Bryan Greenberg on Putting Wedding Planning Aside to Focus on Charity: 'All of Our Focus Is on This'
Bessie star Bryan Greenberg says he and fiancée Jamie Chung have put wedding planning on the back burner.
Greenberg’s passion for The Olevolos Project which develops educational programs for children in Olevolos, Tanzania, has become his first priority since he witnessed its work firsthand.
For four years, Greenberg, 36, has organized a fundraising brunch to support his cousin Dory Gannes, who serves as executive director of the non-profit.
“Because [Gannes] is my cousin, I wanted to help out,” Greenberg told PEOPLE at Saturday’s brunch in New York City. “But then I actually went in January and I saw how much work we’re really doing. It’s unbelievable.”
At the Tanzanian boarding school which Greenberg visited, students count on the Olevolos Project for support and to help them focus on their education. The project also donates educational supplies to the school, including Microsoft products Greenberg delivered on his trip. “We actually gave them computers so now they have a computer lab,” said Greenberg.
During the visit, Greenberg helped one student make learning strides through a pen pal experience he arranged.
“My sister was a kindergarten teacher last year so I was helping a girl in the school, Ester, write my sister and her kids,” Greenberg told PEOPLE.
“When [Ester] showed up to school she couldn’t speak, so the fact that Bryan was working with her to write a letter is just demonstrative of her progress over time,” Gannes said of the project’s impact.
Greenberg has put other things on hold to dedicate his time to the non-profit, including planning his wedding with Chung, who stars alongside Greenberg in the upcoming It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong.
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“I haven’t planned anything,” Greenberg told PEOPLE about preparing for his nuptials. “I’ve been planning this [brunch] so the Olevolos Project has taken up a lot of my time, which is good. I’m passionate about it and Jamie’s been really supportive about it as well. But all of our focus right now is on this.”
Chung is happy to “support him in whatever he wants to do,” and saw the “really impactful” effect the trip had on Greenberg.
“It was certainly life changing, it’s an educational and humbling experience. It’s moving because he met the kids and he came back super inspired to work for them even harder. It was quite a life journey for him,” Chung told PEOPLE about her husband’s trip to Tanzania.
The Olevolos Project still has plenty of work ahead of them. Gannes said the program is committed to getting all of their students through secondary school.
“If we’re not there the kids don’t have anyone, they really rely on us and all of our friends,” Gannes told PEOPLE.