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All You Need Is An Open Heart: Mimi '20 Travels to Tanzania for Service Project

Senior Mimi Muir has always been interested in public health; since 2017, she’s taken that passion and put it into action, fundraising and traveling to Tanzania to support girls’ health, hygiene, and education each summer. She and her fellow volunteers are known as “UhuruPad Champions.”

Mimi first saw the project on Facebook, as its founder Laura Chauvin shared videos to illustrate the problem girls were facing. “I didn’t realize the lack of sanitary hygiene products was an issue,” said Mimi. “A girl has to miss 4 days of school; that’s 40 days in a year.” She realized that with a donation of just $12, she could provide feminine hygiene products for one student for a year.

Mimi reached out to Laura, who had just done a pilot of the program supporting about 200 students. “She said if I was able to support 300 girls for one year, maybe I could come with her,” Mimi said; she took that goal and ran with it, writing a blog and sharing the project with friends, classmates, and teachers. “Donations of over $7,000 poured in within about a week.”

“I realized someone that is my young age can make an impact,” said Mimi. “All I did was reach out and within a few months, I was preparing to go abroad. All you need is an open heart and to be open to new experiences.”

Mimi traveled for a second time to Tanzania this summer, after helping recruit delegates from all over the country. These college students, graduate students, and professionals - 18 this past summer (Mimi has been the youngest on both trips) - pair up to share presentations at schools, sometimes speaking to 50 girls at a time. Mimi has written about the experience in blog posts, noting the “unconditional love” she finds in interacting with students.

“For 2020, I’m already planning,” said Mimi. “I’ve drafted a business plan to support as many girls as possible. My goal is to raise $30,000.” The funds would go towards purchasing a machine for a workshop in Tanzania that currently employs twelve women. Another machine would mean more jobs. 

“The Salesian Spirituality of giving back through humility, gentleness, kindness is really important,” Mimi said. “It’s important to give back and leave the world a better place.”

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