Release Date: December 1, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The latest step in a cooperative plan spearheaded by the University at Buffalo Center for Educational Collaboration to support education, economic opportunities and improve basic health services for girls and women in the Mara region of Tanzania will take place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, in Allen Hall on the UB South Campus.
The fundraiser, which will feature exhibits and performances by local artists and musicians, will benefit an early childhood center to be built in partnership with the Association for Childhood Education International in the village of Kitenga. The Buffalo Tanzania Education Project, the group organizing the community-wide initiative, hopes to address the multiple needs of a remote, rural area in Tanzania where girls as young as 12 are typically forced by their families to marry and education often is the difference between opportunity and a life of struggle.
"This project represents an exciting and unique opportunity for UB and the surrounding community to make a difference," says Mara B. Huber, special assistant to the president for educational initiatives and director of the Buffalo Public Schools/UB Partnership. "Be it through research, engagement, service or resources, we all have something to bring to the table. And by bringing our gifts and resources together, we can change the lives of the girls and women in this challenged region."
Tickets for the event are $25 and $15 for students. Proceeds will support the construction of the early childhood center, the first stage in a comprehensive school campus in the village of Kitenga. Post-show concessions and a silent auction will benefit other BTEP projects, including construction of a secondary school for girls and water purification and sanitation facilities, and the purchase of solar cookers.
"Another exciting aspect of this project is the partnerships that are featured in all BTEP initiatives," says Huber. "Current partners include Solar Liberty Foundation; Buffalo Sunrise Rotary Club and Rotaract Club; and the Association for Childhood Education International. All projects are done in collaboration with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa and members of the Mara region community."
Attending the event will be several members of the Western New York contingent that traveled to the Mara region in 2009 to explore the needs of the region and meet with local leaders on how best to address them, along with faculty, students and community members interested in supporting and joining this project. Information will also be shared regarding future opportunities to travel to Tanzania as part of the project's ongoing community trips.