Rotary Club Fundraiser

Tapas and Sangria topped off the afternoon for a packed house at Meson Sabika. But the dining was all part of a larger benefit for Kenya.

“Our kids are growing up in a global society,” said Patricia Merryweather-Argus. “We now know with the internet how close everyone is. What happens in another country can affect us here. So I think we all realize we’re getting to the point where we truly our brothers and sisters.”

“Kenya is a very poor country. “It’s a small country with a population of about 41-million people and out of that population there is about 1.9 million people living with AIDS virus,” said Sister Florence Muia. “More than 1.2 million orphaned children as a result of this problem.”

Sister Florence and Sister Francesca of Kenya started Upendo Village, an organization that provides counseling, education and housing for Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS.

Demonstrating their motto “Service Above Self”, local Rotarians decided to raise money selling jewelry, tote bags, and scarves made by the women of Upendo Village. All of the proceeds will go back to the village to empower the people who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

“This helps them put a meal on their table for their children. It helps them send a child to school. It helps them pay rent for their little rooms they are living in,” said Muia. “Although they are living with AIDS, they can still live positively and do something once they are empowered.

Owner of Meson Sabika, Hossein Jamali is also a Rotarian. He not only welcomed the idea of hosting the sale at his restaurant but even donated much of his food and beverage sales to the cause.

“Not being born in this country, I am familiar with a lot of the struggles that go on in other parts of the world and that’s perhaps one of the reasons I’m more sympathetic,” said Jamali. “So it always feels great to do something and make a little bit of a difference in improving somebody’s life.”

Upendo is a Kiswahili word for “Love” and Naperville residents certainly demonstrated that through this 4th annual fundraiser. The event raised more than 5-thousand dollars, which Naperville Rotary Charities will match.


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