By: Ngaire McCubben, Communications, External Relations and Fundraising Officer, Tanzania
Photo: Sandy (far left) with Kisa Mentor Hadija, Kisa Sponsor and former AfricAid Board Member Betsy, and Kisa Scholar Hosiana
AfricAid’s office in Arusha recently welcomed US Board Member Sandra Troyano (Sandy), who visited Tanzania for three weeks in October.
Sandy was introduced to AfricAid in 2004. AfricAid founder Ashley Shuyler had started an AfricAid Club at her high school and asked elementary school children at the local Montessori school in Evergreen, Colorado, to volunteer to raise money by selling pencils and other small items. Sandy’s daughter, who was at that time in the 3rd Grade, volunteered to help out.
In 2012 Sandy was invited by Board Member Nina Shuyler to join the Board of Directors. She says it was an easy decision to make because ‘AfricAid’s mission and purpose align nicely with my beliefs and values’. Sandy subsequently travelled to Tanzania and met the Country Director and members of the Tanzanian Board, and also observed a Kisa Class. She was also able to meet with Kisa Mentors and Scholars. She says that after the visit ‘I was hooked, and helped out on the Development Committee in the US as well’. Sandy and husband Larry have since sponsored two Kisa Scholars, and Sandy has even managed to get the company she works for to sponsor a Kisa Scholar as well!
Sandy says that she has always believed that educating girls in developing countries is an effective way to fight poverty. ‘Once a girl is educated, she will pass her knowledge on to her family thus helping future generations’. ‘I have known about AfricAid for many years and I have always thought it was a good organization that was beginning to have the recognition and clout to really do good work and reach more girls’.
When asked what she thinks the strengths of the Kisa Project are, Sandy says that ‘aside from the curriculum which is outstanding, I believe that the Year 2 practicum, which allows girls to give back to their communities, is something that is critical to furthering the mission of AfricAid’.