It was a charity climb on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania that first sparked Mary Ann MacKenzie’s interest in Africa. Seeing so many disadvantaged children, she wanted to do what she could to help improve their lives. “I really have a love for children and am very lucky to have two healthy daughters of my own,” the Toronto-based financial services executive says.
But it was her introduction to Amref Health Africa in 2011, through an event she attended with a friend, which fuelled Mary Ann’s passion. “Once I learned of Amref Health Africa, I was immediately interested in getting involved. So much can be done for so many people without a huge expense. It is changing people’s lives right now so they can help themselves and their children, and start on the path towards a better future.”
Mary Ann dove right in. She began contributing as a monthly donor, with additional one-time donations, and quickly looked for other ways to get more directly involved. She joined the volunteer Board of Directors of Amref Health Africa in Canada, and, for the past two years, has served as its Chair. She also sits on the International Board of Directors for Amref Health Africa, one of 14 volunteers from around the world who oversee the organization’s global operations. And, twice a year, Mary Ann visits Amref Health Africa-funded projects to see first-hand how her support is making a lasting difference.
“We are so very lucky in Canada to have the lives we do and have the opportunities we do, and once I saw the challenges of people growing up in poor communities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, for example, I felt very indulged in my own life and wanted to give back,” Mary Ann says. “The work that Amref Health Africa does is not a band-aid – they create sustainable projects that change people’s lives. I am very proud to be a part of Amref Health Africa and will continue to contribute as long as they continue their great work.”
Source: Habari Newsletter, published February 2016