MADISON (WKOW) -- An African nun, educated in Madison, returned to the capital city this month to raise money for a school she founded in the poverty-stricken country of Tanzania.
Sister Amelberga "Berga" Rwezahura founded St. Therese primary school in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998. It now serves more than 670 students ages 4 - 12 -- but the mission is far grander.
"There are many kids in other places who need help," Sr. Berga said. "I feel like that is my mission to help the kids."
Many students are orphans, and for some, the school uniform is the only clothing they own -- but they're rich in curiosity.
Tanzania is located on the east coast of Africa. The country is home to more than 43 million people. Average income is only $550.
"When I was there I saw little boys drinking muddy water, and cattle swimming in the same water and women washing clothes," said Sr. Kathleen Malone.
Sr. Malone is principal of Edgewood Campus School in Madison, St. Therese's sister school. Edgewood students and their families raise more $5,000 a year for their Tanzanian counterparts, donating much-needed school supplies, books, and technology -- essential in a school with only 20 computers for 670 students.
"A lot of kids want to be doctors, they want to be teachers and help their country," said Heidi Green, president of Blessings in Tanzania. "It's a very poor country. It's a beautiful country."
Blessings in Tanzania is a non-profit foundation made up of Madison residents and business leaders.
They've already raised more than $12,000.
Sr. Berga hopes to construct a cafeteria, kitchen, and additional classrooms. She'd also like to expand the program to a high school, and other opportunities for adults.
Tuition costs less than $500 per year for one student to attend the school in Tanzania.
To compare, it costs about $7,000 to educate one student in Wisconsin public schools.
To donate, call 608-358-6116, or go to www.blesstanzania.org