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Heal the Community

Heal the Community program

*The Heal the Community program started 10 years ago in 1995, and continues to focus on cultural, arts/educational workshop and seminar exchanges between American youth and Tanzanian youth, every visit averaging approx. 6 weeks each time 

 Heal the Community activities encourage dialogue between youth of America and youth of Africa,  The program provides the opportunity to explore their commonalities and their differences with the hope that these discussions will lead to opportunities for the building of positive contacts, experiences, high self esteem and empowerment.

We feel that our youth in America need to see youth from other communities, who are living their dreams…who are creative and responsible members of their communities…who have chosen a positive path in life. 

  Kansas City has been the main focus of this cultural exchange program and DeLaSalle Education Center located in K.C. Mo. has been participating since 1995 by both sending select students and receiving students from Tanzania.  

(from left) Sharon Thomas, Pete O'Neal, Frida Mshana, a KLM official, Raneissa Wedlow, another KLM officer, and a Tanzanian government officer

The first Heal the Community Group in 1995 consisted of Raneissa Wedlow, a student from DeLaSalle and her counselor, Ms. Sharon Thomas.  Frida Mshana, from Sekei Secondary, represented Tanzanian youth.  In cooperation with UAACC, KLM Royal Dutch airline provided a ticket for Raneissa as a part of its 'Bridging the World' 75th anniversary celebration.
Frida went to Kansas City in 1995 for a reciprocal educational/cultural exchange.  She won the right to participate by winning an essay contest.

Frida is pictured with Charlotte in front of a mural commemorating the famous Jazz history of Kansas City, the birthplace of Charlie Parker and so many other Jazz greats

Highlights from Heal the Community 2000!

Highlights from Heal the Community 2000!


The participants included Nimuo Adel Adan, Hadija Msongo, Upendo Wantua and Felix Mnguto a diverse group of students representing both urban and rural youth.

Upendo was from the Wahazabe tribe and her experiences were quite historical in her community! 

It was a whirlwind of activities that took place over a three month period mostly in the Midwestern American city of Kansas City.

The activities ranged from visits to different churches, institutions, museums and cultural centers with in the city to out of town visits to both Jefferson City, Missouri’s State capital and to Washington, D.C.

Heal the Community participants at Sister City International Day celebration

Nimuo speaking at church of Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver


The youth had the opportunity to visit sites of factories in the industrial districts and the farming community surrounding the city which presented them with the opportunity to compare those lifestyles to what they’ve always known in East Africa.


Hadija and Upendo try out a tractor during a visit to a wheat farm

Arusha and Kansas City students get to know each other

The group of UAACC youth representatives were recognized at City Hall and met with both the former Mayor Emanuel Cleaver and his successor, Mayor Kay Barnes who read a resolution at City Hall honoring the groups visit.   

While sharing their culture there were many opportunities to learn more about the Kansas City African American community when they were special guests at a gathering of the KC Chapter of the Black United Front.  Mr. Mickey Dean, a civil rights attorney and one of the leaders of the KC BUF, expressed that the Tanzanian youth proved to be "most delightful and informative.  We learned a lot from talking with them and we found their observations about the differences between youth they have met here [in K.C.] and youth in Tanzania to be very intuitive.  They are an example for our youth here in Kansas City!"

Powerful First Impressions at Lincoln University!

The HTC group, accompanied by Dr. Yvonne Wilson and two students and a teacher from DeLaSalle Education Center, just got back from their first ever train ride to "Jeff City" where they were hosted by Lincoln University!

The journey to Jefferson City, the Missouri State Capitol was exciting from the moment the Heal the Community crew boarded the Am Track train.  "I  shouted out and I was so excited to look out  the window and see snow falling!", was one of Hadija's first observations.



 And as they began their tour of Lincoln University, one of America's renowned, traditionally Black citadels of learning, the four youth could hardly believe their eyes!  "The campus is huge", Upendo enthused "and everybody was so friendly.  We even got an opportunity to meet with some of the Tanzanian students studying there!"    

The Tanzanian Heal the Community participants in Jefferson City at Lincoln University with Dr. Yvonne Wilson (in white cap) and students and teacher from DeLaSalle

The group learned much about the history of Lincoln U from Dr. Yvonne Wilson,  who was formerly Chairman of the Board of Curators at Lincoln U and who is presently Missouri State Representative and co-Chair of the Arusha - Kansas City Sister City Committee.  Dr. Wilson and Nimuo had been enjoying a reunion of sorts as they had previously met and became friends in a 1996 visit to Arusha by Dr. Wilson and her grandson, Justin.  During that visit, she made a presentation of the flag of Kansas City to Arusha Mayor Hon. Philip Kivuyo, on behalf of the city council. 


Dr. Wilson also presented a special certificate from the then, Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, to Pete O'Neal in recognition of the far reaching relevance and success of the United African Alliance Community Center's Heal the Community Program.  Mayor Cleaver, Kansas City's first African American mayor (who recently completed two terms of very popular office in the "City of Fountains") came to Arusha in 1997 as a part of the Heal the Community delegation from Kansas City and while here, he officially inaugurated the Sister City relationship between Arusha and Kansas City.

Nimuo comments that during their three month stay in Kansas City, “I met some people who were very surprised that I could be 21 years old and never had a car, or how could I be happy with no gold teeth or brand name clothes on!  I think for us being there enabled some of the youth to see that there’s a lot more in life than just material things…the world is so huge and has a lot to offer to make you happy!”

“Us being there” Nimo continues, “helped many African Americans to learn more about their motherland, their old cultures and ways.  There were a lot of differences but also a lot of similarities.  And going to America has also made me see the value of the things I have here in Tanzania.  I was never all that proud of my country or culture before, but now, I see that I actually have a lot to share with other people around the world!  Through the Heal the Community program, I believe people will be able to learn and share with each other and this will help bridge the gap.  We have one very important thing in common…we all want to live a good life full of peace, love and harmony.  I believe through working together, sharing our difference, we will all be able to achieve our goal… the most important goal in our lives!  I am thankful that the Heal the Community Program has given me an opportunity to see and realize that!” 


Kansas City is also Arusha's Sister City.

UAACC emphasizes the strength of the African family, exposing American youth to the positive and uplifting African Family experience in hopes that they will absorb and learn and pass it on to their communities in America.

In turn, Tanzanian youth find that by sharing their culture with American communities, they learn to appreciate their African heritage even more.


To read more about this program click here

More information, photos, articles and links coming soon!