Daily Point of Light # 2523 Oct 7, 2003

Ashley Shuyler, 18, a senior at Colorado Academy in Denver, founded a non-profit organization that has raised more than $70,000 to provide four years of secondary education to 20 young women in Tanzania, and to provide badly needed supplies to girls’ schools in that African nation. Ashley’s idea germinated many years ago when she traveled to Africa for a wildlife safari. “The people I met there lived in poverty unlike anything I had seen before,” she said. “I returned home with a new awareness of just how blessed we are here in the U.S., and just how many opportunities we have.” A few years later, after meeting two missionaries who had started a school for Maasai girls in Tanzania, Ashley decided to focus on helping young African women get an education. She began seeking the assistance of friends, neighbors and family members, and before long, she had established a non-profit organization called AfricAid. She produced a brochure to describe her mission, developed a newsletter, launched a website, organized several fundraisers, and over the past two years has spent countless hours speaking to church groups, civic clubs, school organizations and others about her cause. Ashley hopes the impact of her work will go far beyond the girls she is helping. “After they graduate, they will either be able to continue their education, become teachers themselves, or return to their villages and make the health, economic and social changes they so badly need and desire.”