When Millie Klumpp, of Arroyo Grande, heard that a dormitory at her former high school in Kenya had burned, she knew she had to act. So, Klumpp decided to seek the help of her community to rebuild the dorm on the other side of the globe.
She is hosting a fundraiser today at the Avila Bay Athletic Club and Spa to help build a new dorm, as well as provide mosquito nets and toilets for an all-girls high school in Kendu Bay, where people use latrines built into the ground.
The cause of the blaze is unknow, but it’s possible that kerosene lamps used for lighting fell late at night, Klumpp said. Students escaped, and no one was injured.
Students now are being crowded into other housing at the school, Klumpp said. Without classrooms, they gather under trees during lessons.
Klumpp’s efforts follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, Salome Olweya, who died of heart failure Thursday in Kendu Bay.
Helping to improve the lives of people in Kendu Bay has been the lifelong work of Olweya, who helped to feed, clothe and counsel people there.
People in Kendu Bay live in extremely modest and often dangerous conditions.
Klumpp said that teenage girls in Kendu Bay often are raped on their way to the river to collect water. Many children are orphaned because their parents die of AIDS, and the village has no running water or electricity.
Klumpp, who attended the Kendu Bay high school, led an effort to raise $17,000 earlier this year for a water well there. Access to fresh water is critical because people there often contract water-borne diseases such as malaria.
Klumpp hopes to raise $50,000 for the dorm, mosquito nets and toilets.
“These are basic needs that will make a huge difference in people’s lives,” said Klumpp, who lives with her husband, Ralph Klumpp, and son, Jason, in Arroyo Grande.
To raise the money and develop the dorm project, Klumpp is working with Wine for Water, a nonprofit wine shop and tasting lounge in Paso Robles founded by Ryan Broersma. The group donates all profits to building water wells and latrines in developing nations.
Today’s event hosts will be Bill Pesso and Amy Jacobs from Coast 101.3 FM. South County residents Rodney and Robin Cegelski — founders of the tire sealant Slime — also have been key to the event coordination.
Klumpp is also planning a monthly cosmetology day at the Avila Bay Athletic Club and Spa where she works to benefit Kendu Bay. Plans are still being developed.
“People there have so little,” she said. “And my grandmother’s loss will be felt by so many there. I want to help how I can.”
Kenya fundraiser today
A fundraiser to help build a dorm at a girl’s high school in Kendu Bay, Kenya, is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. today at the Avila Bay Athletic Club’s Tennis Tower.
A $50 donation is suggested, but any amount will be accepted. The event includes gourmet appetizers, wine tasting from seven local wineries, live music and a live auction.
Checks also are welcome, payable to “Wine for Water” with “Millie’s Village” in the memo line. Mail to Millie Klumpp at Avila Bay Athletic Club and Spa, 6699 Bay Laurel Place, Avila Beach, CA 93424.