Event returns to MLK Commons to raise funds for Tanzania NGO
Tanzania Development Support (TDS), a non-governmental organization based in DeKalb and co-founded by NIU Division of Public Administration Director Kurt Thurmaier, is sponsoring its second Walk with Water fundraising event.
The event will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commons on the NIU campus.
It aims to raise funds for construction of a library in Nyegina, Tanzania, and give students and NIU community members the opportunity to better understand the hardships faced by people in countries where water is in short supply.
”The clean, safe tap water we take for granted is unimaginable to millions of Tanzanians,” Thurmaier said. “Educating girls and boys is the best investment to help them escape poverty and be able to afford clean drinking water and lead productive lives.”
In some countries, people spend their entire days walking miles to get water. The task is typically assigned to children, most often girls, who walk for water instead of going to school.
TDS volunteers have seen this in Nyegina, where girls, sometimes barefoot, walk along the roadside carrying their yellow containers, large enough to hold four or five gallons. Once the containers are full, the girls balance them on their heads or strap them to their backs. The water is often dirty and contaminated with bacteria, but it’s all that is available.
Participants in the Walk with Water fundraiser will carry clean water, walk on flat terrain and wear shoes. They are asked to complete as many laps around the Commons as possible while carrying up to five gallons of water. Tanzanian men’s shirts and women’s kangas (wrap-around skirts) will be available to all participants to wear while walking.
Individuals and teams raise money for TDS by asking sponsors to donate based on the number of laps completed. Several NIU teams are already planning to participate.
A similar event in April (see photos) on the NIU campus raised more than $2,500. The money helped purchase materials to start constructing the library and community resource center, which will serve about 2,000 students and village residents in a rural community in northwest Tanzania.
This year’s event at NIU also will feature an address from Liz Mach, a registered nurse who has been working as a Maryknoll lay missionary in Tanzania and Sudan for more than 35 years. Her passion and work focuses on preventable health issues experienced by women and girls in Tanzania today.
Mach works in the same region as TDS. She is acutely aware that education of girls is the road to improving the health of women and their children, lowering the rate of teen pregnancy, postponing marriage and reducing poverty.
Mach will also give a campus lecture, “Poverty Effects on Women’s Health in Tanzania,” at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in Room 204 of Wirtz Hall. The talk is sponsored by the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Additionally, TDS is sponsoring two free community presentations by Mach. The first will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in the parish activity center of St. Mary’s Church, 322 Waterman St. in Sycamore. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.
Mach will also speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N. Fourth St. Refreshments will be served at 4:30 p.m. prior to the presentation.
For more information on upcoming events, contact Sandra Dawson, a faculty member in the NIU Department of History and TDS board member, at email@example.com.