Mama Lucy Kamptoni is a Tanzanian entrepreneur and leader who previously founded Business & Entrepreneurship Support Tanzania (BEST), a local microfinance & training organization for small farmers and entrepreneurs. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship by Epic Change, a US nonprofit organization that recognizes, supports and invests in grassroots changemakers around the world and, in 2009, was invited to speak to a global audience of changemakers at the European Summit for Global Transformation.
Mama Lucy founded Shepherds Junior School in 2003 – it’s story, and her work, is best told in her own voice, and in the words of the students, teachers and parents who know her work best. When asked to share her work for inclusion in the Audacity of Humanity project by TED fellow Kyra Gaunt, this is what she wrote:
My village in Arusha, Tanzania did not have good schools. So, I started Shepherds Junior School in 2003 with money I raised from a small chicken farm. I began with only 10 students. With the help of Epic Change, now I serve more than 411 kids and my school is currently ranked #2 in my district out of 118 schools. Find me on twitter @MamaLucy. I am Mama Lucy Kamptoni.
I asked a few of my students and teachers to write something about me. Before the time to go home, they wrote these responses. I was thrilled to read what they wrote. It was my opportunity to learn who I am — though I’m not very sure if what they wrote is true or it’s just because we love each other.
Nihad Salim: “I started learning at this school since I was six years old; Now I am 12. Mama Lucy is a founder of our school Shepherds Junior. She is a hard-working mama. She is kind. She loves us and I love her very much.” (Follow Nihad on Twitter.)
Leah Albert: ”I joined Shepherds Junior 6 years ago when I was in Nursery. Now I am in class 6. When our school started, there was no cook. Mama Lucy cooked for us tea or porridge. May God bless Mama Lucy to live a long life. Thank you.” (Follow Leah on Twitter.)
Teacher Lillian, a founder teacher: ”Mama Lucy is a founder and School Manager of Shepherds Junior. She works very close and likes to share ideas with her workers compared to some other bosses. She always work hard to see the problem is solved. She is a person who never gives up. Thank you!”
Teacher Nancy, Class 6 teacher and Academic Mistress: ”I first met Mama Lucy year 2006 when she employed me. She is a role model to our community; a woman who never fails in her ambitions.” (Follow Teacher Nancy on Twitter.)
Gideon Gidori: ”Mama Lucy is a very intelligent and a person who works hard so that we can get good education. I am proud of Shepherds Junior.” (Follow Gideon on Twitter.)