Silicon Valley financial advisor Brannan Vaughan, his wife Laura and their three sons arrived in Moshi, Tanzania in January, 2015 for a six-month stay. 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.
The family hunted for a service project to take on, and the Vaughan children—Sam, 14, Reid, 11 and Tate, 10—found three. In less than five months, they raised more than $13,000 to repair a collapsing bridge in Kimashuku, install a mile-long water pipe to provide water to a local school, and to fund a school lunch program for the Mlima Shabaha School near Moshi. Classmates from their hometown schools in Menlo Park, California joined the fundraising efforts, and the bridgepipelunch.org campaign is going viral.
Brannan and Laura Vaughan are keeping the momentum alive by establishing a 501(c)(3) called “Lalafofofo,” which means “sleep peacefully” in Swahili, to continue managing donations and projects even after they return to the U.S.
When the Vaughan family of Menlo Park, California arrived in Tanzania in January 2015 for a six month stay, the footbridge had deteriorated to near collapse. Still, the locals depended on it to travel back and forth between villages at great risk. Ten-year-old Tate Vaughan decided to make a project of restoring the bridge and began campaigning to raise $5,000 toward that goal. He enlisted friends from his fourth grade class at the German-American International School in Menlo Park, 10,000 miles away, who rallied to raise funds toward the bridge repair campaign, and word spread. By March, Tate had raised more than $6,000.
Brannan and Laura Vaughan, and their three sons Sam, 14, Reid, 11 and Tate, 10 had set their sights on Tanzania for a study abroad program combined with some opportunities to give back to the Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania area in which they were staying.
Each boy chose a project to rally around; Sam campaigned to fund a student lunch program for the Mlima Shabaha Public Elementary School 15 miles west of Moshi, and after discovering that students were lugging gallons of water to school each day, his brother Reid raised funds for mile-long pipe to deliver fresh, clean water to the school. Other projects followed, and by the time the Vaughan’s were preparing to return home in June, more than $22,000 had been raised.
Although the family accomplished a lot with the bridgepipelunch.org fundraising efforts during their stay in Tanzania, they say they’re not done. Brannan and Laura Vaughan are establishing a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit named “Lalafofofo,” a Swahili expression for “sleeping peacefully,” to further their philanthropic goals. Through her regular blogs and social media updates on the projects completed and projects ahead, Laura Vaughan plans to return to Tanzania, take on more projects and continue to give back.
With Lalafofofo.org close to launching and a book in progress, Laura Vaughan will continue to raise awareness and funds for the villages surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro.
To make a donation or find out more about the Vaughan’s charitable projects in Tanzania, visit the bridgepipelunch.org website, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call media contact Liz Ernst in the U.S. at 813.965.4373.