On April 28th Evie Treen - Founder, Friends of Woni International and Global Fashion Icon and Philanthropist Ms. Sue Wong were honored as the two Humanitarian Honorees at the 8th annual Diversi-Tea Gala. Evie was one the guest speakers for the water projects, educational programs she had done in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Diplomats Diversi-Tea Gala. The event salutes global diversity, and honoring Ambassadors, and Consul Generals who have carved a path in the international community by making an impact in international affairs, and elevating the level of community career achievements among their peers.
In her own words at the gala Ms. Treen said: My first trip to Kenya was in 2005, it was like most people, to see the wildlife of which there is an abundance. But what I found was smiling people, warm and cordial, what was different about them is they lived in rural areas. I have made over twenty trips to Kenya, since 2005, most trips I check on our projects to see how things are going and if there are any problems.
I had no idea how this trip would change my life, and what fun it has been to be able to see the smiles and the tears when water wells are drilled and water comes out. The schools in the rural areas of Kenya are few, high schools usually are a long distance from the grade schools. There is a large dropout rate once they finish the eighth grade as high schools are miles from their homes. They don’t have cars or even bicycles, and ten or more miles is way too far.
Talking to the people in a farming community I heard of their needs, water and education, this was the same in the Maasai village. This was not much different than here in the US. Except for the water we have it and don’t have to carry it miles from home. To see a farming community spring to life with a water well, with vegetables more than enough for the table, and some to sell at the market. And serving over 3000 people.
Our newest project is to build a girls’ dorm in an area of Ngu Nyumu, this is a new high school built by the local people, someone donated the land, others donated the building material, they donated the labor to build the class rooms. It is fully operational now. But, what is needed is a dorm for the girls to live in so they don’t have to walk to school from the distances of their homes.
To build a dorm such as what is needed in the US would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but in Kenya we can build a 100-person dorm, with a kitchen, dining area, showers, bathrooms, and a Dorm Mothers room for $100,000 US dollars. The reason the cost is so much less than here are the building materials they use are much less in cost, and the families come together and help with the labor.
Once we have raised the funds, we will need to address the fact of a water well to be drilled to supply the school, this with the infrastructure needed will cost in the neighborhood of $75.000 to equip the well with pumps, storage tanks. We have big dreams, and if you can dream it, it will happen.
I would like to invite any of you who would like to come to our annual gala fund raising and dance to come to Santa Barbara on May 7th, and see more of what we do and have done. After all, most people love Santa Barbara, and it is a nice get away from Los Angeles. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to such distinguished guests.