Kiliminjaro Education Outreach, based in Bloomington, is made up of board members and volunteers brought together by their ties to Tanzania and their mission to make more opportunities for the country’s young ?students.
Several board members are originally from Tanzania and want to make a difference in their home country. Another person on the board worked with the Peace Corps in Tanzania, volunteer Sally McKinney said, and another climbed Mount Kiliminjaro.
From 6 to 8:30 p.m. this Saturday, KILEO is having its annual Taste of East Africa fundraiser at Harmony School in Bloomington. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. All proceeds will go to KILEO projects.
The fundraiser, now in its fifth year, will feature live ?music and food prepared from traditional recipes from East Africa. Volunteer Fritz Kruggel said there will also be a silent auction of art and other items acquired on board members’ trips to Tanzania and East ?Africa.
Kruggel said education is KILEO’s main mission.
“We also provided materials to schools and look into advanced educational opportunities for students in a country that has seen a significant increase in access to education,” he said. “There’s still a pretty enormous gap in education for kids of all ages.”
Board member Alwiya Omar has been involved with Taste of East Africa from the beginning. Originally from Zanzibar, Tanzania, she came to Bloomington for her graduate studies in linguistics at IU, where she now teaches.
Omar is passionate about the education projects funded by KILEO. The organization provides education on HIV/AIDS, gives books to schools and helped establish local library systems in Tanzania.
“Some people, some schools, don’t carry enough books,” she said. “This organization provided enough books for libraries.”
Currently, KILEO is expanding in the United States. Kruggel said he is hopeful the organization will open its first auxiliary chapter in Oregon by the end of the calendar year.
“That will allow us to expand our reach to other areas,” he said. “We’ve had an interest in the Bloomington chapter developing into sort of a hub for other chapter ?organizations.”
The organization is also beginning to collaborate with new partners in Tanzania, such as a mission worker who is starting a school for special education students.
KILEO has also donated to an outreach program in Zanzibar to help with the education of children orphaned by a tragic ferry accident, Omar said.
“KILEO has provided some scholarships for students in the past few years,” she said. “We started in Tanzania but we can broaden it to other countries in East Africa.”