STEVENSVILLE — The nonprofit Living Beyond Hope will host a dinner and silent auction on April 27 at Stevensville United Methodist Church, 5506 Ridge Road, to benefit children of the Arnoldine mission church in Zimbabwe.
All proceeds will go toward buying textbooks and desks for students at the mission’s newly constructed secondary school.
Farai Rukunda of Stevensville is the man behind the creation of Living Beyond Hope. He was born and raised in the mission village, adopted by two missionaries who worked in the village after his parents died when he was a young boy, and eventually came to the United States to further his education and quality of life.
He returned to the Arnoldine mission with his adopted father, Norman Thomas, in 2014, and left with a dream of helping improve the quality of life for the people of Arnoldine.
“In 2013, when the Arnoldine Secondary School started, there was no access to clean water. The students had to walk 2 miles round trip to get water from a nearby stream,” Rukunda said. “With financial support from Stevensville United Methodist Church and several other donors in the community, we were able to install a clean water system in June 2015.”
The Lakeshore Rotary, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary and other local business and private donors have contacted him looking for ways they can provide support. Rukunda thought it would be a good idea to start a nonprofit to continue the good work that has already been started.
In 2016, the group began raising money for a new school.
“When the high school started in 2013, they only had seven students in the high school and two building structures that served as temporary classrooms,” Rukunda said. “Today, the school has a growing attendance of over 209 students, and is in desperate need for more space.
A plan was created to construct a new school that consisted of classroom “blocks” – two classrooms each holding 45 students, with an office in between. Blocks would be built one at a time based on physical need and financial ability. Construction of the first block is nearing completion, and finding funding for textbooks and desks for the students is the next urgent need.
Living Beyond Hope has set a goal of $52,500 – the amount it needs for books and desks for 250 students.
Ticket are $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 6-12. Tickets include an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner with drink and dessert.
A silent auction and raffle prizes also will be available, and Andrews University will provide entertainment.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondhope,