Ambassadors Update

As school resumes, the Ambassadors are busy planning for the year.  We participated in the ICC Club Fair this week and will interview candidates next week to fill our 5 open positions.   To support our initiatives, we have already begun planning our 5th Annual Global Evening.  This event will be held on November 24th at the Four Seasons Moscow.  We have begun reaching out to sponsors for auction and raffle prizes. The students have been bringing in items from around the globe for our silent auction baskets and we have already secured a few exciting prizes for our live auction. We are especially grateful to the sponsors who have already pledged their support: The Four Seasons Moscow, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Heineken, The Intercontinental Moscow and the Wildtrack Safari’s Eco Lodge in Botswana.

On Ms. Francy’s trip to Africa this summer, she was honored to meet the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi.  She shared with him some of the work Ambassadors have been doing in Botswana. He was very supportive and encouraged us not to give up on the preschool, saying its too important.






For Ms. Francy, the best part of going to Africa in the summer is seeing the growth and progress that continues after the Ambassadors leave. It is so inspiring to know that the good work we do continues. Here are some memories from her trip:

In Livingstone, Zambia, we provided funds to the Youth Community Training Center to purchase 85 layer chickens and chicken feed for 8 months.  These chickens will each lay one egg per day, providing 85 eggs daily to support their culinary program.  The AAS Staff previously raised money for new computers for their lab, so we took their old computers to the Ambassadors Learning Center in Kamatanda.  The students were happy to receive these used computers, along with the food items we purchased to give them extra energy during exams. One of the adult learners joined the grade seven class in taking exams, a big milestone on her learning journey.


Teachers Oscar and Caroline are so proud of their new home sponsored by Moscow Starbucks. They continue to teach at the school and their daughter continues to grow and thrive in her new environment.  Recently the family purchased chickens to raise and planted a large garden to grow their own vegetables which they share with their extended families and other villagers.


Teacher Mark, who runs our Adult Learning Center, had a baby boy this summer. Mark was scheduled to graduate but didn’t have the money for his cap and gown and graduation fees.  The Ambassadors made an emergency vote for funding via our Facebook group, and covered these costs, along with his bus fare to Lusaka for the ceremony. He sent us a photo from the proud day.






The Book Bus came to Zambia and visited the library we built with Mikaela Hong’s service group in Minnesota. They were so inspired, they filled it with books – so many books that we didn’t have enough room on the shelves.  They also provided cushions for the children to sit on when they read. People from all the surrounding villages come to see this building and read these books.

We presented backpacks to our Adult Learners filled with school supplies, as well as rice and beans for their families. The current roster of 16 learners range in age from 22-36. These inspiring individuals want to be able to read the books in the library and understand what their children are studying.  Our goal is to build them a brick building this year, so they no longer have to repack their mud classroom after the rains.

For those who are just learning to read and write, we put in place some job training elements so they can support their families.  For the men we bought a welding machine and supplies. The women were happily using the two sewing machines we provided last March so we hope to get additional machines for them this year.  The women were thankful for the colorful fabric we brought them on this journey, as you can see in the short video clip posted at the end of this update.

To support the Ambassadors efforts, you can donate items for our auction, attend our Global Evening Event (details coming soon!) or make a tax deductible donation online at:

Donate to Friends of the Anglo-American School AAS Ambassadors Global Projects




March Update from Ambassadors

The past 4 months have flown by for Ambassadors.  Our Global Evening was a huge success, earning $23,000 for our projects in Africa. Special thanks to our sponsors :The Four Seasons Moscow, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, Heineken and the Duvieusart family for our wine upgrade. We could not have achieved our goals without your generous support!In December, Ms. Francy travelled to Africa to work on some of our projects.  In Zimbabwe, she met with the late Mr. Gathered’s family to pay for his daughter Eileen’s boarding school education.  In Botswana, she helped the Eco Lodge give Christmas to the children of Pandamatenga.  Thanks to all who contributed to these events during our Global Evening and Santa Gram sale!

In Zambia, Ms. Francy purchased the furniture for our first teacher house.  The family was excited to shop for items they never had growing up: beds, couches, a gas stove.  A cholera outbreak closed schools and business for months, but in January, the family was finally able to move into their new home.  It would have taken Teacher Caroline 92 years to earn enough for the house and furnishings provided to her, and that’s if she never spent a penny.  The Ambassadors send their deepest gratitude to Moscow Starbucks and the M.H. Alshaya Co. for making this families dream come true.

