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Saturday, March 02, 2024

After spending time in the village of Sand Sloot, South Africa, a UF student is taking action and raising money to help the students of the poverty stricken village.

Brandi Hill, a criminology senior, has started PhotosforAfrica.org, a nonprofit organization that raises money to purchase school supplies for the children of Sand Sloot.

Through her Web site, Hill, who practices photography as a hobby, is hired to shoot photos. All money earned goes toward the school supplies. She has raised ,700 from the Web site and ,2,500 from a dating auction.

Several organizations have also done school-supply drives to help with the cause.

"It's so unbelievable how helping people have been like, 'Yeah, let's do this,'" Hill said.

After leaving for Africa in December, Hill spent a semester at the University of Botswana, worked on independent research and journeyed around South Africa.

Toward the end of her stay, she began running out of money. She decided to stay in villages around the area and found herself in Sand Sloot.

While in the village, Hill took notice of the extreme poverty and disease around her.

After Hill and some village men ate a slaughtered chicken as part of a celebration of her arrival, hungry children snatched the scraps and bones from her plate.

What stood out to Hill most were the children of the village who didn't let the obstacles define them. They wanted to learn.

The village of Sand Sloot has a local school, which was started by the villagers. Hill noticed the overcrowded classrooms and lack of supplies and resources available to the teachers and students.

When she returned home from her seven-month trip, Hill decided she needed to do something

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One reason Hill decided to start raising money for the children was because she was extremely disappointed in the way nonprofit organizations in Africa were spending their money.

"It's so disappointing the misuse of money that is going on over there," she said.

She said it's a good feeling knowing where all of the money she raised is going.

Her next trip back will be Nov. 31, when she will deliver the school supplies.

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