'Lunch for Lenana' to raise funds for Kenyan school

Campaign aims to help build secondary school in impoverished village

The Brandeis Asian American Student Association (BAASA) is joining forces with other colleges and high schools for The Supply Education Group’s worldwide campaign, Lunch for Lenana, from Nov. 14 to 18.

The Supply is a non-profit organization working to provide educational opportunities to children in slum cities and was started by Asian Americans, Shawn Lee of New York, John Suh of New Jersey, and Eddo Kim of California. On one of their first trips to Lenana, Kenya, a slum 10 kilometers west of Nairobi, The Supply met John and Peter, two charismatic and bright orphans. They work side jobs carrying water and selling maize to support their siblings and to pay their school fees. Every day, they sat in the classroom during lunch, while their classmates ran off to eat meals in their homes. When asked why they did not go eat lunch with their classmates, they replied: "’Every day, we give up lunch so that we can pay for school fees.’" They hunger for education.

Therefore, the Supply launched Lunch for Lenana last week, asking students to give up the money they would spend on lunch and donate that money to the cause. This represents how children from Lenana give up lunch money on a daily basis to afford basic education. The goal of Lunch for Lenana is to collectively raise enough funds ($35,000) to complete the construction of Lenana’s first secondary school. In addition, Asian American YouTube personality and friend of Lenana, Kevin Wu (also known as KevJumba), has partnered up with the Supply in this campaign and will personally visit the school that raises the most funds.

The November dates were chosen for this campaign because during this time, John and Peter will be taking their KCPE National Examination for their Primary Certificates. They were supposed to take the exam last November, but one of the teachers ran away with their registration money. Therefore, they had to pay school fees again to repeat Standard 8.

Esther Lee ‘15, who had interned with the Supply two summers ago, contacted Stephanie Lee ‘13, co-president of BAASA, to bring this campaign to Brandeis.

“I met with Esther earlier this week and seeing how passionate she was about the cause, I decided that I wanted BAASA to help Esther represent Brandeis University in this campaign,” Stephanie said. “I had also been part of a club in high school that helped build a school in Cambodia so we were familiar with the idea. We have also been following the Supply on Facebook and YouTube since the summer so I was really happy when Esther had contacted me.”

The Supply has also teamed up with the Jubilee Project, a non-profit group that utilizes social media outlets to spread awareness about today’s issues, including sex trafficking, Type II Diabetes, and the importance of music and arts in education, to raise funds this past summer. BAASA had brought The Jubilee Project to Brandeis in October.

BAASA, in conjunction with fellow Intercultural Center clubs like Triskellion, will be tabling throughout the week in Usdan from noon to 2 p.m. to collect donations. They will also collect donations at BAASA's next general meeting, ReVamping Asian Takeout, as a break from the Thursday lunch fast on Nov. 17 at the Intercultural Center at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit The Supply's website or email the Brandeis Asian American Student Association.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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