Vail Valley’s Anne Prinzhorn is back in Uganda, helping the schools she helped found | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley’s Anne Prinzhorn is back in Uganda, helping the schools she helped found

AVON — Anne Prinzhorn is what divine intervention looks like.

A couple times a year for the past 16 years, Prinzhorn strolls through customs and security for an international flight carrying bags packed with computer gear. Generally, customs agents don't give her any trouble.

She's on her way to Uganda, and the computers, tablets, smartphones, and laptops are for the kids in the schools there she helped found through her non-profit, Donate2Educate.

"I have spent 16 years out of the country much of each year in Uganda," Prinzhorn said.

She collects as many devices as people are willing to share. Each one changes multiple lives.

One problem at a time

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Africa is huge and so are its problems. To help, Prinzhorn suggests beginning at the beginning, with education, which she calls the cornerstone of all successful societies.

Prinzhorn is not rich. She raises money to buy her own plane tickets and some money to help. Among other things, she spends most of her winters in Uganda and raises money by renting her condo during the ski season.

A few years ago, Prinzhorn launched her own nonprofit. Through it, she collects new and used computers and other electronics and uses them in schools she and others are helping develop, so Ugandan kids can get an education.

Students like Joseph use them. Joseph is blind.

"He's also quick witted and was bored out his mind — until he received a five-year-old iPad with Nelson Mandela's book, 'Long Walk to Freedom' in audio form," Prinzhorn said.

Joseph can now listen to books, learning math, history, geography and so much more.

"He is out of his slump, now helping others who are blind, lonely and often abused," Prinzhorn said.

A few years ago, Prinzhorn brought the first load of used iPads to Uganda. A few went to the school for the blind with a hope and prayer that someone there would learn to use Voice Over — the audible instructions on how to use an iPad without help.

Someone did.

Mama Edith

Mama Edith is the mother of two and founded a school for the blind. She's blind. She listened to books about Nelson Mandela and is working her way through the works of C.S. Lewis.

"The children are intense, excited to learn math as never before," Prinzhorn said. "Working with a tablet for only three weeks changes the dynamics in a boring, uninspiring classroom where there is no movement of children nor movement of thought. Children learn basic math quickly and no longer dread the next step — division — the dreaded math step."

Last year, teachers learned to use educational videos instead of blackboards and constantly copying information. Prinzhorn brought 1,258 educational videos. A couple of high school students helped load the videos into the electronics. The kids watch them, do the lessons and see their math and English scores improve.

When someone has nothing, a little help means everything, Prinzhorn said.

"God has guided my every step," Prinzhorn said.

Those steps have led her back to Uganda for the 16th year.

Prinzhorn has survived cancer three times and wants her life to count for something.

It does.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

To help

Anne Prinzhorn

Donate2Educate.net” target=”_blank”>Text”>Donate2Educate.net

111 West Beaver Creek Boulevard

P.O. Box 1364

Avon, 81620