Standing outside his school St. Michaels University School Junior School

Standing outside his school St. Michaels University School Junior School

Next door mentor inspires nine-year-old to help kids in impoverished Tanzania

Lucas Galloway hands a $500-cheque to his neighbour Alan Roy. Clad in a V-neck sweater and tie, and discussing fundraising for African development with ease and perspective, it’s easy to overlook Galloway’s age. The nine-year-old’s height and youthful grin are about the only giveaways.“He’s a lot smarter than me,” said 64-year-old Roy who designed and built two schools in Tanzania earlier this winter. “Hopefully one day he’ll take over.”Since Galloway was a baby, the two have enjoyed visiting, with Roy regularly hosting his young friend for a snack of toast and Nutella. So when Roy returned to Saanich in December and shared photos of the classrooms he also helped construct using $40,000 of his own retirement funds, it was only natural that Galloway wanted to help out, too.“I thought it was shocking to see how they lived,” Galloway said. “If you look around, they don’t have what we have.”On Feb. 3, Galloway gave a speech to his St. Michael’s University School classmates asking for their support with his neighbour’s fundraising. In exchange for donations, the private school students forwent wearing their uniforms for one day and brought the retired architect a few hundred dollars closer to his goal of building three more schools Tanzania before the year is through.“Eventually, my class would like to raise enough money for a classroom,” Galloway said.”…Everybody brought more than what I was asking.”Public speaking comes easily to Galloway, who plans to join Roy in his fundraising efforts around town and one day visit Africa himself.“I’m so proud of this guy,” said Roy, who has no children of his own. “It’s amazing.”Dubbed Babu – Swahili for grandfather – Alan by the Tanzania students who will study at his schools, Roy’s mentoring continues on a global scale.He is in the process of securing charitable status with Canada Revenue Agency, which could take up to six months. In the meantime, The Victoria Foundation is holding donations for the Alan Roy African Schools Fund in trust. Visit www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca to donate online or call 250-381-5532. Roy can be reached at 250-598-4207 or by email at aral@shaw.ca or at www.alanroyarchitect.com.nnorth@saanichnews.com