On a volunteer mission to Tanzania in 2007, Christine Lott saw the need for a church in Ilboru, Loruvani. So the Stoughton resident created a foundation, Christine Cares, raised $60,000, and built St. Judas Thaddeus Roman Catholic Church.
She then began a new mission: building a school in the village of Moivaro. In 2011, after raising money again, the School of St. Nicholas was opened, with 12 5-year-olds enrolled.
Today there are 34 students getting an English education free of charge, she said. The school is staffed by nine people helped by a host of volunteers from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, Dubai, Norway, and Canada.
And Lott is not done: The nonprofit www.tanzaniaschoolfoundation.org just bought 3 more acres at the school to expand. Lott, a former Goldman Sachs executive, spends six or more months a year in Tanzania running things. She went back there recently.
With the land purchase, she said, “We want to build more classrooms. We turn away five children a week; we have no capacity to take more, so we need more classrooms.”
She’ll do it by raising more money. Some students are sponsored, and Lott also approaches tourists in the area who are on safari or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, knowing they’re usually people of some means.
“I talk to them, get them to come to the school,” Lott said. “Once they come, they’re totally impressed.”
She said that unlike many other schools with blasé walls and interiors, “we have pink, blue, lime-green walls, posters, and learning tools, music, art — all the stuff they don’t have in government schools.”
The natives are most appreciative of her efforts, she said. “When I leave to come home for awhile, they’ll put notes in my luggage. It’s very affirming. I’m good to them, and they’re good to me.”
And it’s fun, she said, being around children in an impoverished environment who need what she offers.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at email@example.com.