Suburban student wins trip to Mother Land

Some people only dream of visiting Africa. But for Derrill Miller, a Grambling State University sophomore and Founder of One World, One Love foundation it’s a reality.

Some people only dream of visiting Africa. But for Derrill Miller, a Grambling State University sophomore and Founder of One World, One Love foundation it’s a reality. Miller is one of 21 students from 12 Historically Black Colleges and Universities who took a five-day trip to South Africa as part of the Coca-Cola RAIN program water for schools initiative. The program helps provide safe drinking water for school children in Africa and around the world. Students had to enter the Cocoa-Cola Open Happiness Tour competition for a chance to win the trip opportunity. Open Happiness Tour was a video contest that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? Miller said when he found out about the contest he only had three days to submit his video, so he was quite surprised that he won and described winning as a dream come true. “I felt happy but more blessed then anything. I have wanted to travel to Africa since I was in the 7th grade, and to know that my dream was going to happen in a way that I never thought it would happen, I felt that with all my hard work and research that I put into learning about this (continent) and where it all began has paid off,” he told the Defender. Miller said he’s glad Coca-Cola is taking action, and hopes the company can help put an end to some of the problems Africa is facing, such as, poor health care, high HIV/AIDS rates, and deaths due to dehydration, and promote global warming awareness. While in South African, the students will learn more about Africa’s water crisis, and of other Coco-Cola initiatives throughout the continent, including, HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment, malaria prevention, access to education, job creation, and humanitarian assistance. The students will also visit the Nelson Mandela National Museum, go on a safari, attend a FIFA World Cup match and meet actor Idris Elba. Elba spent time with the students discussing water stewardship and its importance to Africans, his passion for the World Cup and his perspective on local culture. “I am looking forward to learning more about a place that is in need of so much help and structure and development. I am looking forward to working hands on and talking to the people of Africa and just hearing their stories about life,” Miller said just before leaving for South Africa. His foundation’s mission is to help feed the homeless and hungry of Chicago. He delivers food and water directly to them at their makeshift accommodations. Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

Photo: Special to the Defender

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