Kids at TEAM Academy, a charter school in Newark, NJ, were so inspired by a TV show in which they saw Oprah Winfrey opening a girls’ school in South Africa, they wondered why they couldn’t take on a similar task themselves.
They put the question to Ali Nagle, one of their teachers and a resident of Montclair.
She saw no reason why it couldn’t be so, and TEAM in Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated towards helping schools in Kenya and Rwanda, was born. It comprises more than 100 students from TEAM’s middle and high school and Indiana University.
Nagle told Barista Kids, “They wanted to help kids in Africa to go to a good school and have a chance of a good education.”
A few kids from the organization, and Nagle, visited kids at two Kenyan schools in the summer of 2009.
The trip was certainly edifying, she said.
“The kids (from Team in Africa) couldn’t believe how happy all the kids in Kenya were with relatively nothing. They were so very grateful for anything, from a little gift of a pencil which they wrote their names on and protected with their lives, or a simple conversation and the chance to practice their English.”
The children from the academy were so touched by the experience that the return trip to the US was a harder transition than the journey to Kenya, Nagle said.
“It was hard to see how relatively unhappy kids are here with relatively so much more.
We missed being there,” she said.
On Thursday (April 15), Team in Africa kids will exhibit and sell photographs from their trip, which will give visitors a chance to learn about their groundbreaking partnership with the kids in Kenya, as well as the stories behind the photos.
All proceeds will go toward books, food programs and the building of new classrooms for the partner students in Kenya and Rwanda.
To date, TEAM in Africa has raised enough money to build two new classrooms in Kenya, written and delivered more than 2,000 books to Rwanda, and even visited the African schools they support.
TEAM Academy is part of a growing network of charter schools that offers a free, college preparatory education to students of Newark.
What : Photo exhibition and fundraiser by Team in Africa
Where: The Majestic, 222 Montgomery St. in Jersey City, NJ
When : April 15, Thursday, 7:00-9:00pm
Note : All proceeds will go towards the supported schools in Africa