to our cupcake stands and purchasing cupcakes or donating. They can also donate through the secure link on our website, People can also help support us by becoming part of our sponsor program.

What kind of reaction have you gotten to your fundraiser?
People tend to be very surprised that we started giving back at such a young age. And, once they hear about our current project, they are very supportive. They are often taken aback by our age and the fact that this is a mission independent from our school. In addition, friends and family support us and encourage us to continue our efforts and complete strangers have been very positive and helpful.

How are you spreading the word?
We get our word out through our personal social media and on our website, In the past, we have been featured in newspapers and that has sent word around about our project.

Why is it important for you to work for causes like AWF?
It is important to work for such causes because spreading philanthropy and charitable notions is very important to us. We understand that this is just a small part of a bigger picture, but we firmly believe that everyone must do his or her part in order to make the positive progress we all wish to see in our world.

What advice do you have for other kids who want to start their own fundraisers?
Our best advice is to start small and do as much as you can to improve your efforts as you go. Things may turn out differently than your original expectations, but as long as you are interested in your work and feel you are making the impact you wish to, then keep going.

When we were younger, we started this mainly as a fun activity for us to do together. But as time has gone by and we have matured, we've begun to see the impact people can make when they come together with the common goal of bettering the world we live in.

This project has taught us not only about the world, economics, and different cultures, but also about whom we are as people, what we're passionate about, and how we can make a difference. With Peace Love Cupcakes, we have found inspiration for ourselves and hope to do the same for others.

For the eighth year in a row, Elsha Stockseth is selling holiday cards, with proceeds benefiting the African Well Fund. Cards available for purchase include the new design "Running," which was inspired by the races Stockseth, who has muscular dystrophy, has participated in this year with race partners. The card depicts Stockseth being pushed across the finish line by a snowman, with another snowman and a penguin close behind.

"It is really fun because I have a bunch of hidden stuff in the card," Stockseth said. "I would love to do a race with U2."

Inside, the card reads, "Running down the road to say Have a Magnificent Day."

The 5- x 7-inch cards are available through Stockseth's website for $1 each, with 10 cents from each purchase being donated to AWF. Shipping charges vary based on the number of cards ordered.

Stockseth is also offering four other card designs: "Light," which features the Three Wise Men in a nativity scene and reads, "May love light up your Christmas tree" inside; "Waves," featuring a surfing snowman and reading, "Wishing you a Beautiful Day filled with waves of joy!"; "Dreams," which features a snowman dreaming in his blue room and reads, "... and may your dreams be realized;" and "Rudy," a reindeer card that reads, "Warm Season's Greetings" inside.

Last year, Stockseth sold 2,300 holiday cards.

To purchase Stockseth's holiday cards, click here.

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Today is World Toilet Day. It may not be considered a polite dinner conversation topic, but ensuring access to clean water and sanitation facilities like latrines is one of the most important global public health issues. Thousands in the developing world, primarily children, die every day of preventable water-borne illnesses. People are forced to walk for miles to fetch potable water. When schools don't have clean water or sanitation facilities, many children simply don't show up, especially girls who have reached puberty, and students who do attend tend to find themselves in difficult and unsafe learning environments. This reality is far more disturbing than talking about toilets.

Africare, the African Well Fund and the Batonga Foundation are recognizing World Toilet Day with the launch of a Water & Sanitation project in three schools in Benin. In Benin's commune of Berembeke, less than 30% of students who are enrolled actually attend school, and although Berembeke is a higher-traffic city in Benin for people and goods, the local water and sanitation situation is poor. Cholera and diarrhea are endemic, and the high mortality rate is worsening. The new project will collaborate with the local population to improve clean water access and sanitation in three schools, upgrading the learning environment and enhancing public health in this important crossroads region.

