Baylor student art project raises more than $45K for Zambian children

Orphans in Zambia left their fingerprints on an art project by two Baylor University studio art majors on a women's leadership mission trip this summer to the southern African country. The students' paintings of trees--featuring brightly colored leaves made by the children's fingertips--eventually raised nearly $45,000 to help children living in extreme poverty become leaders for change.

The paintings were created by Baylor students Veronica Campbell and Rachel Taylor, who traveled to Zambia with Baylor Missions' Zambia women's leadership team. The finished canvases were auctioned to raise money for the Legacy Academy at the Family Legacy Tree of Life Children’s Village outside Lusaka, Zambia.

More than one million orphans have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS or extreme poverty in Zambia. Family Legacy provides children with educational and spiritual development and works to give them the opportunities and encouragement they need to become leaders and professionals in the community.

The organization hosts the annual Camp Life, a summer program that allows individuals and American families to connect with and support children in Lusaka slums while sharing the good news of the Gospel. During this seven-week program, they sell art projects to raise money to take the children on field trips throughout the year.

Led by Melanie Smith, international programs coordinator in Baylor's Center for Global Engagement, and Carol Marroquin, office manager in the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor students visited slums to read to children, worked with high school-aged girls and spoke with the founder of Zoe's Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps abandoned premature babies.

Other work by the team included exploring hunger issues, raising awareness of human trafficking, consulting with businesses and young entrepreneurs, addressing health care concerns, performing concerts and during church services, teaching leadership skills to women and girls, holding sports camps in local schools, empowering and supporting teachers, and ministering in prisons, villages, churches and orphanages.