I used my influence in the fencing community to plan and organize a charity fencing tournament in aid of an entire primary school in Alexandria, South Africa. Many of the children’s homes had been ravaged by AIDS, and with either one or both parents dead, sisters or brothers infected, and no regular source of income, the only substantial provider left to these children was their school. However, the school’s resources were rapidly decreasing, and without funding, not only would these children lose an incentive to continue their education, but also their main food source.
I contacted We See You Inc., the non-profit organization committed to Ikage Primary, and within minutes, we were planning to split the responsibility of feeding an entire school of children in Alexandria, South Africa. We decided to each raise funds separately and at the end of a certain period, to combine our money and send it to Ikage School. For the next seven months, I repeatedly used my influence in Georgia’s fencing community to organize a charity fencing tournament.
The most challenging aspect of this venture was anticipating every nuance of such a large event. I approached Athletic Club Northeast about renting a spacious venue, designed appropriately eye-catching fliers in Photoshop, stapled posters to every wooden surface from Roswell to downtown Atlanta, assembled a small mountain of scoring equipment, emailed every fencer registered with Georgia Division, drafted a tournament liability agreement, and hired an army of nationally qualified directors. I was determined my tournament would be one-of-a-kind. In this spirit, I conferred with a local artist to donate some of her paintings for prizes. She received visibility and I received prizes that were far improved from the standard iron medal. Since my tournament went above and beyond the standard, I decided to raise the participation fee from $20 to $30 per event. This way, Ikage would benefit even more from extra cash flow.
On the tournament day, I set up a special donations box that encouraged participants to donate beyond their participation fee. I also gave a speech on Africa’s AIDS situation and the importance of charity during the prize ceremony, hoping that some of the participants would take my words to heart. On this day, I raised about $1,000 dollars, exactly half of the required amount to feed Ikage for an entire year. The week following the tournament, I continued to confer with We See You Inc. until we sent Ikage Primary our funds.
Georgia’s fencing community is now aware of African poverty and the hundreds of children of Ikage Primary are aware that life isn’t always a downward spiral. They can now continue their education and depend on a constant food source in the face of the AIDS epidemic.