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South Coast-Based Nonprofit Friends of Woni Plans Gala to Help Kenyan Communities

A performance by the South Coast Lois Mahalia Band, as well as live African music and dancers and a special performance by local singer Tereza Alvaro will be featured at the annual Friends of Woni Hakuna Matata Fundraising Gala dinner, which will be held from 6-11 p.m. May 7, 2016, at the Elks Lodge located at 150 N Kellogg Avenue in Santa Barbara.

Goleta-based nonprofit Friends of Woni raises funds to help enable access to higher education and sustainable initiatives in rural communities of Kenya.

Funds from the gala will help build a dormitory for 200 girls at a high school in rural Kenya. The nonprofit group also has raised funds to help provide safe drinking water for impoverished villages.

Keynote speaker at the gala will be Central Coast author Diana Anderson, who will discuss the groups work in Kenya and great books that bring readers to the vast lands of Kenya, such as her novel Painted with Love, Romance Eludes Time and Death, as well as My Maasai Life by Robin Wiszowaty and Love, Life and Elephants by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.

Also on hand will be April Sutton, U.N. ambassador to Kenya and Maurice Nakitare, consul general, and David Gatuthu, consul, at the Kenyan Consulate in Los Angeles.

The Lois Mahalia Band, which just completed a European tour, will perform for an hour after the Kenya Kizomba Dancers take the stage, and Tereza Alvaro will perform some songs.

Lois Mahalia Band is a popular and frequent performer at the Ty Warner Lounge at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel.

The gala event includes a raffle and live and silent auctions for books, music, movies and larger prizes, including a safari trip for two. Admission is $60 per person in advance, $70 for VIP and $75 at the door. Parking is free.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and includes chicken Yucatan, top sirloin, scalloped potatoes and green beans almondine. A full bar will be provided.

For reservations, email [email protected] or call 805.896.0581 or 805.452.1746. For more information, visit

Goleta-based Friends of Woni is a branch of Friends of Woni Kenya International, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose objective is to raise funds to drill water wells in Kenya.

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