Tag Archives: Daniel Shungu

UFAR’s African Soiree 3/19

2014 elsie and daniel
Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance. 

This is an alert about and an invitation to this Saturday’s African Soiree to benefit the United Front Against Riverblindness,  founded by Lawrence resident Daniel Shungu, who has an amazing story — he took early retirement from Merck to “give back” to his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My church, Princeton United Methodist, sent a mission team to the Congo in 2008. That was the year we had four (count ’em 4!) fundraisers including the “first annual” African Soiree.

2016 3 15 P1010646 geri vasanth at buffet
Geri LaPlaca, left, Anne Fikaris and Vasanth Victor enjoy the authentic African buffet at the Soiree

Here, a picture of the bountiful feast — the multi-course home-cooked African and American dinner prepared by volunteers — a major feature of the African Soirée. On Saturday, March 19, it starts 5  p.m.(doors open at 4:30 p.m.) at the  Mackay Campus Center of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer St. Princeton NJ. Tickets are $70 per adult and $35 per child at www.riverblindness.org. For free parking, enter from College Road.shankadi mask

At the Soiree you can shop at the “African Market,” bid on exciting auction items, and get an update on the progress of the UFAR mission by Dr. Shungu. If you’ve attended in the past, you know how much fun it is — Thursday is not too late to get tickets. 

Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance.

In 2008 to get support for the mission trip, adults and kids from PUMC acted out what it means to be blind in the Congo — where riverblindness ruins two lives, the adult who is blind and the child who must leave school to lead the adult with a pole. This photo shows how we marched through Communiversity with children leading adults to bring the message “$10 saves 7 people from going blind.”

Every year since then UFAR sets up a table at Communiversity in front of the church. Look for them on April 17 on Nassau and Vandeventer at  “the friendly church on the corner.” .

Many a New Day Will Shine — to benefit Congolese charities: Karrin Allyson

KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_7Now is the perfect time, says jazz artist Karrin Allyson, to revisit the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Listen to her new album, Many A New Day, click her for a preview video.

See Allyson in person at a benefit concert “Chansons pour le Congo III” at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ),  . The concert, which benefits two Congo-based charities, will be Sunday, September 20, at 3 p.m. at the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing.

“These songs are innocent yet wise, hopeful yet nobody’s fool, calling us ever forward to be decent human beings,” says Allyson, who features Kenny Barron and John Patitucci on “Many a New Day” on the Motema label. “Sadly, the song ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,’  from ‘South Pacific’  (a musical that was written with the intention to fight racism) still resonates all too well today.”

The event is presented by the College of New Jersey, Women and Gender Studies Program, Women in Learning and Leadership and Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Allyson will be accompanied by bass guitarist Ed Howard. A reception to meet the artists will follow the performance.

Tickets (available online here) are $70 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $30 for students, with a discount for TCNJ students.  Sponsorships range from Patron  at $240, including three tickets. to Karrin’s Circle for $1,000 with six tickets. For information  call 609-688-9979.

This will be the third concert that Allyson, a four-time Grammy nominee, has given to benefit the two charities. Founded  by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, Woman, Cradle of Abundance (FEBA) supports a sewing school for girls, medical care for women and children living with HIV/AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans .

UFAR, founded by PUMC member Dr. Daniel Shungu, is an African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eradicate onchocerciasis, a major public health problem in the Kasongo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Women of the Congo have amazing strength,” says Allyson, “and I only want to help with their goals of a safe and healthy society, freed from diseases like AIDS and riverblindness, and to help the world see that they are FIRST class citizens.”

Amazing African Art in Soiree Auction

3 Luba Shankadi mask

This amazing Luba Shankadi mask will be in a live auction, at the African Soiree to benefit United Front Against Riverblindness. It starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the Princeton Seminary and includes a buffet of African and international foods, entertainment, and an update from UFAR founder Daniel Shungu.

