The International Club is hosting a fundraising dinner to buy textbooks for students in rural Kenya.
The dinner will be held in the Old Snack Bar on Thursday, Sept. 13 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The club is charging a $5 fee, and the funds will be given to Tujelimu, a charity run by Rose Okeyo ’13. The charity supports children enrolled in Wang’arot Secondary School, located in the Rarieda District of Kenya. Okeyo said she founded Tujelimu to try to help Kenyan students in rural areas receive a better education.
“We are showing them the love of Christ and teaching them how to fish,” Okeyo said. “I wanted to uplift the standards of education in rural areas so they would have an equal chance at bettering their life.”
When Okeyo was still a student, she helped the International Club organize a similar dinner, which raised over $1,300 to send to Wang’arot Secondary School in 2011. The International Club hopes to match her success this year.
“I personally feel like education is a big tool to empower people,” said junior Ritah Ogayo, a member of the club. “Seeing how the kids lives were changed and seeing all these kids looking up to people like Rose really inspired the club to do this fundraiser again.”
The Kenyan students will cook beef stew, pilau rice with steak, and a vegetarian dish called githeri. For dessert, they will serve chai tea and African donuts. Students from Kenya who are involved in the club carried spices in their luggage from Kenya for the dinner.
“I learned to cook by default,” freshman Cynthia Onchonga said. “Back home, after my oldest sister moved out, I had to learn to cook for my younger siblings. I learned by default and observation…and from Youtube videos.”
At the event, Ogayo will speak to dinner guests about the event’s purpose and tell them about the food.
“Most people think Kenyan food is spicy, and it is. But when we say it is spicy, we don’t mean it has jalapenos and peppers. We add spices more than salt and pepper,” Ogayo said. “It’s so different. It’s like none of the food here.”
The dinner will also include a silent auction of ten African-themed paintings that Nour Ben Hmieida, senior and president of the International Club, created. The subjects range from tigers to vistas of safari sunsets. Many of the paintings depict young women with African symbols.
“I wanted to encompass not just Kenya, but every part of that area,” Ben Hmieida said. “With the young girl with the Kenya flag on her face, my thought was that the kids are the future in every nation, anywhere. They are the heart of Kenya, so it’s worthwhile to invest in them and in their education, and to give them the tools they need to succeed.”
Nour also hopes that the dinner will help students learn about Kenya’s culture and heritage.
“We’re trying to get people to be more aware of other cultures,” Ben Hmieida said. “It’s a fundraising dinner, but I also want people to know how rich the culture is. There are a lot of poor areas, but there is a rich culture and a rich community there.”