PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (NBC33) - —
Most of us take for granted we can buy the pencils, paper, and other provisions for back to school. But in Africa, kids will actually resort to human trafficking just to get those school supplies.
Dan Ohlerking of Prairieville heads up an organization that's helping these forgotten children get an education and more importantly, hope and a future.
Dan loves kids. Not just the five of his own but the kids in poverty and disease stricken africa.
"When you see a kid laughing, who you know is hiv positive and hurting, lost both parents and all that,” says Ohlerking. “But you see that kid laughing and get to play. Those smiles are a creation of God. That just blows me away"
Dan's newest friend is simile. Just one of the hundreds of children he's met on his travels to Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Simile and these other kids hunger not only for food but for an education. And they'll do anything to get it.
"He knows he's gotta go to school,” says the Children’s Cup Director. “So the kids end up selling themselves as a child prostitute basically letting themselves be used by adults that are perverted so that he can have the fees so he can go to school and break out of all this."
That's why Dan is collecting school supplies at the Children's Cup office in Prairieville. Children's cup is the organization his late father, Dave Ohlerking founded in 1992. Their mission? To not just give a handout but to handout hope.
"To make a totally transformed community to break the cycle of poverty you have to start a new cycle and that is people finding out about Jesus, letting Jesus transform them from the inside out," explained Ohlerking.
Dan knows that transformation can begin with a book pack; filled not only with school supplies but smiles.
If you'd like to help the kids and send school supplies you can get involved in the back to school project by contacting www.Childrenscup.org . P.O. Box 400 Prairieville, La. 70769 or call 225-673-4505.
You get two backpacks; one to fill with school supplies the other to keep for yourself. There are drop off locations set up all around the Baton Rouge area.
La. Office supply, Chik Fila A-Cortana location, Salon Eden-Prairieville.
You can also drop them off at Healing Place Church on Highland Road in Baton Rouge.