West Milford graduate volunteering at Tanzanian orphanage

| 29 Sep 2011 | 02:46

BURLINGTON, VT. - Seven students from Champlain College, including Shannon Maguire of West Milford, will spend three weeks in May volunteering and tutoring orphaned children in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. “This is the first international community service trip to this area,” said Beth Fitzgerald, Champlain’s Student Activities Coordinator, who will chaperone the seven women on the trip. “Our student volunteers will be working at the orphanage combining our skills to care for and to teach the children English, math, computer skills, and some physical education,” she added. The IMUMA: Imani, Upendo na Matumaini Orphan and Vulnerable Children Centre in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, is where the students will focus their efforts during the trip. Champlain College student Elisha Kottler went to Tanzania last year and workd with the children. “I am going back because there is a great need for volunteers at IMUMA and I want to help the kids there,” said Kottler. “I organized this trip because it is important for Champlain students to experience what it is like in a third world country and as Champlain College students we have a lot of tools to help IMUMA. The people in the group have a variety of majors, which lets each one of us focus on something different to bring to IMUMA,” she explained. “IMUMA is not just for orphans,” Kottler continued. “It is for vulnerable children too. We are receiving money from a number of places but we have not gotten any giant donations. The people that are in charge of sending finals gift packages to students are donating $500 to our trip, SGA donated some money, and so did Champlain in general. This has really been a grassroots effort,” she said. In addition to Maguire, who is a senior majoring in graphic design, and Kottler, a junior whose major is in social work and nonprofit management, the women heading to Tanzania are Laura Greaney of Mystic, Conn., a sophomore in Early Childhood Education, Amanda Mahony of East Durham, N.Y., a freshman in public relations, Lindsey Ganslow of Wells, Maine, a senior in secondary education, history and social sciences, Marguerite Dibble of Landgrove, Vermont, a freshman in game art and animation, and Brodie Henry of Fairfield, Conn., a junior in international business. Fitzgerald said the trip will cost approximately $18,000. Participating students are actively fundraising in the college community with raffles, coin collection, and soliciting local businesses for support. A percentage of the money raised will be directed toward supporting the orphanage financially. “We have pledged to donate a percentage to the orphanage, where a little goes a long way. While this seems like an overwhelming sum, this is where you can help,” Fitzgerald said. “While IMUMA volunteers are providing basic needs and a better education than what the children otherwise would receive, this service is only a short-term solution. Many of these children are not able to go to public school, as they do not have the $100 required to attend school for a year. We also hope to raise enough to help sponsor the education of many of the 48 children at IMUMA,” she said. For more information about the trip or to learn how to help support the effort, contact Fitzgerald at fitzgera@champlain.edu. Or visit the Web site: www.teach4tomorrow.org