Former Lake Oswego educator holds fundraiser for school in Sierra Leone
Dominic Yambasu has a legacy in Lake Oswego that stretches to the West African nation of Sierra Leone.
Dynasty House, a charitable organization, was founded by Yambasu, a former educator and coach in the Lake Oswego School District for over 25 years. The organization began in 2004, after Yambasu returned home to Sierra Leone and was devastated by conditions leftover from the civil war.
When he arrived back in Oregon, he started the organization and began running small-scale bake sales and fundraisers dedicated to alleviating some of the hardships faced by the Montema community. Around 2010, the organization began working on a much larger scale — and needed fundraising to match those ambitions.
On Oct. 30, Dynasty House will host its annual Fundraising Auction Event, with all proceeds going towards building a secondary school in Motema, Sierra Leone. The event will take place at Lakewood Theater and starting at 6 p.m., attendees have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, listen to live music and socialize with other members of the community.
"Our main focus is to build a school in the village where I grew up in," Yambasu said. "They need a high school so that they don't have to travel far when they complete their elementary education."
Kaimba-Dowa Secondary School, named after Yambasu's late father, will provide "equitable education" for over 120 students in Motema and its surrounding villages. Yambasu said that the region only has elementary schools, and secondary students travel a distance to attend their classes.
All money raised during the fundraiser will go towards the construction of the school, paying staff and providing free school supplies and school uniforms to students. In Sierra Leone, students must wear uniforms to attend school. Yambasu said he remembers his family struggling for the funds, and sometimes having to miss school because he couldn't afford new uniforms.
"I want to provide uniforms and supplies so that kids that were in my shoes don't have to struggle for money," Yambasu said.
Dynasty House will fund and support the school for three years, and then the government of Sierra Leone will hopefully take over as part of its dedication to basic education for youth. Some of the money raised during the fundraiser will also sustain the Finda Scholarship, named in honor of Yambasu's late sister, which has sent 12 students to university.
Once the school is open, Dynasty House plans to offer scholarships to the secondary students that graduate from the school, according to Tim Pine, fundraising chair for Dynasty House.
"The other piece that I think is important is that it's an equitable education system for boys and girls," said Pine.
The event will feature light fare meals and drinks for attendees. There will also be a performance by renowned pianist John Jaqua and a keynote talk by Dr. Bill Korach, a former superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District.
Tickets are $90 in advance, and $100 at the door. Masks and proof of COVID vaccine will be required upon entry.
To purchase tickets and learn more about the event, visit www.dynastyhouse.org/events.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.