The New Year saw our community work with Open Art Theater continue, culminating with a special performance in our Bolshoi Theater.  This partnership gives Ambassadors the opportunity to give back to their local community while interacting with young adults with Down’s Syndrome.  The event raised $1000 for their youth theater program.

In the midst of planning our Service Trip to Africa and organizing activities for our Awareness Campaign in Pandamatenga, we were fortunate to have a few hours to relax and enjoy a great dinner at Black Star Burger.  Special thanks to our hosts, Walter and Cindy Tchassem for sponsoring this team building event.

It is hard to believe that in only 10 days we will return to Africa.  The students are all really excited and everyone is giving extra time to prepare the items we will take to the village. The ES Ambassadors have been busy knitting bay caps and collecting items for the new mom kits they are making for Pandamatenga.  The HS Ambassadors will deliver these gifts to the clinic for them.



November Update Ambassadors


The months are passing quickly in Ambassadors. We are busy getting ready for Global Evening and trying to finalize our trip preparations for March.




Global Project Coordinator Maddie Skoblo met with peace activist and recording artist Emmanuel Jal this summer to brainstorm project ideas.  Ms. Francy spent a month in Africa working with village elders and community leaders  to determine future needs. The Global Project team took over from there, determining costs and sustainability of project proposals.

We are happy to report that construction is under way for our first teacher house in Kamatanda, Zambia, thank to the generosity of Starbucks Moscow. This project took longer than we anticipated due to some unforeseen delays, but things are on track now and our volunteer teachers should be in their new home in time for the holidays. One of the benefits of this home is that it is made of brick, so when the rains come, the family will stay dry and will not have to repack the mud each season.

 Our 4th Annual Global Evening is Saturday,November 25th from 6:30-9:30pm at the Four Seasons. The event includes a full buffet dinner and open bar.  We are fortunate to have the support  of the Four Seasons, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Heineken, Swissotel, Hyatt, and Ritz Carlton, making for some great auction and raffle prizes.

Our Ambassadors and their parents brought back unique items from around the world, so we have 20 international baskets to auction. To get tickets, email  Seating is limited and there are very few tickets left.

Our holiday giving campaign this year is focused on the rural farming village of Pandamatenga, Botswana where we want to support the Eco Lodge in bringing Christmas to the village.  There are 600 children that believe in Christmas yet never get a present.  This year, we want to see every child get a gift and some school supplies.  We also want their family to have a Christmas dinner.  The cost to make this Christmas miracle happen is only $30 per child and includes dinner for the family. To donate, click the link below.  Your donation is tax deductible.

Holday Giving Campaign Christmas in Pandamatenga




Summer Begins!

The Ambassadors finished the year strong, with a Day Without Food Fundraiser/Awareness Event. Students found sponsors to support them as they gave up food for one day, so they could better understand what it is like for a child in Africa. The student reflections shared the depth of their understanding on the issue of hunger. The one day event raised over $4000 for Ambassadors and will be used for our summer support in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, including  supplementing rice for the children through our food program in Kamatanda. You can read reflections from Zara Akhbari at the end of this post.


The new executive team has lots of creative ideas to get our message out through social media including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Global Website, and our Youtube Channel.  They have just redone our bulletin board to showcase our most recent work.


Ambassadors have been planning a Lose to Win campaign in the fall for Emmanuel Jal’s charity Gua Africa which provides education for former child soldiers. Two Ambassadors, Paul Gassner and Zara Akhbari have already begun the challenge to test it out.  During the Service Unites Conference last week in Seattle, Miss Francy met with Emmanuel who is eager to work with Ambassadors. They discussed a new school build project in Ethiopia on the border of South Sudan. Emmanuel had this message for Ambassadors:

This week, Miss Francy will travel to the Africa to work with the communities we serve. She will help build teacher housing (which was sponsored by our Moscow Starbucks franchises) and meet with tribal chiefs and community members to generate project ideas and discuss areas of concern for our next awareness event. She will also be meeting our shipment of computers through our partnership with Computers 4 Africa and traveling to a new village in need of a maternity ward. You can stay updated on our community FB page

As you begin your summer adventures, remember to be an Ambassador every day of your life, in every corner of the world. Take a moment on your journey to say a kind word, share a smile, or find a way to make a difference! Have a relaxing summer!


