For years, Mama Lucy saved the money she made selling chickens, holding in her heart the audacious hope that some day it would be enough to build a school in her village in Arusha, Tanzania. In 2003, her savings became the seed capital for Shepherds Junior School, where she started with six local children in a single classroom. By 2007, she had grown her school to over 120 kids on land she’d rented next door to her home, and in classrooms she’d constructed from hen houses in her own back yard.
That same year, after a life-altering chance encounter as a volunteer at Mama Lucy’s school, and inspired by the radical hope she represents for so many children, Epic Change founder Stacey Monk wondered what might be possible if Mama Lucy had access to the capital she needed to fully realize her vision for her community. Epic Change was born as an engine to inspire investment in changemakers like Mama Lucy by sharing their stories of hope.
Since 2007, Epic Change has successfully harnessed the power of social media to rally thousands to invest over $300,000 in Mama Lucy’s vision, and has partnered with Mama Lucy to expand Shepherds Schools to provide a quality education to over 600 children. The school now has over 60 staff on three has campuses that offer coursework at twelve grade levels, from age 2 to 15. In their first year of participation in Tanzania’s national exams, Mama Lucy’s students scored first in her area and her students continue to rank among the best and brightest in her country, consistently scoring among the top of over 120 schools in the Arusha district.
Mama Lucy’s primary school & children’s home are now entirely self-sustainable through local sources of income, and tuition income has allowed her to repay nearly $30,000 (10%) of the funds that Epic Change has invested in her school. Epic Change continues to partner with Mama Lucy on capital projects and other efforts, like WonderStudy, that aim to transform her students into self-sufficient young men and women with the basic education necessary to build their futures, their nation, and our world.
Prior to founding Shepherds Junior, Mama Lucy founded Business & Entrepreneurship Support Tanzania (BEST), a local microfinance & training organization for small farmers and entrepreneurs. In 2009, she was invited to speak to a global audience of changemakers at the European Summit for Global Transformation, and has since spoken, with her students Leah Albert and Gideon Gidori, at BrandsConf in New York City and BlogWorld in Los Angeles.
Impact: Since 2007, Epic Change has inspired thousands to invest over $300,000 in Mama Lucy’s dream. The school now employs over 60 staff and serves over 600 children on three campuses in Moivaro, Kimandolu & Manyire where students have access to science & tech lab facilities, libraries, a school farm, boarding facilities and more. Through tuition income, Mama Lucy has repaid over $30,000 to Epic Change which has been recycled to provide additional investment.
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