Montessori School holds fundraiser to build library in Africa

MILWAUKEE -- In school, children are taught reading, writing and arithmetic, but one Milwaukee teacher is giving his students a lesson in compassion through an upcoming fundraiser that's all about kids helping kids from halfway around the world.

Bringing the African culture into Milwaukee Montessori School has become a passion for Oumar Sagna, but Sagna is also teaching his students about the poverty many of the children in his home country of Senegal are facing. "I would like for these students here to appreciate what they have, and to see that what they think is not a lot here is a huge deal back in Africa," Sagna said.

While educating his students about Senegal, Sagna also came up with a way for them to give back. Sagna began holding fundraisers with his students to raise money to build the children of Senegal a library. So far, the foundation and walls have been put up, but Sagna is hoping to raise enough at a fundraiser coming up on Friday, March 9th to put a roof on the building.

"It's good to help people in your local community, but when you can reach out to others that may not be as close to you, is also a great feeling knowing that I can help anybody. I can help people here, and I can help people in Africa," eighth-grader Turquoise Baker said.

While preparing for the fundraiser, Sagna taught the kids African dances and music that they will perform at the event. "He's a bridge for our students, so that they can really adventure into a completely different part of the world, and gain insight into it," Monica Van Aken with Milwaukee Montessori School said.

Students at Milwaukee Montessori School also connect with African students through Skype. "It's a completely different experience when you get to see them," Baker said.

The fundraiser will be held at the Zoofari Conference Center at the Milwaukee County Zoo Friday, March 9th from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. The fundraiser will include performances by the students, American Idol's Naima Adedapo, and Sagna's band.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids, and children three and under are free.