To achieve sustainability, the project will contract with Association pour la Santé et la Médecine Africaine, a local non-governmental organization, and will collaborate with school authorities, students, parents' associations and other local stakeholders. Depending on the specific needs of each school, the schools will be connected to Benin's Rural Water Supply system, and they will receive improved latrine facilities and hand-washing stations. Murals by local artists and education sessions will teach pupils how to keep themselves safe from water-borne diseases, and each school will establish a committee with students and teachers to properly maintain their new infrastructure.

Africare and the African Well Fund have partnered on clean water access projects for more than a decade, and the Batonga Foundation partnered with both organizations on a similar project as recently as 2012 that benefited 630 students across four schools. Water and sanitation are major issues with straightforward solutions. Bring them up tonight at dinner.

November 19 is World Toilet Day, a day recognized by the UN to address a taboo subject - poop!

Lack of improved sanitation is a serious problem, and the leading cause of infections globally. Sanitation and hygiene are critical to in the prevention of diarrhea and yet, according to, only 63% of the world's population has access to improved sanitation. More people have cell phones, than a toilet!

Sanitation projects and hygiene education are an important part of the mission of African Well Fund. We are asking our supporters to help draw attention to this important issue by using your cell phone to text at least 2 friends the following message:

More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
Nov 19 is World Toilet Day
Help spread awareness by texting this to 2 friends

Please join us in this campaign to help spread awareness of this important issue.

And check back on Nov. 19th for an exciting new project announcement!

by Devlin Smith

Earlier this year, members of the Alpha Delta Lambda sorority at Union College in Schenectady, New York, took a handmade well and bucket around campus to educate their classmates about the global water crisis. In the process, the members of the philanthropy-focused sorority raised over $200 for the African Well Fund.

ADL Philanthropy Chair Kylie Gorski shared why ADL wanted to raise money for AWF, the impact the fundraiser had on the sorority and how to raise awareness for important causes on a college campus.

Why did you want to fundraise for AWF?
We wanted to fundraise for the AWF not only because it is a worthy cause and a trustworthy organization, but it would give our organization the chance to expand the help we do from local and national to international.

Can you share more about the changes you and your sisters have made in your daily routines after learning about the global water crisis?
We have all made personal strides to conserve our water use with the help of our sisters who are majoring in environmental studies. Most of our sisters now use reusable water bottles in an attempt to stop treating water as a sell-able product. We are thinking of engaging in the Water Project's water challenge [drinking only water for two weeks and donating the money you saved on drink purchases to a water organization] and encouraging the campus to do so sometime next term. There has also been talk of donating the money we raise from our annual, non-negotiable car wash (which uses a lot of water) to the AWF in an attempt to even-out our carbon footprint, in a sense. We all do simple things as a result of our newfound appreciation for water as a privilege, like shutting off the water when we brush our teeth.

What advice do you have for other college groups that want to support a cause like AWF?
I think the best way to promote an event for the AWF on college campuses, or any event on college campuses, is to be different and to be loud. Shout at people, bring them out of their pre-class haze, stand on tables, sneak into the radio station and use the telecom, be subversive - this is something people should be shocked and surprised by. Wake them up - wear T-shirts, do movie screenings. Work with the system, not within it. And always, always, offer food -- buy Chipotle and they will come.

Why do you believe it's important to support a group like AWF?
It is so, so important to support the AWF! Not only is it important to support other humans in their basic rights (in my opinion, access to clean water should be a basic human right) but it's also a great way to make Americans (and people from other well-developed countries) realize their own privilege and how it can harm others. In the States, particularly the Northeast, water conservation isn't really a concept often thought of. We can get water almost anywhere, at any time: the bookstore, the coffee shop, school hallways for free, public fountains. We can buy water that's filtered through volcanoes in Fiji or streams in Poland. But, women in Africa have to walk miles and miles just to get some water that is even drinkable. People should support the AWF because water is not a product, it's a requirement for life, and it's actually pretty easy to help others gain access to it: so why wouldn't people want to help?

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