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Blooming Grace aids orphans in Zambia

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From left, Hanna Massey and Chloe McAfee are selling bracelets to raise funds for an elementary school in Zambia. Photo by Kelsie Bowman

A typical day for Chloe McAfee and Hanna Massey might include planning a concert at The Camp House or meeting with their college interns via a Skype conference call. Or they might make beaded jewelry to sell for their cause, Blooming Grace.

It’s a lot for 11-year-olds to have on their plate.

Yes, Chloe and Hanna are both fifth-graders at McConnell Elementary School. But their age doesn’t stop them from acting on the things they are passionate about.

In February, Blooming Grace went live online and in the Hixson community. The girls are partnering with Lifesong for Orphans to raise funds for supplies to give to the Lifesong for Orphans elementary school in Kitwe, Zambia.

“I want to give back to the orphans because they don’t have everything we have and I kind of feel like it’s not fair,” said Hanna. “Everyone should be included; everyone should be equal.”

Hanna first became interested in the cause when a representative from Zambia, Sheila Schwab, came to McConnell and spoke to the entire fifth-grade class.

Schwab is a friend of Chloe’s family — Chloe’s father Keith McAfee worked for Lifesong for Orphans — so Chloe had been wanting to start something like Blooming Grace for a long time.

During Schwab’s talk about the orphans and vulnerable children in need in Zambia, the students were in awe, and Hanna said she was moved to tears. She had to get involved in some way, she said.

“For an 11-year-old it’s hard to stay focused; you need to be a part of a team,” Keith McAfee said. “When Hanna called, it was an answer. They mesh and they just do it. They’re learning that together they can do a lot.”

The two girls have planned at least three upcoming events to raise funds for the project. They’ve gathered classmates to help make beaded and hemp bracelets to sell. They’ve canvassed in their neighborhood and talked with local business owners, many of whom have jumped on board with their mission by donating time and services.

“What I think is important is to raise money for these orphans to let them have a better life and let them have an education,” said Chloe.

The girls hope to visit the school in Zambia to meet the students for themselves and to deliver supplies in 2015.

To learn more about the cause and how to get involved, visit bloominggrace.org.