Silicon Valley Family Completes First Round of Service Projects in Tanzania Through Fundraising Campaign

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In just six months, the Vaughan family of Atherton, California raised more than $22,000 through their fundraising campaign to tackle five service projects that benefit villagers in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. The Vaughans leave Africa for home this week with a promise to return and do more with their newly established, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit,

bridgepipelunch, bridge pipe lunch, Tanzania, Moshi Tanzania, global citizenship,Weruweru River

The Vaughan family visit the newly repaired footbridge over the Weruweru River

A growing number of American parents are raising their children to be competent, involved global citizens.

Silicon Valley residents Laura and Brannan Vaughan reflect a growing number of American parents who are raising their children to be competent and involved global citizens. In a nod to global stewardship, the Vaughans and their three sons return home to Atherton, California this week after a six-month volunteer journey to Tanzania that began in January, and ended last week with four completed service projects and a fifth project in progress. Each service project was selected to address a pressing need in villages near the Kilimanjaro foothills of Tanzania, and paid for through donations made to the fundraising campaign.

The crown jewel in the family’s group of service projects is the repair of a critical footbridge over the Weruweru River between Kimashuku Village and Shiri Matunda Village in Kilimanjaro. Built in 2001, the bridge had deteriorated over the years to the verge of collapse. Kimashuku villagers depend on the bridge daily to pick up supplies from neighboring villages. During rainy season, when monsoon-like rains move in and the river swells by more than six feet, crossing becomes particularly dangerous. With no money for bridge repairs and no alternative for traveling between villages, locals continued to cross despite the risks.

Upon arriving in Tanzania in January, a neighbor in the village of Moshi helped 10-year-old Tate Vaughan discover the bridge, and Tate chose to concentrate his volunteer efforts on raising funds for its repair. Tate used social media to rally classmates and friends back home, and the fundraising campaigns began. His initial goal of raising $5,000 was surpassed, thanks to the collaborative efforts of classmates at the German-American International School in Menlo Park who helped him collect a grand total of $6,011 for the bridge project.

With the help of the original bridge engineer, the Kimashuku village elder, and villagers who volunteered to perform the labor, bridge repairs were completed in May—just in time for the seasonal rains to begin.

Fourteen-year-old Sam Vaughan campaigned to fund a student lunch program for the Mlima Shabaha Public Elementary School 15 miles west of Moshi after learning that the children were going without meals throughout the long school days. And, after discovering that students were lugging gallons of water to school each day because there was no source of running water in the building, 11-year-old Reid Vaughan set out to raise funds to install a mile-long pipe to deliver fresh, clean water to the school.

Other projects followed, including a new roof and a school lunch program for another nearby school. Sam and Reid rallied classmates at the Nativity School in Menlo Park to help raise funds for these projects, and by the time the family was preparing to return home in June, more than $22,000 had been raised.

Although the Vaughan family accomplished a lot with their fundraising efforts during their stay in Tanzania, they say it is only the beginning.

Brannan and Laura Vaughan are establishing, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit to further their philanthropic goals. In Swahili, Lalafofofo means “sleeping peacefully,”

Through her regular blogs and social media updates on current projects and plans for future projects, Laura Vaughan has taken viral. She and the boys plan to return to Tanzania annually, take on 5-10 projects each year, and continue to give back in true global citizen form.

With close to launching and a book in progress, Laura Vaughan will continue to raise awareness and funds for the villages surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro. She welcomes students and neighbors in Menlo Park to join their efforts from the home front.

To make a donation or find out more about the Vaughan’s charitable projects in Tanzania, visit the website, email, or call media contact Liz Ernst in the U.S. at 813.965.4373.


Silicon Valley financial advisor Brannan Vaughan, his wife Laura and their three sons arrived in Moshi, Tanzania in January 2015 for a six-month study abroad program that quickly turned into an ambitious relief project to benefit struggling villages in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Their plan was to enroll their children in the local International School, immerse themselves in regional culture, and establish a charitable organization to help improve living conditions for the local community.

Neighbors and classmates from their hometown schools in Menlo Park, California joined the fundraising efforts long distance, and the campaign was born. Thanks to an active social media campaign and growing interest from friends and schoolmates, the campaign soon went viral and donations exceeded expectations.


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Liz Ernst

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