The fraudulent invitation.
A dedicated member of the WE-ACTx team, a Rwandan who was inspired to work with orphans because he is one himself, showed me an email invitation he had just received to attend a conference of NGO leaders working on AIDS and environmental issues.
The invitation promised an opportunity to travel for free to Los Angeles to meet for a week with others fighting for the cause–all for just a registration fee of $275. He was concerned it was too good to be true. It hadn’t even occurred to me that such a thing could be fraudulent. Unfortunately, he was right.
The alleged organizer, the Edith Travis AIDS Foundation, lists a phony contact address on its shady website and hasn’t answered my emails requesting more information about their program. They just want me to pay the registration fee.
What kind of people would prey on those who work in Rwanda and other developing countries for HIV/AIDS, environmental, and human rights causes? The people at our organization work tirelessly to ensure access to medical care for more than 6000 women and children with HIV. They persuade guardians, who believe that a child with HIV has no future and therefore can be treated like a slave, to change their ways. They scrape together money to keep children in school who could not otherwise pay the (illegally levied) fees. They counsel women and children who have been traumatized by sexual violence. They act as parents to several hundred children who have been orphaned by AIDS. They provide meals to children and families who otherwise would eat just a few times a week. They manage income generation projects that teach business skills to women who are otherwise unemployable because of their mental health. They mediate property disputes among adults who are supposed to be using the property for the benefit of the children in their care. They do this on a shoestring organizational budget, sometimes supplemented with their own modest to meager personal funds.
If you would like to offer some choice words to the immoral con-artists known as the Edith Travis AIDS Foundation, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.