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Karen Harrison's Fundraiser:

Maasai Living School Well Project

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Karen Harrison


Madison Slate wrote -

Our Vision: To eradicate poaching through community driven multi-level programs that include economic development, education, and human vs. animal conflict resolution...like building a well to prevent people from having to fight animals for water at natural water sources!

The Problem: Poor families in remote communities of Africa see poaching as an opportunity to earn money for food and to pay for education for their children. For these families, the need for money outweighs the need to protect wildlife.

The Solution: Improve the lives of community members and shift their focus from survival to anti-poaching activities through multi-level programs that will protect wildlife and the environment.

This multi-level program will:

  • provide easy access to clean water...a well!
  • create profit sharing opportunities from tourism         
  • provide both traditional and anti-poaching education for community members
  • reduce dangerous encounters with wildlife...because animals don't know how to use a well!



The first step is to build a well.  How does a well help fight poaching you ask?    

  1. Natural watersources have to be shared with wildlife like elephants, lions, and crocodiles and often result in dangerous human vs. animal conflicts where one side often ends tragically in death.  A well provides communities with a water source that they do not have to share with wildlife. 
  2. Natural watersources are few and far between (often requiring a 5 to 10 mile walk) and, since children face the burden of gathering the family's daily supply of water, this leaves little time left in the day for school. By placing wells at schools, children are able to meet their family obligation AND attend school, where they can learn about the dangers of poaching to their environment and to family livlihoods when combined with an economic development program like tourism (see Phase 4).


Fundraising Goal:  Raise $10,000 to complete Phase 2 of the Living School Project, which is a deep water well on school property for a Maasai Community in Northern Tanzania. This community is currently drinking water from a well that they share with dangerous wildlife and that is polluted with fluoride, which is causing birth defects in their children.  (See full project description below including a summary of the highly successful outcomes from Phase 1)

This well is part of a multi-level program designed to provide a clean water source and create the following life-changing improvements:

  • Reduce dangerous human vs. animal encounters at natural water sources

  • Eliminate fluoride poisoning and birth defects caused by drinking water from natural sources that have been polluted by local mining, which leeches fluoride into ground water. 

  • Enable children to meet family obligations of gathering water while leaving time for education



  • Borehole Drill - Donated by the Arusha Rotary Club
  • Skilled Labor - People who can operate heavy machinery - $1,000 (Maasai community members will donate their time to assist in whatever way they can.)
  • Pump & Piping - $6,000
  • Cistern / Water Storage - $1,500
  • Cement Fluoride Filter System - $1,500



  • Make a donation. Every dollar helps!
  • Underwrite a section of the budget. Fund the entire Cistern Water Storage budget or the entire Cement Fluoride Filter System!
  • Friend-raise and social network for us by telling your family, friends, and colleagues about our cause. Help a small org who really needs your help!
  • See if your company will match your donation.  Stretch your donated dollar to the max!
  • Donate $250 and receive a photo of a child using the well when it’s finished.
  • Donate $500 and have your name or company logo engraved in a memorial wall around the well.
  • Donate $1,000 and have your name or company logo added to our foundation website as a key sponsor.

*Each higher level includes the benefit of the previous level.



The Slate Foundation (www.TheSlateFoundation.org) is a public IRS approved 501c3 non-profit charity that was created after an attempt to film a documentary on Eastern lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo failed because there were no gorillas to be found. When we learned that they had all been poached by single mothers, who lay snares in the rain forest to catch and eat bush meat as a means to survival, it forever changed our view of poaching. We asked a group of 20 women what we could do for them that would allow them to stop setting snares and they said they wanted chicken farms. We pooled the funds we had with us and built our first chicken farm. Three years later, the chicken program was self-sustaining, included rabbit farms and 34 acres of rich farmland, and was supporting over 500 single and abused mothers and their children.

  • We are a small, grass-roots organization. 
  • We all have full-time jobs.
  • We do not earn salaries from your donation. 
  • We work out of our homes and apartments.
  • We have met with and lived with the people we are helping.
  • We speak with the people of the community and develop programs based on their needs.
  • We are deeply concerned about the status of indigenous cultures and wildlife populations of elephants, lions, big cats, rhinos, primates and other exotic animals.
  • We understand the relationship between endangered animals and the needs of the communities that share their ecosystem. 
  • We can’t do this without your help.
  • We need your donation, which is 100% tax deductible.


StoneCloth (www.Stonecloth.com) makes backpacks in California.  $10 from each purchase goes directly to support educational programs in Tanzania and provides tuition assistance, school meals, and school supplies. StoneCloth was inspired by Benson, a friendly porter who helped me and a group climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He always had a smile on his face and we got to know each other pretty well during our six days together. He was the first to congratulate me after I reached the summit. As we hiked down, I learned he earns between 1 and 2 dollars a day – not enough to put a child through school.  Back home, we researched how to help kids in Tanzania get the education they deserve. The solution was simple. We carry a backpack for school and a ruck sack to climb. So creating a mountain inspired bag to tie the two together seemed like the natural solution.


OUR "BIG PICTURE" PROGRAM:  The Living School Project                              

The Living School Project is a long-term project. There are four main goals and five phases of the Living School Project:

  • GOAL 1: Teach the community about the environment and the wildlife;                 
  • GOAL 2: Provide a place for the community to learn about economic development opportunities from tourism, new farming and agriculture techniques, technology, and health practices;
  • GOAL 3: Provide an exceptional education for the children of the area that will provide them with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to lift their community out of poverty;
  • GOAL 4: Provide necessary resources to enable children to attend school without burdening their family...like a well!



  • PHASE 1: SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED With special thanks to the Selma Oritt Foundation and Meredith Oritt, Longo & Longo Law Firm, Floyd’s Barbershop, Google, Patagoina, Fuze and Yolanda Sepulveda, Froggy's Restaurant, G.T. Williams Construction, Apasaa Swai, and all our family and friends for their donations and support which allowed us to establish a relationship with a Maasai Community in the high poaching zone of Northern Tanzania, create a land partnership and preserve land as an anti-poaching zone, obtain permits to dig a well and build a school, and to survey the land with a hydrogeologist who established possible drilling sites where we can find water.
  • PHASE 2: Build a well to provide a clean water source, which reduces human vs. animal conflict at natural water springs, enables children to meet family obligations of gathering water while leaving time for education, reduces ingestion of fluoride polluted water from natural water springs.
  • PHASE 3: Build a school that provides secondary education for 500 children in the community, who currently do not have access to a secondary school and who don’t have time to attend school because they must spend their days walking to and gathering water for their family’s survival. Early estimates anticipate a budget range of $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the architectural design, the number of buildings, and the inclusion of a boarding school concept. 
  • PHASE 4: Create profit sharing opportunities for the Maasai community so they can benefit from local tourism.  Early estimates anticipate a budget range of $25,000 to $50,000.
  • PHASE 5: Develop self-sustaining agriculture programs. Early estimates anticipate a budget range of $10,000 to $25,000.


To This Fundraiser


  • Karen Harrison



Fundraise for this Campaign

The Team: $8,610 TOTAL RAISED SO FAR

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mike niemann

Amount Raised



103% Raised of $7,000 Goal

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Madison Slate

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8% Raised of $10,000 Goal

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Donna DeDario

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27% Raised of $1,500 Goal

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gina longo

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Meredith Oritt

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Karen Harrison

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Corey Blight

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Donor Comments

Karen Harrison

Karen Harrison


6 years ago