Student Collecting Textiles to Fund Training in Africa

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 During his last visit to Uganda, Ray Wipfli visited Bulamu Secondary School in Mpigi, where the school’s Ray United FC club was awarded a 1-million Ugandan shilling ($285) grant to promote nutrition by planting fruit trees and encouraging fruit consumption on campus. The Uganda students pictured are the leaders of the club receiving the donation.
Photo courtesy Heather Wipfli
During his last visit to Uganda, Ray Wipfli visited Bulamu Secondary School in Mpigi, where the school’s Ray United FC club was awarded a 1-million Ugandan shilling ($285) grant to promote nutrition by planting fruit trees and encouraging fruit consumption on campus. The Uganda students pictured are the leaders of the club receiving the donation.

Without even the wave of a fairy godmother’s wand, that box filled with clothes you’ve been meaning to donate could be turned into health, citizenship and soccer education for children in Africa.
Ray United FC is seeking donations of clothes, sheets, towels, stuffed animals, shoes, belts and whatever else qualifies as a textile for a drive happening until 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, at 941 Wiladonda Drive in La Cañada Flintridge.
RUFC is a nonprofit organization headed by Ray Wipfli — an 8th-grader at LCHS 7/8 (who turns 14 on Sunday). The organization was formed in 2014 after Ray traveled to Uganda with his mom, Heather, associate director for USC’s Institute for Global Health. They dropped off more than 250 pounds of donated soccer gear to schoolchildren in the rural village of Mpigi.
Inspired by that experience, Ray Wipfli has continued raising money locally that has helped sponsor development programs that incorporate soccer skills and sportsmanship, and have helped refurbish dilapidated schools and promoted healthy behaviors.
The camps — which culminate in a community-wide youth soccer tournament — have reached more than 2,500 youth in central Uganda as students from both USC and local Ugandan universities team up to offer health-related education. All camp participants receive a camp bag, a new T-shirt, hygiene supplies, a public health workbook and a pencil, nutritious meals and clean water.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Ray, who will make his sixth trip to Uganda in August, when RUFC will host its annual soccer camp. “I feel very comfortable there now.”
This year, there will also be a camp in Maputo, Mozambique. Volunteers of all ages are sought to come along, Heather Wipfli said.
“Our goal is that at the end of every day, everyone leaves happier and more knowledgeable as well,” Ray Wipfli said. “What they say we don’t really know, because it’s a different language, but we always see everyone leave with a smile on their face.”
Donations collected at Sunday’s textile drive will be given to Clothes for a Cause, an organization that either distributes the items to people in Southern California or recycles them. The more weight they collect, the more money they raise. Last year, RUFC’s efforts resulted in 5,000 pounds of donations.
For more information, visit rayunitedfc.org.

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