Education 4 Alvin

Couple seeks to help Tanzanian student

Photo provided by Logan Moore Finlandia University student Logan Moore and his wife, Hannah Smith-Moore, are raising funds to try to bring 15-year-old Tanzanian student Alvin Mongi, right, to the United States to attend high school. The couple met Mongi on a university trip that included service at his school in Tanzania.

HANCOCK — A Finlandia University trip to Tanzania may lead to a Tanzanian student being able to study in America.

Last year, Finlandia University student Logan Moore went on the university’s annual Service and Learning in Tanzania program. After a safari, the group went to the Kisarawe Lutheran Jr. Seminary, a secondary school where they spent a week working with children.

One of them, Alvin Mongi, stood out. He quickly bonded with Moore and his wife, Finlandia graduate Hannah Scott-Moore. He drew a comic of the couple; Moore as Superman, Scott-Moore as Wonder Woman.

“It was that kind of small moment that we were like, ‘Wow, he’s very talented and he has this great personality,'” Moore said.

As the trip went on, the couple learned more of Mongi’s story. HIs mother had died when he was 5. Despite his best efforts, Mongi’s father found it difficult to afford the school’s tuition. Mongi had been kicked out once for failure to pay. When the Moores arrived, he was about a week away from having to leave again. Mongi had begged the school to be able to take his finals so he could get academic credit for the year.

That’s when Moore and Scott-Moore decided to pay Mongi’s account. More than that, they decided to raise money so Mongi, now 15, could attend high school in America. The goal is to bring Mongi to a school in the U.S. this fall on an F-1 student visa.

“We’ve been thinking about this for a year, of how we going to try to give him the best future … we want to give him opportunities that he wouldn’t have there. it’s very, very difficult to find a decent-paying job in Tanzania,” he said.

With limited financial resources of their own, Moore and Scott-Moore have set up several places where people can donate. In addition to Gofundme and Instagram pages, people can buy a T-shirt designed by Scott-Moore, a graphic design artist.

While public schools are free for American citizens, the process can cost more than $20,000 for a student coming from a different country — even more for a private school.

“We’re trying to find a school that has one, an F-1 student visa process, because not all schools have one, and two, one that’s affordable,” Moore said. “So we’re trying to look in many different areas to see what is the best choice for him.”

For now, their efforts are focused solely on Mongi. But other students are in the same boat, Moore said. Eventually, they’d like to create a foundation to help other students who need help paying their tuition.

If the Moores don’t raise enough to bring Mongi to the United States, they will put the funds towards supporting his education in Tanzania, whether at a better secondary school or down the road college.

“This kid is an incredible person, and he has one of the biggest smiles that I’ve ever seen,” Moore said. “He cares so much about others. He puts others before himself.”

To donate to the Moores’ Gofundme page, visit gofundme.com/education4alvin. T-shirts raising money for the campaign are available at bonfire.com/education4alvin. To see the Instagram page, go to instagram.com/education4alvin.

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