In the past year the congregation has contributed $4,000 to support 25 girls in continuing their education past the fifth grade.
In the summer of 2004 Laws visited the son and daughter-in-law of UUCV members Dan and Joan Bechtel, who work in Mozambique: Peter Bechtel is a manager of a national park there, and Ruth Bechtel, a native of neighboring Swaziland, directs education and aids prevention projects for Oxfam Great Britain. On her visit Laws discovered that just $150 would support a girl to continue in school for a year. Girls need to live in a town or city to complete sixth or seventh grade. Some then go to vocational school for training as midwives, nurses, or elementary school teachers.
Raising the $4,000 wasn’t hard, Laws said. “When people heard how much of a difference we could make in these girls’ lives, everyone wanted to help.”
The congregation also raised $4,000 from the community, including Dickinson College students and faculty, to buy drought-resistant seeds to help 40,000 people raise their own food for a year rather than rely on food aid. The church is considering additional drought-related projects, including seed storage facilities. For additional information, contact Laws at firstname.lastname@example.org.