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Webb seniors fight HIV in Kenya

For its senior class project, Webb School of Knoxville’s Class of 2008 raised more than $1,800 for Imani Worskhops to support the families of HIV-positive victims in Western Kenya.

Imani Workshops are a branch of the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS program created by Indiana University School of Medicine and Moi University School of Medicine to combat the ravages of HIV/AIDS in Kenya.

Imani Workshops focus on producing for sale high quality crafts by HIV-positive artisans in Western Kenya. Due to the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, many AMPATH patients have a hard time securing a job or accessing credit for a business loan. Imani Workshops provide employment and training for HIV-positive clients to engage in sewing, papermaking and other fair-trade crafts, and at the same time, promote economic self-sufficiency.

Webb senior and class president Ryan Markman spearheaded Webb’s Class of 2008 project. He first heard about the Imani Workshops through local artist Judy Brater-Rose, who has been actively involved with the program.

With the help of Brater-Rose, Markman was able to secure numerous Imani products — jewelry bags, books, pottery, wind chimes, etc. — to sell at school.

During the month of February, Markman made several an-nouncements during Upper School Chapel and recruited students to help sell the items at a home basketball game and during lunch.

The response from Webb students, families, faculty, and staff “exceeded my expectations,” said Markman, adding that everyone was very supportive of the project.

Markman remarked that the Imani project is indicative of the direction Webb students are taking for their class fund-raising projects. “There’s been a shift over the years, and it’s been by the students themselves, to make the class projects more service oriented and philanthropic,” he said.

“And I think that’s really good, especially because of what Webb School stands for with leadership and service.”


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