Anyone may buy items at the African marketplace, from 4:30 on, but you need to be at the dinner to participate in the Kuba art auction. Go to the United Front Against Riverblindness website for $70 tickets.

Other yummy items — this cowry-shell and beaded purse, a whimsica3 cowry shell and bead pursel double-entendre since cowry shells were a form of money. 

Traditional Congolese “Kuba” art was affected by influences from abroad that arrived during the era of colonization, but the individuality and variety of tribal customs has been preserved.

Below left, a modern sculpture. Below right, a museum quality headstand. And the textiles– my photos don’t do them justice so here is a link to a gallery.  Starting prices for the auction range from $100 to $500. If you can’t get there Saturday but want to bid… hmmm, shall I bid for you?

2 Luba Shankadi headrest

10 sculpture

Songs for the Congo: Sunday, Nov. 9

2014 a Karrin_Allyson_2LEnjoy a terrific jazz afternoon and support United Front Against Riverblindness. Together with another worthy charity for Congo, Woman Cradle of Abundance, UFAR presents its second annual benefit concert with 4-Time Grammy Nominee Karrin Allyson.

When: Sunday, November 9 at 3:00 PM
Reception with the artist will follow. Doors open at 2:30 PM.

Where: Solley Theatre, Arts Council of Princeton
Corner of Paul Robeson Place and Witherspoon St. in Princeton

Tickets are $70, $30 for students. Click here or call 609-924-2613.

UFAR, founded by Daniel Shungu of Lawrenceville, works to stamp out riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where one-third of the 60 million people are at risk for getting it. It starts with a rash and leads to sight loss, forcing children to leave school to care for parents.

Woman, Cradle of Abundance, also known as FEBA, aims to change the dismal future for many women in the DRC, known as one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a woman. Founded in 1999 by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, it supports a sewing school where girls learn a marketable trade. It also provides medical care and support for women and children living with HIV / AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans. The US partner is raising funds to help the Congo project build a Women’s Center.

Karrin and BillHelp both causes by enjoing a jazz afternoon with Karrin (shown here with her partner Bill McLaughlin). She is described as “always globetrotting and delighting audiences all over the world with her unique and personal style — straight from the heart.”

African Adventure: March 1 UFAR Menu

Too many cooks won’t spoil the broth on Saturday, March 1, at the African Soiree to benefit United Front Against Riverblindness. Along with listening to folktales, shopping in an African market, and bidding on auction items,  Soiree guests will enjoy a feast prepared by two dozen cooks and chefs from two restaurants: Makeda and Palace of Asia.

From the Democratic Republic of Congo:2014 soiree buffet 2013

  • Cassava/manioc
  • Bitekuteku
  • Pondue
  • Fufu
  • Goat a’la Congolaise
  • Chicken moamba
  • Banana snack
  • Makayabo/fish & collards,
  • Sliced mangoes and pineapple

From Ethiopa: injero, shero wat  and doro wat (chicken stew)

From South Africa: oxtail casserole and chicken birnanyi

From Sierra Leone, Bean patties and fritters ‘Oleleh and Akara Balls’

From India: Samosa, meatballs, and goat

And for less adventurous appetites: chicken fingers, Chinese fried rice, green salad, tetrazzini, and barbecue wings.

2014 soiree table 2013

The African Soiree is 5 to 8 p.m. at the Mackay Center of Princeton Theological Seminary. Tickets at $60 ($30 for kids and students) are still available by contacting event chair Susan Lidstone at UFAR@PrincetonUMC.org or 609-688-9979. Offstreet parking is free.

“We welcome the community to the fifth annual Soiree,” says UFAR founder Dr. Daniel Shungu. “As we enjoy the entertainment and the delicious African meal, we will enable UFAR to keep an entire village from going blind.” He will present a special award to the family of the late Peter Meggitt, a UFAR supporter who traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a Princeton United Methodist Church mission team.

Photos by Robin Birkel