While in Uganda I became close friends with the art teacher, a local girl named Gertrude. We would often talk about how to break the poverty cycle for the underprivileged girls, and concluded that without raising the standards of education across the board, no amount of foreign money could alleviate the widespread poverty that’s rampant throughout East Africa. That’s where the seed of building a school was planted.
I was fortunate to have been presented two acres of land from the father of my soon-to-be husband, a Tanzanian named Richard, who was a village chairman in the Moshono village in Arusha, Tanzania. He said to me, “Do you think you could raise enough money to build a school for the children in this village? Could you build a school on this half acre?
I went back to Australia and began fundraising through a “Buy a Brick” campaign with the immense support of the Armidale, Tamworth and Inverell Rotary and Inner Wheel clubs. From there it snowballed. I constantly encouraged people to just spread the word about my vision, and reach out to as many community members as possible. As word kept spreading, I organised to fly a team of volunteers from the Armidale Central Rotary Club
to Tanzania to help build the first classroom. That’s when I knew my initial vision – all those late nights talking with Gertrude about fighting poverty – was on its way to fruition.