ATLANTA — Two communities on opposite sides of the world celebrated a partnership 20 years in the making.
The nonprofit, Ubora, began with a vision. Pastor Maphie Wariaeli, a pastor from Karansi, Tanzania, wanted to bring educational opportunities and resources to his village.
Wariaeli call for humanitarian aid was answered by a group at Atlanta's Perimeter Church in 2002.
"The Village of Karansi was in such distress when we first arrived," Tim Neet said, a former pastor who helped establish the relationship with the Tanzanians. "The tiny village had been severely impacted by HIV, drought and a number of other factors, leaving a village of widows and orphans who were barely surviving."
Twenty years later, on June 23, local volunteers returned "home" for the 20th-year celebration between the people of Karansi and Atlanta.
"It is a family. It's an extended community that exists between Atlanta and Tanzania," Ubora president Dave Burgess said.
Since starting the cross-continental partnership, hundreds of people from Atlanta and throughout the U.S. regularly travel to Karansi on mission trips and coach the villagers through video calls to carry out the work of Ubora's impact programs in education, business and agriculture, health, community and child sponsorship.
Volunteers during their most recent visit to Karansi celebrated the Siha Leadership School, Ubora's sponsored English medium school. The private Christian school ranks in the top 10% of primary schools in the country.
"We've gone from very few of the kids making it past fourth grade to becoming the best school in the region," Burgess said.
Teachers from Atlanta have also made trips to Karansi to help students with their curriculum and aid with teacher training.
The success of Ubora's primary school has opened doors to new possibilities for the nonprofit. A secondary school for the village is something they will work on in the future.
Since opening their primary school, over 75 students have attended college in the region.
"Now to have college graduates who are doctors, engineers, accountants, teachers. We have several kids who went through the program and are now teachers at school. That's just unheard of in this village before that," Burgess said.
To further celebrate the collaboration between the two communities, volunteers climbed Mount Kilimanjaro during a six-day ascent of the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Climbers raised money for their work in Karansi during the climb. As of now, over $20,000 have been raised.
"Relationships are the strength of what we do. We're not a one and done. We're not a funding organization only. We walk alongside the people for the long term," Burgess said.