Patience Kayira ’20 | Editor in Chief
On Fri., Nov. 16, students, faculty staff and community members gathered in the Carroll Room for Smith’s African & Caribbean Students’ Association (SACSA) Annual Charity Dinner. This fall, SACSA ran a fundraising campaign to help Project Kesho,a Ugandan- and Tanzanian-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing and improving access to educational opportunities for children in these countries. Around forty people attended the event, which brought smiles to many SACSA members involved in the event’s planning and execution.
Reflecting on the event, Beth Yigzaw ’19, SACSA’s Community Service Chair, said: “Even with the cold weather[,] we still had a good number of people show up. It was great to see all our tables full. [The charity dinner] is [also] a great way for SACSA to give students and faculty an opportunity to give back to some small charities that are doing good in African and Caribbean countries.”
Project Kesho began in 2006. As written on the nonprofit’s site, Project Kesho was built on the “idea and belief to make a change in the lives of children in East Africa.” The nonprofit has offices located in Washington state and in Tanzania, as well as representatives in Uganda.
In the years since its inception, Project Kesho continues to operate multiple programs in Uganda and Tanzania, focusing on primary schools, secondary school sponsorships, supporting orphans, building schools and offering school supplies.
The charity dinner began with a dinner-style buffet of Ghanaian cuisine: steaming pans of red-orange jollofalloffe rice, bubbling stews and an array of soft drinks to choose from. As attendees filled their plates and listened to the poetry of Camille Ollivierre ’20 and a song from Raissa Mugabekazi ’21 and Ava Dujon ’21, SACSA members reminded and encouraged everyone to donate to Project Kesho, weaving in the charity’s mission.
“The unique thing about Project Kesho is its holistic approach to improving educational opportunities for the children in these communities. Providing medicine, sanitary pads and clean water, in addition to building the necessary infrastructure, improves the learning environment so that educators can focus on the learning itself,” said SACSA’s Publicity Chair Zoleka Mosiah ’20.
Led by a dedicated of board members and a global staff, all efforts have centered on the well-being of children and collaboration with local communities in Tanzania and Uganda. Some of Project Kesho’s staff include Elliot Barnes, Abbas Singa and Sarah Kiggundu. The project has demonstrated its commitment to children and belief in the value of education by sponsoring school fees for 90 children in the past year.
Based on a study by Project Kesho, orphans make up 20 to 30 percent of school-aged children in Tanzania. In Uganda, the nonprofit partners with Little Angels Primary School in Mityana, Uganda, run by Sarah Kiggundu. Project Kesho also reports that around 75 percent of the children who attend this school also live at the Little Angels Orphanage, and half of the children at the school are living with AIDS.
The evening ended on a celebratory note of photo-taking, dancing and a final message to “make sure you donate” stated by SACSA’s co-chairs, Eseza Kironde ’20 and Caitlin Sutherland ’20.
For more information on Project Kesho or to donate, visit projectkesho.org.