Taste of Tanzania

Tanzanian school helps disabled children


From the Catholic Sentinel January 2015


Bertha Haas can't forget a special group of disabled children in Mwanza, Tanzania. Their school, Huruma Special Unit, school for disabled children direly needs funds. She knows the school well because she founded it more than 10 years ago when she was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Tanzania. Now she hopes the Taste of Tanzania fundraiser will be a major help to the school.

The Portland area Taste of Tanzania, a cultural event and family friendly dinner, is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, at St. Edward Church in North Plains. Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth Steiner, former pastor of the parish, hopes to attend and offers his support. 

The event offers music, savory foods representative of Tanzania, an art display and a silent auction of Tanzanian treasures. Raffle tickets for a handmade quilt of colorful African cloth are being sold.

Haas invites the many Tanzanian priests and sisters who serve in the Archdiocese of Portland to attend the Taste of Tanzania for free to thank them for their service

Haas retired after nine years as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Mwanza, Tanzania, and is now a member of St. Alexander Parish in Cornelius. She still travels to the school in Tanzania each year and returns to the U.S. with suitcases full of Tanzanian crafts to sell for the benefit of Huruma.

Huruma means “compassion” in Swahili, the local language in Tanzania. Disabled children at Huruma are not accepted in the local public schools and some people even fear that the children's disabilities may be contagious. Three Huruma sites allow parents to bring their children to a neighborhood site for compassion, education and acceptance.

It costs about $100 to provide schooling for a student for one month.  A local nonprofit, Huruma Chapter Kileo, can accept tax-deductible donations..