The Karimu International Help Foundation grew out of a vacation taken by Marianne Kent-Stoll and her husband, Don Stoll, in 2007. During a visit to the remote Tanzanian village of Bacho, they learned that Tanzania’s government had threatened to close Ufani Primary School. When Marianne and Don, educators in Santa Cruz, California, asked if they could help, Ufani’s teachers told them that the government demanded better toilet facilities. After the two Californians came up with a few hundred dollars to build a basic latrine and Ufani School remained open, the villagers invited them to return the following year with as many volunteers as they could find.
Marianne and Don then established the Karimu International Help Foundation—“Karimu” means “generous” in Swahili—to “provide funds to schools and other community projects enhancing the well-being of rural villages in the developing world.”
This mission statement from Karimu’s Articles of Incorporation suggests Marianne and Don didn’t yet grasp the strength of the bond they had formed with—out of all the “rural villages in the developing world”—Bacho, Dareda Kati and its people. But the mission statement also shows that Marianne and Don never meant to limit Karimu’s work to education.
Besides continuing the renovation and expansion of Ufani School, Karimu now pursues similar work at nearby Ayalagaya Secondary School as well as ongoing health care and water sanitation projects in Dareda Kati. These projects rely on the devotion of scores of volunteers, many of whom return to Tanzania every year because of their friendships with the villagers.