For the Rhodes family, fundraising for ChildFund has been a healing experience.
“We experienced a devastating tragedy when we lost my brother Gavin and his family several years ago, and we were able to channel our grief into raising money for ChildFund and helping the beautiful village of Pha-En in northern Laos,” Melissa says.
“The support we have received from our family and friends who feel the same way we do, has been very comforting and helped us through a very difficult time.”
For Melissa’s sons Elliot and Marshall, being a part of the fundraising activities has also helped broaden their understanding of others around the world.
“I think it is so great for Elliot and Marshall to see how they can help children who are not as fortunate as they are,” Melissa says. “It is wonderful for them to see how generous people are. And that it isn’t hard for them to take time out of their lives to try and help others, and for them to feel what a rewarding experience this is as well.”
Over the years, the Rhodes family and their friends have fundraised to build a preschool and community meeting hall in Pha-En village, in memory of Gavin and his family.
The preschool – the first of its kind in the remote village to provide early education to children – was built in 2015 and the community hall was completed this year.
The meeting hall will provide the village with a place for community leaders to discuss key community issues and solutions. It will also be used to carry out sanitation and hygiene training, teacher training, disaster risk reduction planning, and youth group meetings.
“We get a lot of support from our friends and family who donate to our fundraising pages,” Melissa says. “They all say they love that they know where their donations are going. This is why we have been so happy with our ongoing relationship with ChildFund; we are able to show people where their money is going, who it is helping. We get a lot of positive feedback on this.”
ChildFund would like to thank the Rhodes family and their friends for all their support over the years.