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A Shining Light

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Recent Madison college grad is working to help poverty-stricken children in Tanzania.
 
A couple of years ago, Ben Robbins took a trip there as part of a medical internship through Dartmouth College.
 
Robbins' experience, with children who have been affected by HIV, changed his life. He's a 24-year-old who's now on a mission to shine a light on their lives, so they have a chance at life.
 
"While I was there I just fell in love with the place," says Robbins.
 
Images of children Robbins knows. He spent a couple of months in Tanzania caring for them. Kids who know nothing but crushing poverty, whose biggest hope, is two-room school called Bibi Janns.
 
"It's in the middle of this horribly impoverished neighborhood, but it's like the beacon for them," Robbins says.
 
Right now, children attend school until second grade, and then, their education stops. If they can make it to the 7th grade, they can enter high school, but there is no second school for children here.
 
Ben is on a mission to build it. "The school for a lot of these kids is a source of hope," he says. "And, for their families in the sense that they can get the opportunity to enter into a career. They'll come at 7:00 just to get there early. They'll stay there the entire day. They love this school and the people that run it. They love being in the classroom."
 
At the gallery, Ben, who's friends with owners John and Heidi Anderson, plans the reception he hopes will make a significant dent in the $100,000 needed.
 
Those who contribute $950 or more, will receive a lamp symbolic of their global partnership. The lamps are made from vintage print paper rollers, and they're being donated by the gallery. 
Ben returns to Tanzania in mid-January and will spend six months as a Dartmouth fellow to work with the staff to build the school.
 
The campaign is sponsored by a non-profit organization, so any contributions are tax deductible.
 
The reception is Sunday at Unearthed Gallery in Madison from 2 to 5 p.m.
 
Online reporting by Barbara Vaughan
 
 
 
 
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