Like many financial-institution executives, Christine Lott found greater fulfillment outside her job at Goldman Sachs in Boston. In 2009, she augmented her director role and founded the School of St. Nicholas in the Tanzanian village Moivaro.
Today, she provides free-to-low-cost education to some of the poorest children in Tanzania. The goal is to increase high school graduation rates.
“We began the School of St. Nicholas to educate disadvantaged children who could not afford school fees. We accept bright children born into chronic poverty,” Lott wrote on the School’s website. “Most of our children live with their single mothers or grandmother in a one-room rented hut with no internal plumbing, electricity, or toilets. It is through education that we will end the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families in the years to come.”
The School first opened its doors with 12 5-year-old students. Today, it serves 30 with more than 100 children on the waiting list. Lott and her partners hire trained and educated teachers to work with students, and she’s currently fundraising to build a larger school building to serve more children. She also currently organizes hundreds of volunteers in Tanzania and the United States to manage the School’s day-to-day operations.
As students, children receive free or 90-percent reduced cost education, free uniforms, shoes, and backpacks, as well as books, pencils, games, and creative learning tools. Additionally, students receive breakfast daily and quarterly worm protection to protect against parasites.
As an organization, the School offers volunteer opportunities both in Tanzania and the United States. Individuals interested in donating time to the School in Tanzania can sign up to be teaching assistants who spend five hours a day in the classroom, helping design curricula, administer tests, and work one-on-one with students. Longer volunteer assignments include participating in social media efforts, marketing, and policy management.
Those interested in volunteering in fundraising efforts in Boston can visit www.tanzaniaschoolfoundation.org .