This is a picture of my Mother, Helen Jane Zarembka, taken by my father, Richard Zarembka, who was a photographer. I estimate that she was about 60 years old in this picture.

 If my Mother, Helen Jane Colvin Zarembka, were* still alive, she would be 105 years old today, March 8. She died in 2005 at 91 years old after living with Alzheimer’s for about fifteen years.  I am using her birthday and International Women’s Day for fundraising for the Friends Women’s Association in Burundi. Please click on to read about the project.

In 1975 I thought that it was appropriate for the United Nations to make my Mom’s birthday, International Women’s Day. She deserved it. She grew up in an era when women were considered inferior stay-at-home wallflowers. She was six years old when women in the United States were finally allowed to vote. In the 1930’s she went to college at the University of Missouri. Even though women at that time were not supposed to be intelligent enough for these subjects, she majored in math and minored in astronomy and physics. She told me that she frequently was the only woman in her classes.

It was also an era of vast discrimination against African-Americans and people of other backgrounds, including, I might say, people from Poland where my Father was born. In 1940 she married my Dad in what then was called a “mixed marriage” because my Dad was of Catholic background and my Mom of Protestant background. When I was in sixth grade and my school district was integrated in 1956, unlike many White Americans, she applauded this change as progress. Likewise when I married a Kenyan in 1969 she was most supportive and a wonderful grandmother to our biracial children.

I think it is appropriate to raise funds in her name. When her four children became adults, she volunteered one day per week for years and years at Malcolm Bliss Hospital in inner-city St. Louis.

The abandoned Malcolm Bliss Hospital where my Mother volunteered. It was closed in 1991 shortly after she was unable to continue driving to the hospital. It was demolished in 2002.

For International Women’s Day, Global Giving is matching donations at 30% for donations up to $250. In other words a $250 donation will get a match of $75. The Friends Women’s Association has developed a special project for this fundraiser, Helping Girls and Young Women in Bujumbura Slum. We have a goal of $3,000 for this fundraiser. The matching funds will begin today, Friday, at 9:00 AM eastern time in the United States. The $10,000 of Global Giving’s matching funds may run out before the end of the campaign at midnight today so it is advisable to donate as early as possible after 9:00 AM eastern time.

To donate please go to

Thank you for your consideration in honor of my Mother, Helen Jane Zarembka.

*Note: My Mom drilled proper English into me. A conditional statement contrary to fact uses “were” instead of “was”. No one uses this old fashion grammar any more, but it sounds so wrong to me that I continue to be old fashioned.


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           To donate to TCSC by M-pesa go to Pay Bill: 891300, Account: GG31755

For the Friends Women’s Association (FWA), click on     

To support Helping Girls and Young Women in Bujumbura Slum, click on

To support Building FWA’s Maternity Ward, click on

For Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi (IPB), click on


David Zarembka

Phone 254 (0)726 590 783
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Webpages: (Kenya) (Burundi) (Burundi) (Rwanda)