H5K Running for Tanzania


Tomorrow’s H5K race is for the children of Babati, Tanzania.  It is only fit that the story that began in Blue Bell, continues in Blue Bell

H5K Blue Bell Race logo

(Blue Bell, PA) September 9, 2011 — Joshua Johnston grew up in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, attended college at Eastern University and found himself on a safari in East Africa that changed his life forever.

Joshua was taken by the amount of homeless children in Babati, Tanzania; the small town he visited while participating in a cultural tourism program. The children would work small jobs just to make enough money for a day’s meal.  They had no parents, no education, no future.

After returning home, the scenes would play out in Joshua’s head over and over again.  Whereas most of us would just return to our daily grand, Joshua did something different.  He relocated to Tanzania, making his home in Babati where a mere $350 per month is a comfortable lifestyle. Anxious to initiate change, Joshua took the time to observe and understand his community, what was currently in place, and took note as to what was actually working. Joshua also learned Swahili, spoke to community leaders, and volunteered with a local organization that was already successful and operating effectively by Tanzanian citizens.  That organization was called the Manyara Holistic Centre (MAHOCE).  But even with its success, the biggest hindrance to this organization’s growth was its lack of finances. It was in desperate need of operating capital and had zero access to it.  It was then that Joshua had a plan.

He connected with friends and family from home and ultimately established a 501(c)3 with the goal of helping his community in Babati.  “I was impressed with the initiative taken by the local community and I knew if we joined together the help we could provide these street children would be that much more”, Joshua stated. On September 11, 2008 the Harambee Foundation was founded.  Since then, it has helped MAHOCE house and educate 30 youth.

Harambee’s focus, right now, is to raise money to cultivate a 50-acre plot of land that was given to MAHOCE as a donation.  This donation will provide the foundation for a program which will, ultimately, sustain itself within a 3 to 5 year period. The goal is to use money raised by Harambee to construct additional housing and schools as well as cultivate the land for farming and livestock. The harvest will be sold to the village community allowing the center to operate fully on its own.  This is why Harambee is so special and unique.  All money raised goes directly to Babati.

Tomorrow at 8 AM, the 2nd Annual H5K will take place at Montgomery County Community College.  Over 100 people registered to run in last year’s race and we are hoping for an even larger turnout this year.  Sponsors include:  Anderson Industries, Mittman & Rehling, Gwynedd Chiropractic, Kevin High Photography, State Farm- Michael Groves, Road ID, Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Faccenda construction and On the Fly.

Karla Trotman is a high school classmate of Joshua’s and the race coordinator.  When asked about tomorrow’s race she replied, “Just ask people why they are running in the H5K they will say, ‘It’s an amazing cause’.  People see all that Joshua is doing in Tanzania and want to support his work.  That is why I volunteered to help.”

To make a donation to this worth cause you can go to the Harambee Foundation website – https://harambeefoundation.org. All gifts are tax deductible.

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The Harambee Foundation is committed to profoundly impact the lives of vulnerable children and women in collaboration with local community initiatives in East Africa. Harambee envisions a world where people of differing countries, races and ethnicity come together in solidarity to effectively solve issues relating to poverty, lack of educational opportunities and social justice. This vision is one where all peoples recognize their God given potential and abilities to affect change within their own lives, communities, and the larger world in order to achieve substantial healing and progress. For more information go to: www.HarambeeFoundation.org or the H5K visit:  http://runH5K.com or contact Karla Trotman karla@harambeefoundation.org, 267.625.6690

About Joshua Johnston

Co-Founder of the Harambee Foundation. Experience with community development projects in Tanzania, East Africa stemming from local initiatives. Holistic approaches toward sustainable community development. To support vulnerable women and children through local initiatives in East Africa. I believe in: -Creating personal investment and ownership in local development projects -Decision making at the local level -Challenging the status quo -Individual and community empowerment Specialties Fluent Swahili Speaker, Cultural Knowledge (esp. East Africa), Cross-Cultural Psychology, Cross-Cultural Immersion, Community Development, Missions, World Religions, Public Speaking, Sustainable Community Development
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