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Kenyan Priest Brings Stories of ‘Throwaway’ Children to Clarke, Nov. 2

posted on October 27, 2009

With his graying beard, broad smile and twinkling dark eyes, Father Francis Riwa could be the Kenyan Santa Claus. And in the giving spirit of Santa Claus, Riwa has focused his life’s work to giving back – primarily as the founder of the Children’s Village, an orphanage and school to rescue street children from hunger and homelessness.

As part of a United States tour, Clarke College will host a presentation by Riwa on Monday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke campus. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

The streets of Kenya are literally filled with thousands of “throwaway” children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic which is ravaging the country. Riwa, a diocesan priest in Meru, Kenya, decided to fight back by creating facilities that give the children an opportunity to rehabilitate from destructive, addictive behaviors learned on the street while providing quality education to prepare them for future employment.

While in Dubuque, Riwa will also speak at Resurrection Parish at liturgies on October 31 and November 1, with a 6:30 p.m. speech on November 1.

Riwa’s trip to Dubuque comes via a unique connection with Sean Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics at Clarke, and his wife Betsy. While on a leave of absence from Clarke a number of years ago to serve with their family in American Samoa, the Bradleys met Bud and Sue Ozar. The Ozars have recently focused their volunteer efforts working with Riwa as he garners support for the Children’s Village.

“Generous friends of ours have taken up his cause here in Dubuque,” said Bradley. “Father Riwa's story is quite compelling.  Not everyone has it as good as we do.”

For more information, contact the Clarke College Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.

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