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The Globe and Mail

‘Help Kenya, not Kanye’: Rapper’s financial woes aid Edmonton charity

Kanye West performs during the closing ceremony of the Pan Am Games Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Toronto.

Julio Cortez/AP

An Edmonton charity that helps children in Nairobi has become the unintentional beneficiary of celebrity vanity.

Todd Lorentz, a director of One Child's Village, says donations are starting to come in as a result of a Florida man's campaign called "Help Kenya, Not Kanye."

Gabriel Ferrer launched the website out of disgust for rapper Kanye West's pleas for financial help on Twitter, including asking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to give him $1-billion (U.S.) "in order to bring more beautiful ideas to the world."

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Ferrer's website suggests that fans who might spend $700 on one of West's sweaters — an item in his high-priced line of clothing — donate the money to charities operating in the African country instead.

Lorentz says $700 would feed the children at the school One Child's Village operates for a month.

The charity and its school helps children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Lorentz says he was completely surprised that his small organization, which operates out of his Edmonton home, ended up being listed on the website, but says he's happy to go along with it.

"We would love our name to be out more, so people see us, but we also don't have money allocated for marketing," he explains.

He hopes they benefit from the attention, even if the campaign turns out to be short-lived.

"We're just hoping that we can get as much voice as we can in the short time that it might be up there, and hopefully we can launch a lot of new projects and help tens of thousands more kids in the coming weeks and months."

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