Kids Without Borders: Building Bridges A World Away

(Left to Right) Barry Childs (Africa Bridge), Joe Vithayathil (Fox 12), Oliver Muggli (Front Row) and the Amani Marimba Band

(Left to Right) Barry Childs (Africa Bridge), Joe Vithayathil (Fox 12), Oliver Muggli (Front Row) and the Amani Marimba Band

In 2004, a fourth grade class at Willamette Primary School in West Linn, Oregon got a visit from Africa Bridge Executive Director Barry Childs. Little did Childs know that his presentation was going to set a very special little boy, named Oliver, on an incredible life path. Over the next five years Oliver would stay involved with fundraising and activities Africa Bridge was doing in Tanzania, helping to raise thousands of dollar for school supplies, medicine, school house construction and uniforms. The fact that the children his class and school were helping were on the other side of the world didn’t matter. Oliver felt a connection to them and understood the importance of giving these children the same opportunities he had access to here in the States.

Today Oliver Muggli is a robust and energetic fourteen years old, but he is not your typical teenager. Your typical teenager doesn’t devote their idle hours to making a documentary video project for a non-profit organization helping to rid Tanzania of poverty and educate their children. Your typical teenager doesn’t form a marimba band especially for a fundraising gala and give up a Saturday night at the movies to perform. And your typical teenager doesn’t drag themselves out of bed during summer vacation for a 5am television promotion in the rain.

“Kids in Tanzania need help,” said Oliver Muggli. “More than we do here. They need medical aid, they need supplies, they need money for farming. They need help to survive and that’s more important to me than playing a video game or something.”

Like we said, Oliver Muggli is no normal teenager–he’s extraordinary and so is his documentary video. When we heard about it, we knew we had to share it with you. Check it out below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So if you’re worried about the next generation being too consumed with video games and trashy reality TV shows to make a difference, remember that Oliver is extraordinary, but he is not alone. There are thousands of children all over the world striving to make something of themselves and effect positive change. Oliver is fortunate. He’s had the opportunity to be educated and thrive, but he believes (and we agree) that a solid education should be extended to every child in this world–not just a privileged few in developed nations.

“It’s a different mindset,” said Oliver. “I guess we’re a bit spoiled here. It’s a given that we get to go to school, so it becomes a bit of a chore. But when going to school could save your life in the future–and kids in Africa know that because so many of them don’t get to go to school–then it’s worth it.”

So thanks Oliver! Thank you for reminding us of the powerful spirit the young embody and that it is a gift that needs to be nourished.

We hope you’ll help support that spirit and give children a world away the same opportunity for an education that our own kids get here in the States. It only takes $25 to send a child in Tanzania to school for an entire year. That’s five lattes!

There’s still time to purchase tickets to the Africa Bridge Harvest Gala on Saturday, August 29. Visit to reserve single seats for $75 each or a table for $700. Oliver and his marimba band, Amani, will be playing, along with the great Obo Addy and Sébé Kan. The organic gourmet meal by Charles Stilwell + Devil’s Food Catering will be to die for. And Lisa MacCallum from the Nike Foundation, will be speaking, as well as Africa Bridge Founder Barry Childs. It’s a night you don’t want to miss! We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it this year and would like to support the work being done by Africa Bridge with a donation, visit:

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