Thursday, February 25, 2010

Takaungu community raises $3,000 for classroom at village Harambe*!

*HARAMBE: Swahili term that means "working together in unity" or "let's pull together". The harambe concept is used throughout Africa to initiate projects that require people to work together and pool their resources. The event is also a party, uniting the community in working toward the chosen cause.

Harambe 2
Takaungu, Kenya - February 19, 2010- The Takaungu community held its largest Harambe ever for Vutakaka community center. The Harambe was thrown by the school parents' committee to raise funds for a new classroom.

Each year a new classroom is needed to accommodate our growing student body. In the past, classrooms have been built with funds from the West Seattle Rotary, the Pangea Foundation and individual donors. This year, the parents and teachers wanted to contribute to demonstrate the community's appreciation of the efforts made by groups and individuals just like you!

Invitations were sent to community and local government officials, including the village's Chief and Sub-Chief as well as current and former Ministers of Parliament (MPs). In true Kenyan fashion, live music and dancing students welcomed the Harambe's guests, including several local politicians and celebrities Geoffrey Murhambi, Fahim Twaha, and Joseph Khamis.

Harambe 3Students performed for the group while Master of Ceremonies, George Samuel, introduced each of the speakers. William Charo, head of the parent's committee spoke about the needs of Vutakaka School. Kate Crowley, EAC Kenya Program Director, addressed the work being done in the United States to support the community. Community leader, Fahim Twaha, spoke about the ways in which community members could support the work of Vutakaka despite limited financial means.

A basket was passed and the support was overwhelming. Following the general collection there was a live auction where people bid on ducks, pieces of thatched roofing and items made by the sewing cooperative. Parents then took turns taking the stage and expressing their appreciation and dedication to the work being done at Vutakaka School and Community Center.

The day ended with dancing and celebration over the announcement that over 220,000 Kenyan shillings had been raised (the equivalent of nearly 3,000 US dollars!) Kate said of the evening, "As people slowly made their way home, the feeling in the air was magical. Everyone was smiling, dancing, and chatting about the new classroom that will be going up in the near future."Enrollment Day KG1

To say that $3,000 is a large sum of money to this community is an understatement. Where most people survive on less than $1 per day, every cent counts.

Will you join them our Takaungu community for this joint effort? We must all pull together to show that each parties' hard work and sacrifice not go unnoticed.

Join the Haramabe by matching our Kenya contribution. Together we can collect $5,000 in the next week and break ground on the new classroom next month.

The average attendee gave $20 (almost 15% of the average salary in Eastern Kenya).

Can you match that contribution at $40 and make the ultimate declaration that we are committed to supporting them in their pursuit of happier, healthier, and more productive lives?

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"What an inspiring event and a strong testament to the community's commitment to its partnership with EAC and its future." - Jared Watkins . EAC US Board Member