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Volunteers for U-SA Cares for Life are shown here with a group of South African children. The nonprofit organization is holding a charity boutique fundraiser at Little Miner's Montessori School on June 1. The money raised will help impoverished, disease-strickened and orphaned children in South Africa. (Photo courtesy of Rose Pylidis)
The Little Miners Montessori School, 1091 Beehive Dr., is planning a charity boutique fundraiser for HIV affected and orphaned children in South Africa.

The event will be held Saturday, June 1, from noon until 6 p.m.

The money raised will be sent to South Africa through the nonprofit organization U-SA Cares for Life (www.u-sacaresforlife.com), based in West Jordan. U-SA Cares for Life is the American branch of South Africa (SA) Cares for Life, said Brigitte Elliot, the fundraiser's organizer and a teacher at the Little Miners School.

"There are an estimated 1.9 million children who are HIV positive and orphaned in South Africa who need our help," Elliot told The Park Record. "So we are asking members of the Park City community to open their closets and donate women's clothing and accessories for the fundraiser."

Elliot said she is looking for donations of gently used shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, blouses, hats and scarves, as well as purses and jewelry for the fundraiser.

"These items can be dropped off at the Little Miners School between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through Friday, May 31," Elliot said.

During the fundraiser, people will pay an admission of $20, which will earn them points that will allow them to go through and select some of the donated clothing for themselves.

"Each item of clothing will cost a certain amount of points, and they can pick up as much as they can as long as their points last," Elliot said.


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The fundraiser at Little Miners isn't the first that Elliot has organized.

"I have held three fundraisers called My Sistas Closet that are similar to this that I worked on in Salt Lake City," she said. "And through them all, I have found much of the clothing and accessories that have been donated are very fashionable and unique."

In addition to the clothing, Elliot said she needs items for the silent auction that will take place during the fundraiser.

"We are pleading with businesses in the community for those donations, whether they are pedicures, manicures, facials or gift certificates from restaurants or hotels," she said. "The silent auction brings 10 times more funds than the clothing does, and all the proceeds from the auction and admission will be donated to U-SA Cares for Life, and we are hoping it will be a success."

Elliot visited South Africa three years ago, and was taken aback at how desperate the conditions were for the children.

"Many of these kids, including babies, have been abandoned, because their parents can afford to feed them," she said. "Even if they can raise them, they don't have the resources to educate them, and they live in aluminum foil shacks where there is no running water and no electricity."

Every little bit helps, Elliot said.

"We have found that as little as $25 a month helps provide basic food, educational opportunities and school supplies for one child and his or her family," she said. "That same amount can provide one baby with 150 diapers, 180 bottles of formula, specialized medical treatments and legal and social-worker assistance.

"Some of the money we will raise will also go to an early learning center in the poorest parts of Johannesburg and Cape Town and other areas," Elliot said.

That's one reason why it's important to hold a fundraiser at Little Miner's School.

"It helps our students, who are pre-school aged, help other pre-school-aged children on the other side of the world," Elliot said. "Every month the Little Miners curriculum gives our students a chance to learn about different continents in the world, and this past April, it was Africa.

"Subie Stone, who is the director of the school, likes to get the community involved in various service projects and thought it was a great idea for me to put together this fundraiser."

Elliot got involved with U-SA Cares for Life because of a friend, who knows Riekie van der Berg, the woman who started SA Cares for Life, 20 years ago.

"I really want people here to know how blessed and privileged we are to live in this country," Elliot said. "Other people in the world literally have nothing, and people need to be aware of that, and I hope when they do, they will open their hearts and help these children."

U-SA Cares for Life, a nonprofit organization based in West Jordan, seeks donations of slightly used clothing for a Park City Boutique fundraiser that will be held Saturday, June 1, from noon until 6 p.m. at Little Miner's Montessori School, 1091 Beehive Dr. For more information, call Brigitte Elliot (435) 655-5163 or email at Brigitte.elliot@yahoo.com.