As a child, Kristina dreamed of living in Africa one day.  So when her grandparents offered her the opportunity to travel with them on OAT’s Ultimate Africa trip the summer she graduated eighth grade, she jumped at it.

It was a decision – and a trip – that would change not just her life, but the lives of many of the students she met at Ngamo Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  She learned on her visit, that while 98% of the eighth grade students take the national exam for secondary school, only 2% would be able to continue on due to lack of funds.

Upon her return home she set about fundraising to help students continue on to secondary school.  That was in 2006, and she’s never looked back.  Kristina continues to fund primary and secondary students and as the students have gotten older, some of them have moved on to university.

“Grand Circle Foundation has been phenomenal,” Kristina says.  “They make all this possible.  I feel that I wouldn’t have had any footing in Zimbabwe without them.”  In addition to selecting students to receive scholarships, the Foundation also facilitates contact with African partners, and reports on progress.

When asked how she was able to maintain her focus on helping the children of Zimbabwe, especially at such a young age, Kristina’s answer was simple.  “There’s no way you can turn your back on it once you’ve seen it,” she said.  “Once you see how much you have that others don’t, you have to do something about it.”