Save the Rain recognized by Tanzanian government

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta’s Kelly Coleman, founder of Save the Rain, stands behind the Uhuru Torch, one of Tanzania’s national symbols of freedom and hope. Coleman has twice been selected to run with the torch in recognition of all Save the Rain has done for the country.

For the second time, Mount Shasta’s Kelly Coleman, founder of Save the Rain, was selected to run with the Uhuru Torch, one of Tanzania’s national symbols of freedom and hope.

While Save the Rain is gaining notoriety in Tanzania, Coleman continues to raise funds to bring clean drinking water to the people of Africa. Until Sept. 19, she’ll be crossing her fingers that her organization wins the Chase Community Giving Campaign, which would mean a $250,000 donation to Save the Rain.

“Chase is giving away $5 million to the top 200 non-profits that get the most votes online,” Coleman said. “There are two ways to vote. If you are a Chase customer, go to chasegiving.com, click ‘vote now,’ search for Save the Rain Inc. and vote. If you’re a Facebook user, go to the Save the Rain page and follow the online instructions.”

Coleman said $250,000 would bring clean drinking water to 16,667 children in East Africa.

Uhuru Torch

In 1961, Julius Nyerere, the first Tanzanian president, had a torch illuminated on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro as a symbol of hope, love, and freedom across the country.

The Uhuru Torch race takes place each year, and in August, Save the Rain was selected to receive and run with the torch. She was first selected for the honor in 2009.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Coleman said. “There was such beauty in the acknowledgement [the government] gave us.”

While she has been told that she’s the first caucasian female to ever have carried the Torch in the race, Coleman said she’s most excited to have been selected because it will help spread the message and technology of water catchment systems.

“The more people who know, the better the outcome will be. Our goal is to be out of business in 10 years because the problem will have been solved. We will get to move on to the next place where we can be of service. The technology of harvesting rainwater has the potential to bring clean water to every doorstep on the planet.”

In August, the government created a cornerstone monument at the Leganga Primary School, which brought 450,000 liter rain water harvesting systems to three villages, as well as four residential catchment systems at each village. This project was made possible through a Mount Shasta Rotary grant, headed up by Mount Shasta’s Linda Stremel, Coleman said.

The project also included handwashing stations, the planting of 50 moringa trees, and children will be educated in sustainable agriculture and passive irrigation techniques.

Coleman’s travels

Coleman returned from her most recent trip to Tanzania on Sept. 16. She explained that even when she isn’t in the country, work is constantly being accomplished, and Save the Rain has 23 employees in Tanzania.

“At any given moment, construction is happening,” Coleman said. “We now have a consistent flow of materials... we never stop working.”

Now in its sixth year, Save the Rain has helped bring clean drinking water to a quarter of a million people.

Coleman said she’s been working hard on the Women’s Water Initiative, which has transformed Tanzanian women into healthy productive members of society that are paying it forward for others.

In the past two years, over 200 women have enrolled into the program, and more than 100 women have paid back their loans in full.

“The phone never stops ringing for that program,” Coleman said.

Donating

Right now, Coleman said she is focusing her efforts on the Chase Community Giving Campaign. “It’s a huge opportunity... Anyone can become a ‘rainmaker’ and create a huge impact without giving a dime! All you need is two minutes of time.”

Save the Rain also recently raised $14,000 from their annual community garage sale, with a four to one match of funding from Rotary International and Rotary Mt. Shasta.

Rotary Mt. Shasta is currently raising funds for their fourth Save the Rain project, which will build water catchment systems for three more Tanzanian villages.

Coleman said 100 percent of all donations made to Save the Rain go to fund projects, and not a dime goes to overhead.

For more about Save the Rain, go to savetherain.org.