Dear Friends, My name is Irene Mbilinyi. I am from the village of Iringa in rural Tanzania, East Africa. I lost both of my parents when I was seven years old and was raised at the Hananasif Orphanage Center (HOCET) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Growing up without parents at an orphanage taught me to be patient, kind, and have compassion for others. I learned to love, care and treat others the way I would want to be treated. My passion for helping people became bigger than my fears and limitations in life. I began dreaming of working in a hospital as a nurse, and as I got older, I started working toward that goal.
After I graduated from the boarding school founded by Kujali and HOCET, which provided me with free education, I had the opportunity to come to the United States to continue my studies. For the past three years, I have studied hard to get into nursing school and earned two associate degrees from Sierra College as part of my preparation: one in Natural Science, and one in Social and Behavioral Science. I am very ambitious and determined to achieve whatever goal I set for myself.
This summer, I was thrilled to be accepted into the nursing program at Harrisburg Area Community College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I could not be happier to see my dream becoming a reality. I know deep down this is the best path for me, and I believe in my ability to succeed in nursing school and become an amazing nurse someday.
Many people in my life have helped me get to this moment. I want to thank the Messer Family, Hezekia Mwalugaja and his family, Sarah Lowe and her family, and Sydney Schaef and her family for welcoming me into their lives and supporting me in so many ways over the years.
Education is expensive here in America. Being an international student with limited work opportunities makes it even more difficult to access. My visa restricts the kinds of jobs I can get to earn money, and I am ineligible for many of the scholarships or financial aid that could support my studies. So, I’m raising money to support my tuition fees as I enter this new chapter of my journey. The two-year nursing program begins this fall 2019. My goal is to raise $24,000 for tuition fees and expenses related to the program.
My passion for serving and helping others, along with the kindness and generosity of both strangers and friends have gotten me this far. Any amount you can offer in support of my dream to become a nurse will be cherished and appreciated. Because Kujali International, a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit, continues to sponsor me, you are able to receive a tax deduction for your contribution.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, for sharing it with others, and for any donation you might be able to give to support me.
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- Leslie Colwell
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