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News

Prof. Peter Dennee raises money to help children in Africa during pandemic

By The Bridge Editor

April 17, 2020

Professor Peter DenneeProfessor Peter Dennee recently raised $3,000 to support the food and hygiene needs of the children receiving services at the Oonte Centre for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Ondangwa, Namibia.

An email was sent to Prof. Dennee from the director of Oonte with the following plea: “Schools have been closed nationwide, and our government has declared a state of emergency, so we have been distributing food parcels to the homesteads to avoid crowding and the children going hungry. We have also been trying to distribute water buckets and soap to as many households as possible to minimize the spread of the virus. This was an unforeseen development and is now placing a tremendous strain on our budget, so any additional help and funds are really needed and welcome. We are trying our best to meet the needs of our wards, and the atmosphere is quite positive despite the circumstances.”

During the school year, over 500 children come to Oonte after school to receive a meal. For most, this is the only meal they have that day. With schools closed and nationwide shelter-in-place orders, it is no longer viable for children to go to Oonte for meals. In addition, most households do not have running water or electricity, hindering their ability to practice safe handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help the center, Prof. Dennee created a Facebook fundraiser with an initial goal of $1,000. However, with the help of numerous donors, he was able to triple that goal and achieve it within four days. The funds will be used to support services provided by Oonte and to help distribute food parcels to households and provide water buckets and soap to families.

Oonte CenterProf. Dennee has a long-term relationship with the Oonte Centre. Since 2010, he has led J-Term study abroad experiences in Namibia. Part of the experience includes a service-learning project at Oonte where Carthage students have built hope gardens, nurseries for growing moringa trees, corrugated shelters for families with only straw huts to sleep in, and numerous other projects.

Alumnus Casey Sugden ’12 is now a reverend at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Wisconsin. He traveled to Namibia with Prof. Dennee for J-Term while at Carthage, and through continued support from his church, was able to donate an additional $1,000 to the Oonte Centre.

A Christmas CD performed by the Oonte Children’s Choir and produced by Prof. Dennee is available for $10 to help raise funds for the center. If you’d like to purchase a CD or donate to the Oonte Centre, please contact Prof. Dennee at pdennee@carthage.edu.