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April 20, 2010 - Mary Fournier '01 had it in her heart and mind that she needed to go to Africa and work in an orphanage. Fournier was able to do that and more. She recently started a non-profit organization called To: Africa From: U.S. (TAFUS) that gives aide to communities in need in developing African nations. TAFUS encourages volunteers to visit Africa and serve, and provides financial assistance to communities in hopes of building relationships and improving the quality of life of the people who live there. The organization focuses on aiding with medical expenses, school supplies and educational funding, and clean water. All donations to the organization go directly to the communities and individuals.

The organization's current focus is in southern Uganda. Fourier visited Uganda last June and spent three weeks teaching and helping with sports activities at St. Agnes Vocational School. On her trip to Uganda, Fournier saw how much need there was for life essentials in the area. Rural areas lack clean water and schools lack text books and other supplies. Many people in the area want to receive an education but have no money to pay for it. Medical centers in the area are short on supplies and malaria and malnutrition are prevalent in the area.

Fournier was able to establish may relationships with the people living in Uganda, and came to know personally the people in need. She realized that aide for the people of the area could be provided through funding from the United States, but wanted to make sure that she was helping the people she had interacted with on her trip. "If I gave money through another organization, I wouldn't be assured that these communities which I visited would be helped," said Fournier. "Therefore, I knew I need to start my own organization."

The organization will be sending money in the coming weeks to build a well in a village near where Fournier works in Uganda. The money was donated by a generous 17-year old cancer survivor whose wish was to help people in need of water. Fournier is trying to establish more connections with communities and places in need, including nearby Tanzania, where similar problems are present. TAFUS hopes to organize more fundraisers and apply for grants in order to raise money needed to pay for projects like helping to build a school building and accommodate the students. The organization looks to continue building wells, schools, libraries and fulfill basic needs in any way it can.

The organization is planning a trip to Uganda from June 10 through July 10, 2010. Volunteers will be working with numerous secondary and boarding schools as well as a nursing home and a health center. >>More Information