ASHWAUBENON - Dozens of children in Africa have an Appleton resident to thank for a brighter future in education.
Monday afternoon, the founder of the Burundi Education Fund returned to Wisconsin after a month-long trip overseas.
Burundi is a small, struggling country in the Eastern part of Africa. The fund helps support children and their schools.
Egide Nimubona and his family were greeted with a warm welcome Monday night at Austin Straubel Airport.
"Very excited to be home," Egide Nimubona said.
Despite the lengthy journey, Egide says it was worth it, especially since he was able to meet the children his organization supports, for the very first time.
"It was overwhelming," Egide said.
In all, the Burundi Education Fund provided supplies to more than 260 children.
Egide grew up in Burundi, but now lives in Appleton and works as an instructor at Fox Valley Tech.
He founded the organization in 2010.
"Poverty as a consequence of a long civil war, 13 years, and I just couldn't come back and sleep in peace and just thought I'd do something to improve the lives of children," Egide explained.
Many of the organization's board members and associates joined Egide on the mission trip.
They visited six schools across the region.
"I mean two pencils and they would just light up," said Board Chairman David Lee.
Lee was humbled by the experience.
"They got a piece of candy and we went around the room again, and a little girl said I already have mine. She didn't say it in English, but you could see she was holding it out, she didn't want to take one from someone else," Lee explained. "It was just amazing, so much gratitude for anything we could do for them."
Egide hopes to now double the fundraising efforts, with hopes to ultimately help more children in the future.
"Lots of opportunities in Burundi to do good," Egide said. "In other words, I believe we've been blessed in Wisconsin, in the U.S. in general and I believe, as Christians in general, we can do more."
Board members say the Neenah Rotary Club has also sponsored a fresh water system with the Burundi Rotary Club.
The group says it was able to see students drinking from the new system on the trip.
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