The Bonvallet’s registered their charity, Helping Hands, Touching Hearts for 501C3 charity status in 2010 and did lots of fundraising through their church and community in Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA. Their second trip to Massingir Velho and Machampane in Parque Nacional do Limpopo was planned for September 2011.
While planning for the trip, Sidney and her daughter, CJ, sewed 400 adult-sized nguvas, a traditional garment worn by the Shangaan tribe as a head covering, dress or child carrying sling. They had also made 150 nguvas for teenagers in the village. School uniforms were distributed to all the little school girls.
A friend, Cathy McCarthy started Stitchy Women, a sewing circle with friends and produced 70 pairs of shorts and several dresses in one day for Bonvallet’s charity. Ready-made clothing in light cotton that does not wrinkle was given to the villagers. They hand-wash their clothes in the river and dry their clothing on the bushes.
Church members at Kenwood Church of Christ in Livonia, Michigan, USA sponsored backpacks filled with school stationery for the village children. Fundraising events were held at the church to raise more funds for shipping the goods and for the trip itself.
In the end, the Bonvallet’s generosity nearly put them out of business as almost half of the proceeds were used to pay for shipping the 96 boxes of goods to Africa. It was a logistical and physical nightmare getting the clothing through customs and to the remote Mozambiquan village of Massingir Velho.
300 hand puppets made by developmentally handicapped children were donated by Laraine Larkin. Four teachers received a large container filled with school supplies and each child received a tote bag full of school supplies and a toy, which they had never had before.
A treadle sewing machine was donated to the village and Sidney started giving lessons at Machampane Wilderness Camp to teach the village ladies to sew.