Christine Lott

Daily Point of Light # 5288 Aug 21, 2014

What Christine Lott saw during a volunteer mission trip to Africa motivated her to give up her career in investment banking back in Boston, Massachusetts, and start a school in Tanzania … from nothing.

In her role as the school’s founder, Christine has engaged more than 1,000 volunteers worldwide since 2007 to help raise funds for the upstart school, which hopes to add a class each year as financial resources grow. “At age 5 and 6, our students are reading and speaking in English,” Christine states proudly. “We are instilling dreams for our students to reach for the stars. They all have big aspirations, and this opportunity may help end the cycle of poverty for their families.”

The origins of Christine’s connection to Tanzania, a nation located on Africa’s eastern coast, began in 2007, when she traveled there on a volunteer mission to work with Masai women. While there, she made a promise to a congregation that she would build them a church. Over the next two years, she worked to raise money and traveled to Tanzania to fulfill her promise. During her time there, Christine recognized a clear need for more educational resources to foster learning advancement among the children there, many of whom attend schools with no books and overwhelmed teachers trying to manage class sizes that exceed 120 students.

Christine learned from USAID that some 85% of 7th grade students in Tanzania cannot read their local language, Swahili, or solve basic math problems. Through her work at the Tanzania School Foundation, Christine and her colleagues have established two classes serving 28 students, bringing the resources to help close the gap between what they have and what they need to learn. The effort has brought more interaction between this school and other resources in the community: families of students help with preparing lunch for students and making school uniforms, and local artists are offering a portion of the proceeds from their goods sold worldwide to fund school programs.

“I believe our students are the happiest children in Tanzania,” Christine reflects. “They not only learn academic subjects, but also how to take care of their bodies. They brush their teeth every day, exercise and learn manners, sing songs. The school is the only place where they get positive attention.” Learn more about the Tanzania School Foundation at: http://www.tanzaniaschoolfoundation.org/

At home and abroad, passionate volunteers are shaking up the status quo to create lasting change and make the world a better place. Know anyone who’s making a difference? Nominate them for a Daily Point of Light award at http://www.pointsoflight.org/programs/recognition/dpol/nomination

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