Africa's Promise Village

Group seeks empowerment of Tanzanian tribe

The mission statement of Africa's Promise Village is simple: "See bad, do good." Following this, Donna Gunn and her team of volunteers serve the poverty-stricken villagers of the Maasai in Tanzania, Africa. The group acts as a resource for providing critically needed clean water wells, green energy and educational resources.

Gunn, called Momma Donna by the local parish priest in Simanjiro and a kingmaker by the archbishop of Tanzania, spearheads the nonprofit organization APV as the voice for the Maasai in the Central Texas area. Along with a school superintendent, a playwright, a college professor and a host of teachers, the organization seeks to benefit the less fortunate by providing education to stimulate self-sufficiency.

"We sat around a table and said to ourselves, 'What's the next step?' We're too old to work in the school system," Gunn said. "We were all teachers and all have a heart for children, so we said that we want to build a school for people without resources."

On a trip to Arusha, Tanzania, in summer 2010, Gunn was introduced to the Rev. Peter Pinto, the parish priest in Simanjiro who provides 19 Maasai villages with medical care, food and spiritual sustenance. The Maasai, who are known for their distinctive customs and red-robed dress, lived as a seminomadic people before the Tanzanian government relocated their villages into the Simanjiro.

"They were collapsed into a very limited water supply where the cattle died, which meant the children died," Gunn said. "Water is the basis for everything we need to do there. These people had no resources; they were the ones we wanted to help."

More than 88 percent of water in Africa is underground, Gunn said. In 2011, APV focused its efforts on the construction of a well in Simanjiro that would supply clean water for drinking, cattle, irrigation and eventually a 400-student school for the Maasai. Projected to cost $65,000, the well is the first step in APV's mission to stimulate the Maasai economically.

"What we foresee is that the well allows us to teach agricultural techniques," Gunn said. "These are nomadic people learning to have a whole new way of life. Once we have the water and the kids nourished, we can build the school and empower the Maasai economically."

The volunteers at the nonprofit are motivated for a love for others and a desire to help those in need. Their work motivates individuals throughout the nation to become more aware of the world's needs, Gunn said.

"If any real change in the lives of the people of Tanzania is to be made, it must provide them not just with the opportunity to survive, but also with the opportunity to improve their lives in a manner that will permanently affect themselves, their children and their country," Gunn said. "This is a whole lot bigger than me. I might not be a kingmaker, but I might be able to help the kingdom."

Africa's Promise Village, 15 Monarch Oaks Lane, The Hills, 291-3593, www.africaspromisevillage.org

SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Bee Cave City Council met during a special meeting April 3. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bee Cave City Council accepts resignations of Bill Goodwin, names his replacements

Following Bill Goodwin's resignations from the West Travis County Public Utility Agency and the Economic Development Board, City Council officially voted to accept them and named his replacements.

Bee Cave Sonesta Austin Hotel owner Adrian Overstreet, pictured at a 2019 Bee Cave City Council meeting, helped author a plan to help local small business owners navigate federal assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials endorse Bee Cave Chamber plan for small business assistance

Bee Cave City Council formally adopted a plan from the Bee Cave City Council regarding the utilization of city library staff to help small business owners.

(Graphic illustration courtesy Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘We’ve got this’: Central Texas librarians step up to help their communities amid coronavirus pandemic

The example in Bee Cave appears to be just one of many stories relating how, amid the COVID-19 crisis, librarians are helping their communities throughout the Greater Austin area.

The Eanes ISD board of trustees met virtually March 31 to take action on a number of agenda items, including bond projects and the May 2 election. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)
Bond projects, COVID-19, trustee election and more discussed during Eanes ISD March 31 board meeting

All EISD campuses are closed in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, however trustees and staff are routinely working to continue to serve its students, who began remote March 26.

CraigO's Pizza & Pastaria owner Andrew Rincon (left), volunteer Mark Crowell (right) and a team of several other people helped feed dozens of at-risk families in the Lake Travis community April 2. (Courtesy Mason Culp)
'We're not worried about making a ton of money right now': Local business, nonprofit team up to feed Lake Travis families

A Lake Travis-area business owner along with about 10 volunteers spent two hours on the afternoon of April 2 delivering food to dozens of at-risk families within the community.

Economic relief options for small business owners include the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Has your Austin-area small business been affected by the coronavirus? Here are resources you can access.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a short-term loan program intended to help cover payroll and a separate, long-term loan program intended to help business owners stay afloat.

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt. (Courtesy Pixabay)
String of racist attacks via videoconferencing software leads to heightened security concerns

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt.

St. David's HealthCare has temporarily consolidated services provided by St. David's Surgical Hospital, St. David's Emergency Center—Bee Cave and St. David's Emergency Center—Cedar Park. (Evan Marczynski/Community Impact Newspaper)
St. David’s temporarily closes three Austin locations, redeploys resources during COVID-19 pandemic

St. David’s Emergency Center locations in Bee Cave and Cedar Park temporarily closed April 1.

Molly May, the department’s executive director, spoke during the March 31 virtual board meeting, confirming that the special education department has developed its own remote teaching and learning plan. (Courtesy Eanes ISD)
Despite district closures remote services continue for students with disabilities at Eanes ISD

May stated that EISD has implemented telehealth practices and is continuing to offer physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and adapted physical education, all using a remote platform.

Austin and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
5 recent coronavirus stories from the Austin area readers should know

Read local updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin FC and Upper Ninety on March 30 released a guide of resources for local families. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin FC, Upper Ninety compile bilingual resource guide for Austin families

Austin FC and Upper Ninety on March 30 released a guide of resources for local families.