Village Life Outreach Project celebrates 10 years of impact

Village Life Outreach Project will celebrate 10 years as a nonprofit Friday at its Diamond Gala: Night on the Serengeti.
 
The nonprofit, whose mission is to “unite communities to promote life, health and education,” has a lot to celebrate, as the organization has reached some important milestones throughout the past decade.
 
More than 400 local volunteers, for example, have given freely of their time to engage in service learning and health care initiatives in three villages of Tanzania.
 
“Just knowing we’ve been able to unite this many people behind a cause, both people from Tanzania and the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond—being able to focus on how to make people’s lives better—that’s probably been the biggest reward,” says Chris Lewis, founder.
 
One of the nonprofit’s most notable successes is opening Tanzania’s first-ever health care center, which has served more than 20,000 villagers since 2011.
 
Lewis says he remembers his first trip to the region in 2003 when he was in the University of Cincinnati’s family medicine residency training program.
 
“On a daily basis, people would be brought in to the hospital I was working at, having died having to have made the arduous journey from the remote outlying regions,” Lewis says. “The first patient I remember was a pregnant lady who had bled to death having tried to walk eight hours to get to the hospital to deliver her child, and that sort of thing leaves a permanent mark on you.”
 
Village Life Outreach Project has also collaborated with Engineers without Borders, through both its student chapter at UC and its local professional chapter, to teach villagers how to build sustainable and structurally sound buildings and to begin digging water wells so villagers can access clean drinking water.
 
“Everyone comes to Tanzania thinking they’re going to really make a difference and change the world, and by all working together—yeah, we’ve made some great progress—but the biggest change I think comes to the volunteers themselves,” Lewis says. “I think their lives are changed in this experience, when they get over there and feel what it means to work in partnership with people who need you. That makes all the difference in the world.” 

Do Good: 

•    Join Village Life Outreach Project at Night on the Serengeti for an evening of celebration and a keynote address delivered by Oscar and Emmy Award-Winning Actor Louis Gossett, Jr. 

•    Support Village Life Outreach Project by donating.

•    Contact the nonprofit to learn more and figure out how you can get involved.

Read more articles by Brittany York.

Brittany York is a freelance writer, adjunct English composition instructor and server at Orchids at Palm Court. She loves travel and photography. Keep up with Brittany on Instagram @brittbrittbrittbrittany.
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