The primary purpose of the Kilimanjaro Children's Fund is to provide financial support and assistance to the children in the Kilimanjaro region who are at risk because they are orphans, homeless, sick or living in extreme poverty. This activity will involve grant assistance for projects designed to deal with specific issues and sites to include orphanages, homeless aide agencies, school placement and assistance work, aide to needy schools and preschools, feeding projects, medical care needs and other worthy areas dealing with children. Grants will be awarded on an individual basis after insuring that financial accountability and oversight are in place. Our secondary goal is to educate the American public to the cultural, social, educational, medical and economic needs of the children of the Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania.
Greg grew up in Akron, Ohio, where found inspiration in Thomas Dooley III, a U.S. Navy physician and humanitarian who devoted his life to helping the poor and the sick in Southeast Asia. “It planted a seed,” Higgins recalls. He attended college in Alaska and thought he might want to be a nurse until an advisor said he should consider medical school. Higgins made his way to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, graduating in 1978. Around that time, during a trekking vacation to Nepal he was struck by the terrible need for medical care in that part of the world. For six months he worked as the chief medical officer at the Dali Lama’s hospital in India. Higgins worked for Valley Emergency Physicians for 15 years, helping to set up emergency rooms for small hospitals in California. He moved into management. “I liked the mission. There were a lot of hospitals who would not have an ER without our company.” But he kept wondering if there was something more, something different waiting. “I wanted to do other things but I just didn’t know what. You begin to realize you don’t want more money. You want more time.” So he retired in 2003 and eventually moved back to Alaska. From there he began to do volunteer medical trips in Africa. In 2007 he was asked by his town’s high school to take a group of students on a climbing expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. On that trip he met a guide who was running a preschool in Tanzania. There was also an orphanage: 30 kids, five rooms, no water, no electricity, open sewers. Something clicked. For two years he kept returning until finally he could not stay away. “I went home and sold or put into storage all my stuff and moved to Africa,” he remembers.
Shannon spent most of her earlier years living in the Springfield/Eugene, Oregon area. Her two children have now graduated and her son, David, is waiting to start medical school in the autumn. Shannon began doing volunteer work with Project Helping Hands out of Oregon on trips to Bolivia and Africa. On one of those trips she met Dr. Greg. It took him a year to find the courage to acknowledge that he had fallen in love with her, but their subsequent marriage took Shannon far away from Oregon. She instantly became the ''grandmother'' for many children in Moshi. The children at first wrestled with what her name should be. But once the decision was made to make her ''grandmother' it is a title that stuck. And she does the role well finding ways to expand her contact with as many children as possible. Her ''book club'' work with poor kids in our neighborhood could be a model for many agencies. She and Dr. Greg spend the majority of their time in Africa, but do take working vacations back to America to help raise the money needed to help fund further projects in East Africa.
Many children in the Kilimanjaro Region do not have access to quality medical care. Our clinics help identify health issues that may otherwise go undetected. We have granted money to provide treatment that would otherwise not be avaiable in Tanznia.
Education is the cornerstone of our efforts. The only way for these children to elevate themselves out of the vicious cycle of poverty is to acquire a strong education. We take pride in sending many of the orphan children we work with to the best schools the region has to offer.
There are numerous orphanages in the region. Many are barely getting by on very limited resources. We help provide funding and infrastructure to numerous orphanages, so that they become progressive in providing children a better life.
Kilimanjaro Children's Fund
P.O. Box 1126
Haines, Alaska 99827
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© 2015 Kilimanjaro Children's Fund. All rights reserved.
The Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania attracts hundreds of thousands tourists every year, some to climb the mountain, but mostly to visit the vast amount of African wildlife in the plains that surround it. What many tourists do not realize (and are often shielded from), is the humanitarian crisis that has been brewing for the past 15 years in the form of AIDS. Modern treatment and education on the disease have started to reduce the death rate and number of people infected, but the damage has been done. AIDS related deaths have wiped out the adult demographic, which has left approximately 55% of the population under the age of 19. If a child lost their parents in the past, their village and family members usually took on the task of raising them. With the death rate being as high as it’s been, children no longer have such a safety net to rely on. This has left thousands of orphans and children at risk left to fend for themselves in very impoverished circumstances.
We are always interested in working with good people that share a common interest in making a difference in the lives of children. If you would like to volunteer or assist us in our work, please fee free to contcat us at firstname.lastname@example.org.