Empower 5k Trail Run – A Race for Education

May 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm Leave a comment

Nonprofit organizations are constantly being created by individuals who have passion for a cause and see a way to make a difference, but haven’t found the perfect medium through which to impact change.  Prior to creating a nonprofit organization, wise individuals search for existing nonprofit, for profit or governmental organizations that might be working in a related field.  For example, if you want to be involved in your local community to raise awareness about breast cancer or improve the lives of women with breast cancer, you might first turn to the Susan G. Komen Foundation – an enormous, globally recognized organization dedicated to research, raising awareness and improving the lives of women who have survived breast cancer or who are fighting to beat it.  If, however, the organization is not taking on new projects or your mission deviates, then you may have to turn to your own devices – which is what I’ve done.

I was introduced back in February.  My name is Rai Farrelly and I am the blog coordinator for Trivani Foundation.  This week, Trivani is letting me tell my story and promote my first ever attempt at fundraising for my cuase.  Two years ago I traveled to Tanzania to work with an organization that was building a school of environment and society education.    Unfortunately, as the plan was to engage in language teacher education and there were no teachers available to train, I found myself in a village (having prepaid for lodging and food) with no work to do.  I made the most of my time – getting to know the villagers, the languages, the culture and exploring the area.  

Visiting Lucas' mom and meeting a kid

The connections I made during this first year drew me back for another visit in the summer of 2009.  During this trip, I met the chief of Mgaraganza, a village next to the one I had lived in the previous year.  In conversations with this chief and the community council, I offered six scholarships to children who excelled in primary school, passed their secondary school entrance exams and have a strong desire to go to secondary school – but couldn’t due to extreme poverty.  Additionally, I offered to raise funds for a year to build a primary school classroom for their overcrowded primary school.  This is when they informed me that for the five incorporated villages that this chief was responsible for, there was no secondary school.  Students who go to secondary school walk up to an hour each way to go to a school in the neighboring municipality.  Instead of a classroom for their primary school, they asked if I would consider helping them with the monumntal task of  building a secondary school.

The chief (far left), Lucas (very front) and myself pictured with the community council of Mgaraganza Village

I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  My Tanzanian friend, Lucas and I brainstormed how this could happen.  Together we created a plan, met a few times with the villagers and explored land options for the school.  The villagers gave me approximately six acres of land upon which to build the school.  I came home to the US feeling both the weight and euphoria that go along with this request and accompanying responsibility.  I had just read both Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood – so I knew I could do it!  Others before me – many others – have been in these shoes, and though challenges abound, so do successes.  I had the support of an entire village – and in addition to their support, they were sharing with me their hopes and dreams. 

We have amazing opportunities in the US and this is something that I know can happen ‘with a little help from my friends.’   So, I created an organization called Project WezeshaWezesha means Empower in Kiswahili, the national language of Tanzania.  The mission of Project Wezesha is to empower individuals in remote, rural areas through increased access to education.  This will be achieved both through scholarships to secondary school and the building of the first ever secondary school in this village. 

Our first fundraiser is Saturday May 15th, 2010.  I have organized the Empower 5k Trail Run to be held in the foothills above Salt Lake City, Utah.  The race is a fun run and none of us are taking ourselves too seriously.  The volunteers are dressing up and greeting the runners at every junction in the trail with treats and music and good cheer!  The primary objective is to raise money; however, the point is really to do so while having fun and sharing in the endeavors of friends!  Most of the runners signed up thus far are people I know or friends of people I know.  In the world of humanitarian and development work, it’s all about supporting one another.  We’re all trying to make big things happen in the world and without the support of one another – be that via donating cash and time or simply spreading the word – we would never reach our goals and change the lives of others around the world and right next door!

I am humbled by the amount of support I’ve received from friends far and wide!  If you’re in SLC and didn’t make a plan for this weekend, join us on the trails!  You can register here:  www.firstgiving.com/empowertrailrun  I’ll let you know how it goes!  If you’re not nearby and would like to contribute, you can do so at www.firstgiving.com/projectwezesha.  Asante Sana!  Thank you Very Much!

Thank you Trivani Foundation for letting me share my story!


Entry filed under: The United States, Trivani HQ. Tags: , , , , .

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Trivani Field Notes is your connection to the people on the ground engaged in the humanitarian work supported by Trivani Foundation.
Each week, new updates and stories from the field will be posted to share the accomplishments, needs, and gratitude from those who can best report the difference Trivani Foundation is making in the fight against poverty.

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Springville, UT 84663



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