Velma Kirksey-Tarver is back in Shreveport after spending two weeks in Ethiopia, where the organization she founded helps children who are living under dire circumstances.

“I know what would have happened to these children had they not been in our program.”

Tarver wants to secure 100 new sponsors for the Institute for Global Outreach.  Sponsors are able to help children in Africa who have the greatest needs.  95 percent of them are orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS.  70 percent of the children are also HIV positive.

“It’s a rewarding feeling because I understand, I really do understand that without our support these children and families would still be suffering.”

This trip was Tarver’s first time back in Africa in two and a half years.

“To see how these children have grown.  Little girls are now young ladies.  My little boys are now young men.”

This trip is necessary to show sponsors where their dollars are going.  For less than $6 a week, the public can sponsor a child. 

“I’m so grateful to say that we don’t have children here that are starving to death.  The major difference, there are no social services.  When I say that if we don’t help this child, the child doesn’t get any help.  That’s the truth.”