On a balmy October evening, amid memorabilia of Walt Disney–the ultimate purveyor of happy stories–Wells Bring Hope’s fundraiser brought in enough money to create stories of happiness by saving lives in five villages in Niger, West Africa. Close to 200 guests raised over $35,000 from donations and a silent auction.

Held at the spacious, elegant home of Bernie Shine, guests were able to wander through one of the world’s largest collections of 1930s Disney memorabilia in a museum-like setting. Happy childhood memories were re-lived among this treasure of Disneyana, while raising funds to save children from the horror of diseases that occur from unsafe water.

Commenting on the event’s success, founder Barbara Goldberg said: “Our deepest thanks goes to Bernie Shine, who for the first time, opened his home to a fundraising event. Our gratitude goes to all of the artists and generous others who donated wonderful things for our silent auction, that brought in over $5,000.”

As of March 2010, Wells Bring Hope–in partnership with World Vision–has raised funds for the construction of 30 wells in Niger (pronounced knee zhere) selected because, according to the UN Development Index, it is THE poorest country in the world.

Since its inception, Wells Bring Hope has brought safe water to over 20,000 people. However, the villages receive more than the end to daily miles-long treks by women to get water and protection from water-borne diseases.

World Vision continues to work with a village for 15 years to:

* Educate villagers on proper hygiene and good sanitation to insure that latrines are used and the water is protected from contamination.
* Train villagers to administer and maintain the wells.
* Provide micro-financing and encouragement to women to start small businesses, knowing that they make the best micro-entrepreneurs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “No other humanitarian intervention produces a more dramatic effect on life than access to safe water and sanitation.”