Lowell Students run to support students in Africa

June 5, 2015 On a warm and sunny spring morning at Wright Park in Tacoma, Washington, hundreds of grade school children laced up their sneakers and speed past a mile long course lined by enthusiastic parents and boisterous cheering students all for a good cause, to raise funds to help support clean water, school lunches, uniforms and tuition assistance for students at St. Jude Primary School in Rubongi, Uganda. The first annual Lowell Elementary Spring Fling Run was organized by the Lowell Elementary PTA in partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma, with proceeds from the fun run benefitting COFIA programs.

Lowell students proudly wore special blue wrist bands showing off both the Lowell School name and ‘St. Jude’, the Ugandan primary school supported by COFIA. Hundreds of little feet made huge strides to provide much needed resources for impoverished children living 3,000 miles away in the Village Rubongi. But the big winner of the day wasn’t a Lowell student, it was the 600 students living in extreme poverty at St. Jude Primary School. More than $1,100 was raised by the children, thanks to friends and families who sponsored student runners to participate in the Spring Fling Fun Run.

Before race day, COFIA Founder Carolyn Othieno had an opportunity to address students and parents at a Lowell school assembly. “Can you imagine not having any drinking fountains at your school,” Carolyn asked the children. Gasps of disbelief could be heard throughout the well mannered and attentive grade-schoolers. Carolyn, originally from the Village Rubongi, described the challenges faced by children at St. Jude; students with no backpacks, no school school supplies or lunch, and feet without shoes. Curious children passed around handmade toys from Uganda during the assembly; a soccer ball made from banana leaves, a toy truck created from spare wires, and flip flops assembled with one nail and scraps of old rubber tires found abandoned on the side of the road by a passing truck.

Inspired and motivated, Lowell students were the big champions of the first annual Lowell Spring Fun Run. Great fun was had by students and parents, and much good will be done thanks to the donations collected by the students. Thanks Lowell Elementary Panthers!

Why is education important?

  • Education is a basic human right and a significant factor in the development of children, communities, and countries.
  • Opening classroom doors to all children, especially girls, will help break the intergenerational chains of poverty. Education supports gender empowerment
  • Education can improve child and maternal health
  • Education can help reduce hunger. Gains in women’s education made the most significant difference in reducing malnutrition, out-performing a simple increase in the availability of food. A 63-country study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that more productive farming as a result of female education accounted for 43 percent of the decline in malnutrition achieved between 1970 and 1995.
  • Education can help fight the spread of HIV and diseases of poverty. A Ugandan study showed that rural Ugandans with secondary education have a 75 percent lower rate of HIV infection than those with no education..
  • Education spurs economic growth, and helps to build peace. Education is a prerequisite for short and long-term economic growth: No country has achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without at least 40 percent of adults being able to read and write.
  • Education nourishes peace. Across society, every year of schooling decreases a male’s chance of engaging in violent conflict by 20 percent.


Source: RESULTS Educational Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization: