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UW Class Offers Bingo, Auction to Support Kenyan Orphanage

November 4, 2015
large group of children and a few adults posing on steps of older cinder block building
Children in the Nakuru, Kenya, community stand outside the Shalom Garden Orphanage School. A UW communication class is raising money for the school with a bingo night and silent auction. (Shalom Garden Orphanage Photo)

Students in a University of Wyoming cross-cultural communication class have organized a charity bingo night and silent auction to raise funds for an orphanage and school in Nakuru, Kenya.

The event, “Bahati Bingo and Silent Auction,” will be held Friday, Nov. 13, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Laramie Plains Civic Center Kenny Sailors (north) gym. All proceeds will go to the Shalom Garden Orphanage School in Nakuru, Kenya, which provides basic school supplies, regular meals and a safe environment for children in the Nakuru community.

Tracey Patton, a professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism and the course instructor, says the project is both a way to help a good cause and an effective means to teach cross-cultural communication.

“My cross-cultural communication students are embarking on their class project where they put cross-cultural terms, theory and knowledge to the test in a real-world situation,” Patton says. “This year, they are trying to raise money to assist the Shalom Garden Orphanage in raising money for educational supplies and opportunities.”

Adam Croft, a UW senior enrolled in the course, says the class is an exciting opportunity to learn outside of traditional classroom methods.

“From what we’ve learned in class, it’s apparent that facilities like the Shalom Garden Orphanage are in critical need of support,” Croft says. “The work they do is vital in bettering not only these children’s lives, but the country’s future as well. It’s really inspiring to be a part of that, and we hope the Laramie community will join us.”

Admission to the bingo night is free, but Croft says the class hopes this encourages individual donations to the orphanage.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the event and give in whatever capacity they’re capable of, so that’s why it’s free,” Croft says.

Patton began using a service project in the course’s curriculum in 2006, when the class raised money to assist Rwandan genocide survivors. The Shalom Garden Orphanage, the 2015 class’s client, exists because of fundraising done by previous cross-cultural communication classes.

Even with prior fundraising efforts, the orphanage is still in dire need of assistance.

“Last year, the students involved in this project raised enough money to purchase a van for the group; however, the vehicle is not large enough for all students and petrol is expensive,” Patton says. “Currently, children who are not driven to school walk 2.6 miles one way to attend preschool, elementary and secondary school.”

Patton says the orphanage even provides many children with their only regular meal.

“This orphanage is the only place where children not in the orphanage receive their one meal for the day, which consists of a banana and a grain,” Patton says. “The eventual class goal is to help the orphanage find a new location, or assist in building an actual school.”

Margaret Kanyiri, the Shalom Garden Orphanage School’s director and founder, says funds from the bingo night and silent auction will go toward more than school supplies and a meal.

“The most impoverished children also will receive clothing and shoes, and the school fee of $1 per month will be waived,” Kanyiri says.

Even with the dire circumstances surrounding the orphanage, members of the class are trying to keep the event lighthearted.

“‘Bahati’ means luck in Swahili, so hopefully participants will experience some good fortune, even though it’s going to be on Friday the 13th,” Croft says.

Anyone who wants to make a direct contribution to the project can make a donation at More details about the event can be found at

Thus far, sponsors of the project include UW’s African American and Diaspora Studies Program, and Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

“The best part about this class project is that the Bahati Bingo Night and Silent Auction will be a fun event for families and the community,” Patton says. “Entrance is free; there is no cost, unless someone wants to make a personal donation. Ultimately, the class wants to raise enough funds via voluntary donations to make a difference in these children’s lives.”

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