Creative Life

HomeAID for Africa

“Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.” These words from an AIDS-infected South African boy spurred a small group of West Chester area residents to action. The story of 11-year-old Nkosi Johnson, as told by ABC News correspondent Jim Wooten in his book We Are All the Same, united the group and marked the beginning of HomeAID for Africa.

“I’d been concerned about the circumstances in Africa for years,” says Susan Brodesser, the group’s founder, executive director and board president.

After hearing Wooten speak about Nkosi at a Chester County bookstore, Brodesser and about a dozen others came together in 2005. “We didn’t have a clue what we’d do,” says Brodesser. “We were just moms who wanted to help.”

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Then artist Chris Soleil provided a means of fundraising by teaching the group to make finely crafted items out of hand-dyed silk. In just two years, HomeAID for Africa raised more than $53,000 for the care of families affected by AIDS through the sale of its creations at WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival, the Brandywine Arts Festival and other events. Brodesser and three others flew to Africa to deliver school supplies and money to the Open Arms home in Malawi and Nkosi’s Haven in Johannesburg.

HomeAID for Africa hopes to grow its organization by finding interested groups in other areas. It continues to meet monthly at West Chester Friends School and hold craft days every six weeks. To learn more, visit

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