Dinner and concert to benefit Kenyan school

SAXTONS RIVER — The residents of a small Vermont village will make a connection to young children with disabilities in another small town - this one in Africa - when they come together for a benefit dinner and concert Saturday, March 4, at Christ's Church.

The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m.

Local speech-language pathologist Wanda Salter of Rockingham is organizing the event to support the establishment of the first Kenyan preschool for children with special needs, who currently have no access to early intervention services.

“Unfortunately, young children with disabilities are a marginalized population in Kenya and do not have access to preschool,” Salter said in a news release.

Salter has observed the need first hand during two trips to western Kenya, spending time at the Mumias Educational Assessment and Resource Center in Kakamega County, which has provided services to children with disabilities since 1984.

She plans to return this month and again next fall, joined by pediatric physical therapist Karen Wallace of Saxtons River. Wallace and Heather Edwards, director of the Village Early Learning Center, are helping with details of the benefit, with support from Christ's Church.

The dinner will feature an authentic Kenyan menu based around ugali, a traditional cornmeal dish dipped into other ingredients.

A concert by accordionist Brent Buswell will follow the meal. Buswell, who is blind, is originally from Ludlow. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2003 and was named 2008 Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year. He plays a wide variety of music, including jazz, polkas, marches, and Scandinavian, Christian, and American standards.

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