Avon’s Anne Prinzhorn is back in the bush in Uganda on an education mission
Avon woman helped launch a school, and now she's working to provide education tech
Perspective is everything. Granny Anne Prinzhorn of Avon is back in Uganda marveling at a newly paved road and fewer insects crawling and flying around in her room.
As she always does, Prinzhorn’s luggage was stuffed with a few clothes and dozens of laptops, tablets, phones and other electronic devices — all she could carry and all donated. Generally, customs agents smile and wave her through. Prinzhorn and others strip everything off the devices, load them with educational programs and give them to kids in a Ugandan boarding school she helped build.
The school is crowded — 100 young women in a boarding school built for 30. From Prinzhorn’s perspective, that’s another measure of success.
“The success has outgrown what I can supply alone,” Prinzhorn said.
It’s now EduTek
Prinzhorn launched Grannies in the Bush 17 years ago. It’s now EduTek, a Colorado-based nonprofit.
“Your support has made it possible for us to educate hundreds. I now aim for thousands,” Prinzhorn said. “Often there are no educational materials, poorly trained teachers and disillusioned children who deserve better.”
When you have nothing, like the kids in Prinzhorn’s school, everything is new. The teachers put devices loaded with thousands of educational videos in front of kids. Learning ensues.
Some of it’s academic — reading, writing, math and other stuff people need to know. Some of it is vocational. A hotel attached to the school trains students in the hospitality industry. Next door is vocational training where students learn electrical, plumbing, motor vehicle maintenance and repair, construction, bricklaying … and so much more.
“Children who frequently have no tablets in the classrooms can hardly wait their turn to read books and work on the math apps. These children often grow up in a home with a dirt floor and no electricity. Now they are in school learning math, English and creativity,” Prinzhorn said.
At first Prinzhorn thought the program would be limited to schools. Perspectives tend to broaden to address the need, she said.
“Whole communities are benefiting from this library of information in three remote locations,” Prinzhorn said.
$45 per tablet
You can donate used devices or money to EduTek. Prinzhorn and EduTek can buy seven-inch tablets with batteries for $45. A backpack — EduPak — can be loaded with 20 tablets and a storage device.
“My goal is to purchase 1,000 tablets,” Prinzhorn said.
Keeping up with students’ insatiable appetite for learning is always a challenge.
“I cannot carry enough tablets for the curiosity and adventure that these devices have generated,” Prinzhorn said. “We can help eager children who languish in dark rooms that they call schools, who feel the excitement of education on a tablet.”
Big problems, God-sized solutions
Africa is huge and so are its problems. To help, Prinzhorn is beginning at the beginning, with education, which she calls the cornerstone of all successful societies.
She and a friend launched the school and began hosting students. She does everything she can, but there is so much need.
Inside the fence at her school, students are learning. Outside the school, she recently counted 275 youngsters who cannot go to school.
Prinzhorn is not rich. She buys her own plane tickets and raises some of her own money to help. She spends most of her winters in Uganda and raises money by renting her condo during the ski season.
She’s what divine intervention looks like. She is a three-time cancer survivor confident in God.
“I believe God is honored by even the smallest gestures that we can make. As Mother Teresa once said, ‘There are no great deeds for God. Only small deeds for a great God,’” Prinzhorn said.
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