Amazon – Africa Aid
Welcome to Amazon – Africa Aid
Amazon-Africa Aid is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supporting the Fundação Esperança, a Brazilian nonprofit organization that has been providing health and education to the inhabitants of the Amazon for over 30 years. We rely heavily on volunteer and donor support. Join us and make a difference!
Pablo Picasso said, “Anything you can imagine is real.” At Amazon-Africa Aid, we believe that anything you imagine can be made into a reality. We imagine a world of healthy, educated, and happy children who have clean water to drink and fresh air to breath. Amazon-Africa Aid was started with the dream of affecting change – change in existing conditions and changes in people’s attitudes.
Why is any organization founded?
Organizations are founded because one or more people have a passion for a cause. The Fundação Esperança, a Brazilian nonprofit that has been providing health and education along the Amazon for over 30 years, was losing its funding from its long standing American counterpart, who had a change in philosophy, leadership, and vision. Dr. Bill Chase, Ron Bertagnoli, and Dr. Daniel Weiss were passionate about the work of the Fundação Esperança, and could not bare to think what would happen to the thousands of people who are effected by the Fundação Esperança. Thus, the (3AO)was founded in 1999 in Adrian, MI to support the activities of the Fundação Esperança.
In order to supplement income to offset expenses administrating Amazon-Africa Aid, several fund raisers are held every year. Our most successful fund raisers are our silent auctions featuring gift baskets filed with locally donated items as well as items made by the inhabitants of the Amazon where our help is mostly located. The first year we held our silent auction gift basket fund raiser the feedback from our donors was so enthusiastic that we have held one every year since. Although a number of the gift baskets were filled with donated items from local businesses, it was the Brazilian crafts and folk art in the gift baskets that attracted the most attention. The colorful hand carved figurines, pottery, toys, straw, leather and wood objects, intricate lace, and woven textiles made each gift basket unique. The silent bids were numerous and as each happy winner went to pick up their gift basket at the end of the evening there were those who were disappointed. However, knowing another gift basket silent auction would be held the following year, made the loss a little less painful.
The Original Founder: Luke Tupper
Fr. Luke, a former Navy and Marine Corps doctor, first witnessed the medical deprivation of the children of South America while traveling to the South Pole aboard a U.S. Navy icebreaker. After five years of Military service, Dr. Luke started a residency in plastic surgery at the University of Chicago. Haunted by the memories of the children, he resigned his residency and entered the Franciscan Order. After his ordination, Fr. Luke was assigned to Brazil and began the overwhelming task of bringing medical care to people in the region. Without money, medicine, vaccines, or equipment, Fr. Luke was determined to reduce the appalling infant mortality rate which approached 50% in some isolated villages. Help poured in form the United States and Europe. In 1972, a medical clinic, the Clinica Dos Pobres (Clinic of the Poor) was completed.
The Clinica Dos Pobres became the cornerstone of the Fundação Esperança. Over the years, other buildings have been constructed to house the burgeoning training programs, including a dental clinic, laboratory, operating theater and recovery rooms, classrooms, and living quarters for students and medical volunteers. Luke passed away on September 18, 1978. He was killed in a motorcycle accident while continuing his studies at Ohio State University. Though Luke may be gone, his legacy of compassion and caring continues.