Work that began as a class project in Austin recently led two LASA students to the village of Gundawoojha in Ethiopia.
Jack Kappelmann and Ruth Mewhinney traveled to Africa over Winter Break to begin a partnership with Tumet General Primary School.
The two, along with fellow classmate Piper Newlander and LASA grad Jakob Dörnhofer, are cofounders of the nonprofit group One Mind at a Time.
The idea for the organization began two years ago when Kappelmann joined his father on a work trip to Ethiopia.
“After visiting some of the local schools, I really wanted to do anything that I could to help the education system,” Kappelmann said.
The organization supports Ethiopian children by providing needed school supplies and helping the local community promote education.
“When I heard about [Jack’s] idea, I wanted to be part of that,” Newlander said. “I would say that AISD, and LASA specifically, fostering a class like that, that’s student-driven, that has been really great to give us tools we need.”
The groups raised approximately $9,000 for their first visit, which provided chalkboards, floormats, radios, flash drives and more for the school. Sixty-three students were also outfitted with uniforms.
In addition, the group started a scholarship program that will continue to provide the students with school supplies.
One Mind at a Time started as a project when three of the four came together in a class called the Wicked Problem Project. The class objective was to come up with a solution to a problem of their choosing.
The students have also organized a club at LASA—now at 30 members—to support the work of the nonprofit. They hope to raise enough funds to build a new school and a well next year for Tumet General Primary School.
For more information on how to get involved, visit www.onemindethiopia.org.