Meredith Bowen makes a difference in Tanzania

Meredith Bowen with Vincente, a child sponsored by St Paul’s Church.
Although she is only 26, Meredith Bowen, a University Heights resident, has already given a lifetime of service to others. She is an active member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, serving on the Global Mission Action Group and Apostleship Commission. She also serves on the state level of the Episcopal Church, as a member of the Episcopal Bishop of Ohio’s Commission of Global and Domestic Mission, and she is a board member of the statewide Episcopal Community Services Foundation.

As if that is not enough, Meredith began volunteering to help Tanzanian children immediately upon graduating from Syracuse University and before entering CWRU law school She spent a year in Tanzania volunteering at the Rift Valley Children’s Village ( as a preschool teacher. Meredith became fluent in Swahili because “I spoke only English in a class of 10 children who spoke only Swahili.”

Meredith has spent about two years volunteering in Tanzania. While attending CWRU law school (she graduated in May), she spent a semester as an intern in the judges' chambers at the International War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda. However, she returned every summer to volunteer in a bush clinic founded and operated by Dr. Frank Artress and his wife Susan Gustafson in Karatu, Tanzania.

Frank had been a practicing anesthesiologist in California and nearly died during a climb of Tanzania’s highest mountain, an episode which inspired him and his wife to sell their California home and belongings and move to Tanzania. There they created a bush clinic, supported by the Foundation of African Medicine and Education, Meredith plans to return there in September as coordinator of American volunteers and Tanzanian staff on site. Her fluency in Swahili will be very useful.

Meredith has always paid her own way as a volunteer, but since she just finished law school in May she is low on funds, and could use sponsorship. She will not earn a salary but needs money for living and traveling expenses. Volunteers are expected to cover all their own expenses.

In addition to all of the service to others mentioned above, Meredith founded and is the executive director of the African Orphan Education Fund, which helps children in the region pursue formal education. Her fund has already assisted students, including the first student from the Rift Valley Children’s Village to ever attend college and law school.

Meredith wants to ensure that other children in the village and surrounding area can improve their lives through education.

For more information about the African Orphan Education Fund visit

If you want to tell Meredith how proud you are that she is a member of our community or if you have questions, you can reach her at

Robert (Bob) Cheshier, Caroline Morgan, and Ann Farmer are members of the Global Mission Action Group at St Paul’s Episcopal Church.

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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 7:16 AM, 07.22.2008