It was the work of arson that burned down a large part of an African orphanage helping children affected by HIV and AIDS—and now one Bridgewater resident is trying to help give them back what they lost.
Arielle Benard, of Bridgewater, is holding a Children's Nest Trust fundraiser June 16 at the to raise money to help rebuild that home.
According to Benard, the Children's Nest Trust is an orphanage in Zambia providing housing and education for children either with the disease or who have primary caregivers who passed away from it. But now, she said, the trust is in trouble.
"On April 10 of this year, an arsonist burned down one of their two houses, and the goal of this fundraiser is to help rebuild that house," she said.
Benard said she has a friend doing aid work at the trust, who told her about the fire.
"I was absolutely shocked, and I knew I had to do something," she said. "My family thought I was in over my head, but I started bouncing my idea off of people who have experience with fundraising, and decided I would go through with it."
The fundraiser, Benard said, will begin at 10 a.m., with live music from local artists, in addition to a DJ. Plus, she said, there will be a face painter, and vendors including Premier Designs, Essential Bodywear and Discovery Toys.
"I will have door prizes that include contributions from local businesses, mostly gift certificates, but a couple baskets, as well as well as hopfully gift baskets from vendors," she said.
Tickets, Benard said, will be $1 each.
In addition, there will be games and activities for kids, including soccer, volleyball and more.
In total, Benard said, she is hoping to raise at least $2,000.
"The money will be going straight to the Children's Nest Trust in order to assist in reconstructing the house they lost," she said.
Benard said she has been greatly enjoying the work she is doing to put the fundraiser together, and she is proud of the support she has received from the community.
"Local businesses and individual people have been so generous," she said. "I think what I'm going to enjoy most will be when the children at the Children's Nest Trust who lost all their belongings begin to get back what was taken from them."