Tie-Dye 4 Africa raises hope


Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

A.J. Tjaden, freshman in pre-business, prepares to apply color to his shirt at the Tie-Dye 4 Hope event Wednesday, Sept. 19, on Central Campus.

Myra Krieger-Coen

Students clustered into 15 huddles on Central Campus. They gathered around a tan tarp laid on the ground splattered with bright colors. In the midst of the exotic rainbow, three distinct colors stood out: red, yellow and green.

The colors of Africa. 

Wednesday’s event, Tie-Dye 4 Africa, is one of many fundraising events put on throughout the year in an effort to raise money to improve African education. The organization, Hope 4 Africa, has been at Iowa State since 2009.

ISU Hope 4 Africa founder Moses Bomett, senior in economics, ran around the scene on Central Campus, mixing dye, folding shirts and calling out to people to join the event — he was everywhere at once. It is okay though, he said, he is used to it, referring to his connections between Iowa and Africa.

Going through school in Kenya, Bomett was shocked when he enrolled at Valley High School in West Des Moines and noticed the just how different the education systems were.

And he intended to do something about it.

“The opportunities given to me through high school in Des Moines compared to how many children even have access to education in Kenya. That was a big difference that changed my life,” Bomett said.

With the simple motivation of experience, Bomett began a Hope 4 Africa club at Valley High School, and when he graduated and came to Iowa State, he brought it with him.

The modest beginning would have made some nervous, but Bomett saw it as an exciting challenge. He enjoyed watching the club develop and expand not only in members but also in events.

Tie-Dye 4 Hope was born from a simple meeting suggestion. The group decided that tie-dye was a fun, inexpensive and marketable event that could help them distinguish themselves on campus. A steady stream of students filtered in and out all during the four hours of the event.

“Just through this one event, we end up donating a few hundred dollars to the cause. It’s one of our biggest events,” Bomett said. “Hunger 4 Hope is the biggest event, which will happen Nov. 30, but this is definitely one of the more fun events.”

A.J. Tjaden and Becca Clay, two freshmen who attended Tie-Dye 4 Hope, were both pleased with the event and planned to continue participation with the Hope 4 Africa organization during their time at Iowa State.

“Moses has been a really influential figure in my college experience and this is his passion. It’s easy to get excited about something when someone else is so excited,” Tjaden said, who aspires to travel to Africa with the group this summer.

In just three years, the ISU group has raised more than $15,000 to help improve the education system in Africa, so that students can be given the chance to succeed.

“We want to give those people who don’t have access to education a chance. You don’t know what someone’s potential is until [you have] given them the opportunity to show you,” Bomett said.