As African Well Fund nears the $1 million fundraising mark, we’ve asked supporters to share their stories of why they give. In this installment board member Ayesha Marcel shares her reasons why.
How did you first learn about the African Well Fund?
I first learned about AWF about seven years ago through friends and fellow U2 fans. I became aware of the various fundraisers and auctions that AWF held each year in order to fund water sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa. I admired and was inspired by the fact that a group of U2 fans had taken Bono’s calls to action to heart and had dedicated themselves to making a real difference in people’s lives.
Why did you want to support AWF?
Being from West Africa and being a huge U2 fan, I couldn’t think of a better charity to support. It was as if it was custom made for me, combining two things I’m passionate about, and all in the name of giving back, I couldn’t not support AWF.
What are some specific things you’ve done to support AWF’s mission to fund clean water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa?
I started out by making regular donations and by bidding on their auctions but gradually became more involved as a volunteer, participating in a couple of charity walks and gift fairs, helping to spread the word about AWF and encouraging people to make donations or purchase well shares. Along the way, I started collecting items that AWF could use in their auctions, especially items bearing any of the band members’ autographs. As an avid U2 concert-goer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Bono a few times, so I started putting those opportunities to good use by asking him (as well as Edge and Adam Clayton on one occasion) to sign some of those items (books, CDs, DVDs, water bottles and T-shirts) for AWF. Eventually, I also took on the task of sending certificates of appreciation to AWF’s various donors around the world. A year ago, I became an AWF board member and helped coordinate and launch this year’s photo auction as part of the 9th Annual Build a Well for Bono’s Birthday campaign.
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Ayesha Marcel (left) poses with fellow board members Diana Yoder, Rob Trigalet, Laura Page and Lara Wineman prior to U2’s recent concert in Nashville.
Have you introduced your family, friends or community to AWF? How?
As my own involvement in AWF has grown over the years, my family and friends have heard me talk about the organization and its projects, which has in turn motivated them to find out more about AWF and to help in any way they can, be it monetarily or by volunteering their time to help promote AWF. I’ve also used social media such as LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook to reach out to my friends and family about AWF.
Why do you continue to support AWF?
It’s been a pleasure and an honor to be involved with such a dedicated, talented and inspiring group of people who remain committed to AWF’s mission in spite of the many challenges that come with being a small, nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers. AWF has accomplished so much with so little, and it makes me even prouder to be a U2 fan. As long as clean water remains inaccessible to a large number of people on the African continent, then I will continue to support AWF in whichever capacity I can.
If you’d like to tell African Well Fund why you give, please e-mail To make a donation to support future African Well Fund projects, please click here.