When alumna Lauren Fraher (’10) was a junior, a priest visited JSerra and spoke to her Theology class about his mission work in Uganda. He ran a clinic that was always in need of supplies and donations, but what lacked most were people to volunteer their time.
The statement resonated deeply with Fraher. “I felt called to help people,” she said.
Fraher attended Creighton University in Nebraska, where she met her husband, Jacob, who had experience serving others as a teacher in Kenya at just 18 years old. Together they founded Faith Aid while they were still undergraduates.
“We weren’t sure what we wanted to do precisely but we knew we wanted to make a difference,” Fraher said. “We started off by fundraising school fees for children in Kenya and offering aid where we could, but three years ago, we started focusing on our Under 5 initiative.”
According to Fraher, one in nine children in Sub-Saharan Africa will die of a treatable condition before the age of five. Inspired by this overwhelming need, Faith Aid launched the Under 5 initiative in hopes of helping these children survive and thrive past their fifth birthday.
“We believe every child deserves a chance,” Fraher said.
A mom of a three-year-old and nearly one-year-old twins, Fraher made time to visit JSerra to speak to freshmen Theology classes this past January.
“I wanted the students to know they can make a difference even a young age,” Fraher said. “I told them about a two-year-old boy named Jonathan who my husband met during his time in Kenya. Jonathan had been abandoned and was living in a slum orphanage. He was very sick. Those responsible for him assumed he had AIDS and had given up on him. Jacob insisted that Jonathan be taken to a hospital. There, Jonathan was diagnosed with a stomach infection and the medication that saved his life was $20. Jonathan turned 12 in January. This vibrant, joyful, boy inspired us to help other suffering children through Under 5.”
The story also inspired JSerra’s freshmen, who raised $6,000 in a matter of weeks.
Fraher is grateful for the students’ support and diligence. “These wonderful students opened their hearts to the silent suffering of children in Kenya and took it upon themselves to do something about it. Their dedication to this cause resulted in life-saving treatment for three Kenyan children!”
Faith Aid has partnerships with a number of hospitals, community health workers, and the National Health Insurance Fund to identify children in need to make the most of their resources. To make a direction donation to Faith Aid, visit faithbasedaid.org/campaigns/under-five.