In 2005, I was inspired by my third grade teacher, Mrs. McHugh, who told the class they could build a one-room schoolhouse in Africa for very little money. With the help of family and friends, I raised $2,000. In 2006, with the help of family and friends, I found the perfect location for a two-room schoolhouse (converted from an old cow shed) in Kakamega, Kenya. To raise additional funds for this project, I wrote my first book, My Adventures With Stitch, about my pet rats. Donations from books financed the construction of this first school, which was completed in 2007. That year, I went on to write my second book, Stitch and Molly Tour San Francisco.
The profits from these books went toward building the second school in Bungoma, Kenya. I realized last year, however, that we still weren’t earning money fast enough to finish this second school. So during summer 2008, I wrote my third book, Stitch and Friends Go Green. This book was published November 2008 and I hope that it will raise enough funds to finish the second school by the end of 2009.
This summer, if I can find someone to sponsor my airfare, I hope to travel to Kenya to visit the schools our foundation has helped build. After meeting the kids and teachers at the school in Bungoma, I plan on writing a fourth book about the school and students there to raise awareness of the need for education in East Africa.
For more information, please visit stefanlyon.org.