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Community development, education and arts school plans fundraiser

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Dyani Makous is the founder and executive director of the Barrio Planta Project — a community development, education and arts school that provides free creative arts education, jobs training and English lessons to kids from the age of 3 to adults. The school is holding a public fundraiser Friday at Sub-Mission Artspace, at Mission and 18th streets from 6 to 10 p.m.

Why did you start the Barrio Planta Project? I went to Nicaragua to write travel guides in 2008 and was soon taken in by the local community of La Planta. Since the community was so good to me, I wanted to give back. I started off with free English classes and the class size soon grew from tens to hundreds of students.

Why are you having the fundraiser? Our aim is to raise funds to keep up the growth of the project and meet the needs of the community. We have a school building that was donated to us, but it is in very bad condition. We desperately need to fix the roof as rainy season is coming in May.

What can people expect from the fundraiser? We will have entertainment, a DJ, a silent auction, a raffle, wine and cheese, and an art show. It’ll be a fun night out. There is also a large Nicaraguan population in San Francisco, so we hope they all come out to support us. We hope to make lasting connections. People’s involvement really makes a difference.