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Fundraiser for Tanzanian school nets $10,000-plus

Cornelius resident says money will pay teachers' salaries


A Feb. 8 fundraiser in North Plains for a school in Tanzania raised more than $10,000 — one-third of the school’s annual operating budget.

“It was beyond my wildest expectations,” said Bertha Haas, a former missionary who served children with disabilities at Huruma School in the northern region of the East African country just west of Kenya.

“We went into it having no idea what to expect ... we worried about there not being enough people there. But the people who came were very, very generous.”

Haas, who first went to Tanzania in 2003, returned to Oregon in 2011. She said the dinner, silent auction and quilt raffle were big successes.

“We also solicited donations,” Haas said last week. Our committee is meeting today (Feb. 12). We’ll see what the tally is. There’s still money coming in by mail.”

Huruma’s school year begins in January and ends in December. Money raised at the local event will provide funding for “at least” 10 months of classes for students with a wide range of disabilities — from hydrocephaly to Down syndrome, Haas said.

In past years, a private donor and the Maryknoll Lay Missioners, a New York-based Catholic religious order, have helped the school survive. Haas said the Tanzanian community has become invested as well.

“I firmly believe some of the cost of the school has to be handled by Tanzanians — they have to take some responsibility,” she said.

About $200 from a recent Crowdrise fundraiser will be added to money from the North Plains fundraiser, which was featured on the front page of the Feb. 4 News-Times. The combined amount will provide teacher salaries and transportation for students who live miles from the school.

“We hope to always have at least one teacher for every four students, because some of our students are highly handicapped,” said Haas, “plus a physical therapist and a speech therapist. That’s our goal.”

To learn more about Huruma School, visit its Facebook page: facebook.com/HurumaSpecialUnit.

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