Tasmanian charity raises $80,000 for East African project

NEW LIFE: Children living in Burundi are able to attend a school built by the Villages of Life organisation, which was started by a Launceston couple.

NEW LIFE: Children living in Burundi are able to attend a school built by the Villages of Life organisation, which was started by a Launceston couple.

A Tasmanian charity dedicated to helping those living in one of the world’s poorest countries has raised more than $80,000.

The Villages of Life organisation, started by Launceston couple Ted and Lorraine Bosveld, held its annual fundraising gala ball on Saturday to support their ongoing work in the Republic of Burundi, a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa.

A total of $80,400 was donated by generous locals through the event, funds which will go directly towards the Burundi project.

Since starting Villages of Life 10 years ago, the Bosvelds have helped build orphanages, schools, a medical clinic and farming operations.

The money raised from Saturday night’s gala will allow the Villages of Life team to build three additional classrooms, a house and purchase more farming land.

“It’s humbling, that people would support us and what we do to that degree,” Mr Bosveld said.

“There are just incredible amounts we can do with that [money].”

“When you build a house it’s a home for a mum and eight orphan children, but through the construction you are also creating jobs, people can afford to send their children to school, to eat.

“It has far reaching impacts on the village.”

With the support of the Tasmanian community behind them, the Bosvelds hope to make the project bigger and better.

“The support from the people in Launceston is critical, Villages of Life was created to connect [Tasmanians] with the project,” Mr Bosveld said.

“What we’re aiming to do is empower people to transform a nation.”

Over the next three to five years, Mr Bosveld said there were plans to expand the village including doubling the classrooms at the school which has 360 students.

“The school is pre-primary to grade 7 and we are looking at taking that through to year 12,” he said.

“We are also looking at developing some trade schools.”

The team’s next trip to Burundi is scheduled for June 2017 with about 15 volunteers heading along to help out at the village.

Villages of Life also coordinates sponsorship programs for children in Burundi.

Become a sponsor or donate to the organisation here.

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