Village Health Works hosted its 10th Annual Holiday Luncheon

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Ali Wentworth, Dennis Hanno, Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Michael Hebb, and Rishi Narang at Village Health Works' 10th Annual Holiday Luncheon at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.

On Wednesday, December 13th, Village Health Works (VHW) hosted its 10th Annual Holiday Luncheon at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. The festivities have been a tradition since a small but mighty group came together to support healthcare and education in Burundi a decade ago. Hosted annually by Sharon and Bill Jacob, this event has grown in number and commitment and now raises support for the Kigutu Hospital and Women’s Health Pavilion, an 85,000-square-foot hospital in the mountains of Kigutu, rural Burundi, which opened in June 2023.

VHW founder and CEO Deogratias Niyizonkiza, the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder’s book, Strength in What Remains, along with the Jacobs, welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Kidder, as well as new and long-time supporters of Village Health Works to the event.

Sharon Jacob.

The excitement in the room generated by video updates from Kigutu set the tone for a panel discussion moderated by Ali Wentworth. The panel included Deo Niyizonkiza and VHW board members Dennis Hanno, Michael Hebb, and Rishi Narang.

Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Michael Hebb, and Rishi Narang.

Guests included Ali Wentworth, Eileen Guggenheim, David Kratz, Camilla Park, Delphene O’Rourke, Grace Gould, Jonathan Goldberg, Nicole Salmasi, Barclay Collins, Isaac Thweatt, Tracy and Fran Kidder.

The event was an opportunity for a wonderful community of Village Health Works friends to gather together and to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season in gratitude while supporting an incredible cause that helps so many mothers, children, and families in Burundi to receive life-saving care and the highest quality education.

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Rishi Narang, Michael Hebb, Dennis Hanno, Deogratias Niyizonkiza, and Ali Wentworth.
Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Tracey Kidder, and Andy Wilson.
L. to r.: Ali Wentworth and Sharon Jacob; Ann Billingsley, Sharon Jacob, and Nicole Salmasi.
Barclay Collins, Dennis Hanno, and Michael Hebb.
Sharon McKenna, Placide Magambo, and Fran Kidder.
Harriet Tamen and Natalie Ross.
Patricia Ceballos, Cary Sheren, Coleman McCartan, Ann Billingsley, and Susan Quinn.
Brian McClenahan, Ellen McClenahan, Jackie Ceonzo, and Bill Jacob.
David Kratz, Ali Wentworth, and Andy Wilson.
L. to r.: Sarah Kurita and Corinne Keller; Lauren Murphy and Suzy Fogelsen.
Ali Landigger, Corinne Keller, Linda MacKinnon, and Ann Byers.
Blake Foster, Bill Jacob, and Tracey Kidder.
Barclay Collins, Dan Farley, Claire Flynn, Jo-ann Farley, and Isaac Thweatt.
Tracey Kidder, Sharon Jacob, and Bill Jacob.
Lucia Watson, Anne Kosmoski, and Jennifer Moses.
L. to r.: Ann Billingsley, Ann Watkins, and Helen McClenahan; Christian and Jamie Beluz.
Betsy Radecki, Larry Radecki, Jamie Beluz, and Christian Beluz.
Michael Johngren, Rishi Narang, Mani Mahjouri, Lewis Hyatt, and Barclay Collins.
Cherry Morales and Maddy Domingo.
L. to r.: Barclay Collins and Maureen Mulheren; Cynthia Chapman and Berni Gilfond.
Cynthia Riaz and Rosemary Ortlieb.
Rosemary Ortlieb and Patricia Gillespe.
Jill Harrington and Toni Trigiani.
L. to r.: Anne Kosmoski and Megan Newman; Tracey Kidder and Leila Ruckenstein.
Dennis Hanno, Leila Ruckenstein, and James O’Malley.
Tiffany Gardener.
L. to r.: Karen Klopp and Toby Usnik; David Kratz and Isaac Thweatt.
Jim Dylan and Sharon McKenna.
Eileen Guggenheim.
L. to r.: Alicia Yamamoto and Suzy Fogelsen; Ann Yoakem Ellsworth and Lisa Abel.
Linda MacKinnon.
Camilla Park and Delphine O’Rourke.
L. to r.: David Hetzel and Rishi Narang; Grace Gould and John Goldberg.
Berni Gilfond, Arlene Cruz, and Darice Fadeyi.
Bill Jacob, Sharon Jacob, and Deogratias Niyizonkiza.

Photographs by John Sanderson/

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