Westborough – The founder of an international program to help children in Tanzania will visit local volunteers and speak about her life's work Monday, Sept. 16, at the United Methodist Church, 120 W. Main St., from 10 a.m. to noon.
Dr. Susan Wilson created the Tumaini Fund (“tumaini” means hope in Swahili) to provide necessities to AIDS orphans to help prevent disease and encourage education – things such as school supplies, mosquito nets, and bicycles.
One of the initiatives the Tumaini Fund oversees is “Sewing for Hope,” a program to provide handmade dresses for young girls, some of whom have only one set of clothes to wear. The objective of “Sewing for Hope” is simple – using a four-piece pattern, volunteers create a simple yet colorful sundresses. The dresses are then collected and sent to a collection site in the Guernsey Islands and then on to Kagera, considered one of the poorest parts of Tanzania.
During her visit, Wilson hopes to meet all those involved with “Sewing for Hope” in Westborough and neighboring towns, as well as those who might like to learn how to become involved.
Wilson will share information on how the program came to be, following a mission to Kagera, where she met dozens of the region's children, many of whom had been orphaned when their parents died from AIDS. She will also share pictures and stories of her experiences with those children.
After meeting Wilson last summer, Westborough resident Judy Hall was inspired to get involved. With help from fellow resident Barbara Stone, she spread the word about the program to various church groups and other organizations, including the Rotary Club of Westborough and the Westborough Woman's Club.
According to Hall and Stone, more than 360 dresses were recently sent, and another 109 dresses are ready to go. More have also been sent by resident's relatives and friends in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and other states.
“Dr. Wilson is so very grateful and overwhelmed by the generous efforts of the people in Westborough and the neighboring towns,” Hall said.
The event is free and open to the public. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.
For more information on the event, call Judy at 508-366-8772 or Barbara at 508-836-4886. For information on the Tumaini Fund, visit www.tumainifundusa.org.