Aya Education Fund Beginnings

Kingereka School

Boma Ng'ombe Tanzania



How did Aya Education Fund Begin?

by Joanne McFadden - founder

In 2009 I went to do the Everest Base trek with one of my best childhood friends, Sarah.  After that trip, we planned on trekking Kilimanjaro as I wanted to cross it off of my bucket list.  Prior to this actually happening, Sarah took her own life.  Aside from the devastation of losing one of my closest friends, there was the loss of a challenge we wanted to face together.  Some friends that we had met at Everest were planning a trip to do a safari and trek of kilimanjaro in 2013.  They asked if I would like to come as they knew I wanted to honour this agreement that I had with Sarah.  I jumped at the chance and then embarked on a trip that would change my life.


During the trek, I became friends with my trek guide, Charles Shayo.  We talked about non profit work, education, poverty and about how we could make a difference.  He invited me to come back to Tanzania to stay with him and his family and experience the "Real Africa".  A few months later, I returned to Tanzania and stayed in his village called Boma Ng'ombe.  We visited the school where his son attended called Kengereka.  I went with the plan to sponsor 2 students, meet the teachers and spend time with the students.  When I was paying for the school fees, another student (Neema) showed up at school by herself as she just wanted to chance to attend school.


This was the beginning of Aya Education Fund.  I was so impressed that a little girl would just walk to school on her own wearing all of the clothes that she owned.  The next time I returned to Tanzania we had 7 students in our scholarship program, and shortly after we had 10.  Then, the government changed their policy and would now pay for the primary school fees and a portion of high school fees.  We decided that we would continue to pay for the difference of the school fees for the 10 students in our program, however needed to look at what else we could do to help the primary students.


Our focus now is to continue to pay the high school fees, and to now pay for exam fees, purchase school supplies and whatever else is needed to ensure that students will be successful.  Long term, we would like to have a breakfast program, help build a new kitchen  ($10,000 USD), complete the construction of the new class room, and discuss future needs with school administrators.

 In the future, it would also be important to provide continuing education for teachers and for parents of the students at Kingereka.


I hope that you feel connected to these students, to their stories and the amazing group of people who have joined the Aya team.  We all try to make sure that every donation dollar is used to the fullest.  Aside from basic costs of money transfers, accounting fees and some office expenses, we donate our time, pay for many supplies ourselves and send as much money to Tanzania as we can.  


Please consider donating, we want to ensure that every child has access to education and can then in turn provide support to others in their community and break this cycle of poverty.


Thank you,


Joanne McFadden

A successful fundraising trip


Rylan Armstrong, a teen in the Sea to Sky Corridor did some fundraising to help the students at Kengereka when he and his family went on their fantastic trip to Tanzania and South Africa.  Rylan raised just over $1500 and brought four large duffle bags of school supplies and items for the students.  Also included were 2 iPads and a laptop which would replace the previous laptop which had run its course.  Some of the donations have gone towards a new printer for the school, and will go towards finishing the construction of the new classroom the school has been building.  We also hope to help contribute to the construction of a kitchen to help the students get a proper healthy lunch - as the current structure is unsafe and not suited to the amount of students.



The Armstrong family visited Kengereka School, met with the students and teachers and learned about how their classes are structured.  The students performed songs and dances for their guests and were very excited about the donations of school supplies from their new Canadian friends

Rylan with several bags of school supplies from the Squamish community in BC.  Included were English dictionaries, coloured pencils, paper, notebooks, binders and other various supplies.  


The students and teachers had never seen three hole punches and some of the other school supplies and crafts that we see on a regular basis.  They were quite excited to get to play with the items and learn about what Canadian students use on a daily basis.


The students and teachers (as well as Aya Education Fund members) are so grateful for the donations and the hard work that Rylan and his family did.  They felt blessed that people thought of them and wanted to help them with their education.