Editor’s Note: The following was submitted on behalf of a former Sherburne resident who is currently in Kathmandu, Nepal.
NEPAL – When disaster strikes, especially in third world countries, children who have lost their families become easy targets for traffickers, these children are labeled “at risk”.
On the morning of April 26th, when former Sherburne resident Cathleen Angelo learned of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on the night before, destroying large parts of the capital Kathmandu and causing devastation across the impoverished Himalayan nation, she immediately started making plans to get there as quickly as she could.
She had been to Nepal before on an anti-Human Trafficking mission and knew what was about to happen. “When disasters like this here strike, especially in third world countries, families are separated and a lot of young girls fall victim to these traffickers,” Angelo explains via text message from the ground in Kathmandu. “Men cross the border over from India and prey on the young girls, often left alone in the streets. And so begins the cycle.”
As reported in the August 1, 2014 edition of The Evening Sun, Angelo runs an organization called Fighting for Futures (www.fightingforfutures.org). Inspired by a 2009 trip to Cambodia, where she met a 12-year-old girl named Chantyselling books on the street, and witnessed first-hand the realities that children in 3rd world nations face, she knew that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping children.
Upon return to the US, Cathleen formed Fighting for Futures with her close friend Tammy Warner. They began by organizing fundraisers to help send young Chanty in Cambodia to school. Within six months they raised enough money to enroll Chanty in a local school.
Since then the organization has grown to include a wealth of artists, musicians, singers, rappers, activists and more, who work together to produce workshops and events around the world, designed to shed light on and educate the youth about the intricacies of human trafficking the world over. Their travels have taken them to not only Nepal and Cambodia, but also Vietnam, Thailand, India, Mexico and Guatemala.
All of those trips were planned out for months in advance. Two weeks ago, Cathleen, who raps under the moniker feleciacruz, and singer/songwriter Adrienne Mack-Davis were preparing for an east coast tour of sorts, with shows scheduled in Philadelphia, and all stops along the way to their new home in Boston. All plans changed when they got the news from Nepal.
Unsure where to start, the duo began brainstorming about what they could do, and how they could raise the money to do it. A text message to an old friend, proved to be fruitful, when Hannibal Buress replied with a will to help. The comedian decided to fund their entire trip. “Fighting for Futures is an excellent group that's doing great work around the world,” Buress says. “They're very passionate about helping others in need.”
After a long day of clearing the rubble of broken buildings in the village of Bungamati, dodging another 7.4 earthquake and dealing with tremors as they come more regularly by the hour, Adrienne Mack-Davis reflects on her first tour with Fighting for Futures, and explains why spreading this message of positivity around the world became such a mission for her. "With my music, I know that I have a voice that inspires others to listen," Adrienne Mack-Davis texts from the village of Bungamati. "I've always been driven to bridge the two worlds of live music and service to others. FFF provides me with the opportunity to connect with different cultures across the world and find creative ways to give back through my art."
And that, and a little elbow grease can change the world. Learn more about Fighting for Futures at www.fightingforfutures.org.
– Submitted by Matt Sonzala of Pushermania