Oklahomans were transported to one of the most impoverished areas of East Africa on Thursday, through an imaginative interactive experience created by an Oklahoma City-based humanitarian relief agency.
The international nonprofit Feed The Children launched its new Story of Hope exhibit during a celebratory event that included remarks by the organization’s president and chief executive officer Kevin Hagan, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Lisa Boevers with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
“This exhibit not only gives you glimpses of where we are today but where we’re headed tomorrow,” Hagan told the group of Feed The Children staff, donors, community leaders and others gathered Thursday at the organization’s offices, 4529 Enterprise Place.
Lamb said the exhibit brought home the plight of the impoverished being offered sustenance and hope by the city-based relief organization.
“It struck me how alive and how real it grabs you,” he said.
The interactive experience immersed visitors into the lives of several people living in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, by reproducing their meager dwelling places and the extremely poor conditions in which they live. Guests walked near a market area, saw threadbare garments hanging on rope, trash-strewn walkways and the mix of assorted containers used to hold inadequate amounts of food and water. Vivid pictures and heartbreaking videos also were featured along the way, plus interactive kiosks showcasing an assortment of information about the targeted countries.
A glimpse into lives
Through the exhibit, visitors saw and heard the stories of:
-year-old boy with AIDS and tuberculosis waiting all day alone in a dark, filthy shanty for his father to find work to feed both of them.
•A 48-year-old HIV-positive woman living in a tiny structure with nine of her children and grandchildren after her husband died of AIDS.
•A 3-year-old girl living in a perpetual state of hunger and exhaustion who sleeps on the trash-filled sidewalks of the slum at night, worrying that she will eventually lose her mother.
Erin Engelke, vice president of marketing and communications for World Neighbors, a Feed The Children subsidiary, said the Story of Hope offers a way for people to see the need that Feed The Children staff and volunteers encounter every day as part of the agency’s global mission efforts.