Sixty years ago, Pastor Paulina Mndeme, a kind-eyed Tanzanian woman living in the small village of Mwanga began to serve her community beyond the doors of her church. Twenty years ago she began a school because she believed that girls and boys needed both faith and education in order to find happiness and success. The school was named Amani Vumwe (the word “Amani” in Kiswahili means ‘peace’), and the vibrant young granddaughter of Pastor Mndeme was more than eager to help her grandmother, and the school, further the cause of education for her village in need. This little girl was name Waridi Valentine–and she had big dreams for the future of her village…and her life.
In 2015 Waridi founded Seeking Amani, a nonprofit project that was designed to supplement the education of the students of Amani Vumwe by providing creative arts and a Community Building Workshop. The activities and discussion of the Community Building Workshop are centered on the importance of:
Health (in regards to Malaria prevention and sanitation)
The importance of individualism was the mission and purpose of Seeking Amani. Both of Waridi’s cultures (Tanzanian: collectivity and community, and American: creativity and individuality) are integrated in the workshops.
The Community Building Workshop revolves around a mission connected to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with the goal of progressing towards a sustainable future with Amani Vumwe. Waridi incorporated some of SDGs within her Community Building Workshop because the missions were so closely related to the purpose of Seeking Amani. Specifically:
- #2 Good Health and Well Being
- #3 Quality Education
- #10 Reduced inequalities
- #12 Responsible Consumption and Production
The purpose of the Community Building Workshop is to help inspire the children from the village in Mwanga, demonstrating to them their potential.
Waridi’s long term goal is to continue to supplement the education of the students of Amani Vumwe and provide them with tools to demonstrate effective community leadership skills and the importance of self. She is currently the Ambassador of Amani Vumwe Primary School and hopes to increase her responsibilities in the future.
In addition, Waridi has independently freelanced her own fashion design business with focuses on up-cycled afrocentric accessories. Waridi’s mother who is also a fashion designer has been involved with organizations that support the education and growth of children, and inspired her to create her own.
Waridi is currently a 2018 candidate for the Pratt Design Management Master’s Program. She applied for the Pratt Graduate Student Engagement Fund (GSEF), which was awarded and supported the upcoming Community Building Workshop for Amani Vumwe. Waridi plans to integrate her skills and passion to provide a creative platform for education and creativity for children and designers that lack resources. Her grandmother, Pastor Mndeme continues to serve her community through faith and education and has left a multigenerational legacy of community involvement and service.