Chrissie’s involvement in Rwanda began through a friend of hers, Taylor Krauss, who is the Director of Voices of Rwanda. Taylor has been working in Rwanda for many years on an archival project where he is filming and transcribing Rwandan genocide survivor testimonies. Chrissie asked if there was some way she could use her creative skills as a designer for American Eagle Outfitters to help. She ended up taking a three month sabbatical from her job to work on a variety of projects in Rwanda, all the while chronicling them on her blog: Create for a Cause.
In addition, Chrissie was very interested in working with children and arranged to volunteer at the Gisimba Memorial Center. The Center cares for children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to the 1994 genocide, HIV/AIDS, disease, and poverty. On the practical side Chrissie organized a massive fundraising campaign that shipped clothes, toys, medical supplies, and books to the orphanage. But she also sought to bring some creativity and fun to the Center through art classes. One of her favorites was introducing the kids to the book Where the Wild Things Are and having them use their imaginations to draw and paint their own mystical animals with magical powers. For some of the children it was the first time they had ever used paints, but before long the room was filled with artistic creations.
Create for a Cause is more than just a blog; it is a vehicle for networking meant to engage artists and activists in a number of causes and philanthropic endeavors. The blog has enabled Chrissie to reach out to various organizations and people, and connect them with each other and different projects. The site also documents the projects Chrissie has continued since her time in Rwanda along with some new ones. She hopes this is just the beginning for the networking site. “Ideally I would like Create for Cause to grow and involve more countries and talented people by raising awareness in an organic, grass-roots way and inspiring action in people through the work and stories of others.”
For more information, please visit www.createforacause.com
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