Cupcakes Spread Joy from Seattle to Africa

09/13/13

The air is filled with the smell of delicious treats and the entire home is buzzing with excitement. With a flourish, Marietta is directed to the seat of honor and her birthday celebration begins. This is the first birthday party she has ever had. She is overwhelmed by all the presents, good food, and the kindness of her new family at the Chitipi Farm Children’s Home in Malawi. It doesn’t take long before Marietta forgets her shyness and joins her friends in singing and dancing.  

 
The children love showing their favorite dance moves during birthday parties
                           The children love breaking out their favorite dance moves during birthday parties!
 
Thanks to Seattle-area business PinkaBella Cupcakes, birthday parties like this have become a happy tradition in each of our Children’s Homes. Margo Engberg, founder of PinkaBella Cupcakes and wife of COTN consultant Doug Engberg, strongly believes birthdays are important. “The day that you were born is special because God created you,” she says. “Celebrating that is huge.” For the last four years, PinkaBella Cupcakes has donated one hundred percent of all their store tips to help children in COTN’s care celebrate birthdays. 
 
For Marietta, having a birthday party is an unexpected blessing and a reminder that her life has changed dramatically.  Not long ago, at age twelve, Marietta was the sole provider for her three younger siblings. They struggled alone for more than a year until COTN’s Malawi staff discovered them. But this little family of four never dreamed anyone would celebrate their birthdays. “Your average Malawian child might not even know their birthday, let alone get any kind of party, celebration, or gift,” says COTN–Malawi Communications Liaison Jeremy Macias. 
 
Marietta and her siblings never dreamed anyone would want to celebrate them                   Marietta (right) and her siblings never dreamed anyone would want to celebrate their birthdays.
 
Margo first learned that many children in developing countries aren’t able to celebrate their birthdays when she met her adopted children from Guatemala. She shares this story on Pinkabella’s website. “I was heartbroken to learn they had never had a birthday party,” she says. “With a strong passion for baking, birthday parties, and kids in need it seemed a natural fit for me to start a cupcake business.”
 
The story of my children inspires me every day,” Margo says
“The story of my children inspires me every day,” Margo says, “and they are the reason I feel so passionate about children all around, here and abroad.”
 
These birthday parties do more than just make the children feel special. In Africa, they play an important role in the children’s lives, explains Donald Chirambo, a house parent at the Chitipi Children’s Home. For children who have endured traumatic experiences, these parties are part of the healing process. And, Donald says, the parties help unite the children in the homes as they prepare to celebrate each other.
 
PinkaBella Cupcakes is making it possible for kids to celebrate their birthdays
PinkaBella Cupcakes is passionate about making it possible for children around the world to celebrate their birthdays.
 
Margo hopes to visit the children in Africa someday, but for now she loves seeing pictures of their birthday celebrations. It never fails to bring tears to her eyes. “It is our desire,” she writes, “to change the world one cupcake at a time!” 
 
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