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Local volunteer group to travel to Tanzania

Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Volunteers with Tanzania Development Support will travel to Tanzania to work in the remote community of Nyegina, located on Lake Victoria in the northwest corner of the country.

They will “pour the floor” for a new library and community resource center that was designed by volunteers from the Chicago chapter of Architecture for Humanity. The library will be constructed on the property of the Nyegina Secondary School and, because of its strategic physical location at the Nyegina village crossroads, it will be easily accessible to students and faculty of local area schools as well as residents from the surrounding community.

The library will bring learning opportunities to a population that presently has very limited access to books, reading materials and computers. The people of the community are highly motivated to learn, but they lack the building and the materials that enable them to do so.

Upon arrival, the TDS volunteers will join students from Northern Illinois University who will already be in Tanzania participating in a study abroad program. Together they will lay the foundation for the first of the three phases of the library construction.

The volunteers also will have the option to attend, with the NIU students, seminars with local NGOs working on various aspects of community development. In addition, travel will include an overnight camping safari in the Serengeti National Park (a World Heritage Site) to view the famous wildebeest migration and see other animals in their native habitat.

The volunteer group will include Jeanine Thurmaier, co-founder of Tanzania Development Support, and Mark Biernacki, former DeKalb city manager. Biernacki said he is participating because he wants to stay involved in community building and the betterment of people’s lives.

The group includes volunteers from as far away as Chicago and Wisconsin. Each volunteer has pledged to try to raise at least $1,000 from friends and family to support the library construction.

To view the complete list of volunteers and to make financial contributions to support the library project visit and click on Nyegina Library Build.

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