Here are reflections from Ambassador Zara Akhbari:

“Not having food today was a challenging experience. I think it was because I was so focused on the idea that I would not be able to eat for the whole day that my hunger was more psychological rather than physical. Moreover, I believe that knowing I would not be able to eat created a completely different experience in contrast to not eating subconsciously. There are days where I am not as hungry and therefore do not have breakfast, but today, even though I was not necessarily hungry, my inner thoughts were preoccupied with the idea of eating. It was like my body had an “alarm clock” reminding me that this is usually the time when I eat, yet I had not consumed any food. Also, not having food today made me come to the realization that my mood is more enlivened when I have had something to eat. This demonstrated how my mood is easily dependable on the food that I consume. After around lunch, I felt as though my energy was beginning to depreciate relatively quickly and it became challenging for me to concentrate. My mind was so fixated on eating something that it began to make me tired. Today provided me with a different outlook on food than I was aware of. I understand that going one day without food is simply incomparable to how long children in Africa endure, yet this experience has furthered my understanding and provided me with a perspective that I had not been familiar with. I find it appalling that “more than 795 million people in the world do not have food” and would do anything to help mend this global issue. Before traveling to Africa and seeing the children I had only heard stories about the place. As the Ambassador family handed out hotdogs to the children that stood patiently in line, my heart broke as it occurred to me that these children are not promised food, a vital necessity and human entitlement, everyday. I have learned that the benevolent and energetic children are psychologically stronger than I am and I aspire to be as cheerful as they are. I cannot wait to go back and visit the children <3″

Journey to Africa

It was a long, incredible journey to Africa and we all returned inspired.  Michael was our photographer and took thousands of images which will be uploaded to a drive and shared once he finishes making his impact video.  Here are a few from my computer. =)

Day 1: Upon arrival, we enjoyed a hearty lunch on the Raft, the only floating restuarant in the Chobe region.  This was followed by a sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia where we saw hippos, elephants, kudu, and elan.





Day 2: Early Morning game drive where we saw some of the big 5. Chobe is amazing because the animals are free to roam between the 4 countries of Nambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, so its always exciting when you end up at the same place at the same time.


Next we made a visit to the Kasane Secondary School to see the kids that made the very first walk to school with us 4 years ago. They moved up to secondary school in January, so we wanted to pay them a visit.  The execs did a great job of speaking to the students and motivating them to succeed; and Allison read the book that the Elementary School Ambassadors wrote for them. Joona made a village boys dream come true when she presented him with a laptop her family donated.


We then stocked up on supplies and headed to Pandamatenga where we visited the bread lady, Ma Mishack before arriving at the Eco Lodge in time for dinner, sunset and a special Happy 18th Birthday for Ruben.

Day 3: We held our Environmental Awareness Event with the Wildtrack Safaris Eco Lodge.  The Ambassadors had been planning this event for months, coming up with activities for various age groups all the way from preschool to adult.  Everyone had a great time and the villagers were very grateful for the sausages and drinks served at the end. Andrea, Alex, and Greta took some time to speak with the women of the village, empowering them to improve their lives.




Day 4:  We woke early and made the long walk to school with the children through the bush.  In order to truly “Walk a Mile In Their Shoes” we did not eat breakfast or take water for the walk. After the walk, we met with the Tribal Chief Ma Rebecca to request permission to enter the village.  Emily started us with a prayer (as per tribal custom) then Ronan and Maria made the request, impressing us all by introducing themselves in Setswana. We then ate breakfast before heading to the village where we installed 100 mosquito nets in memory of Teacher Sharon Holoboff.  Making record time, we finished by lunchtime so the kids had a free afternoon for swimming, studying and playing games. After dinner, we baked cupcakes for the Bakers Without Borders Event.


Day 5: Today was about construction!  We put up the first building (reception/office) for the school in Pandamatenga and made almost 300 bricks for the new kitchen for the bread lady.  We took a break to bring the cupcakes we made to the school and deliver them to students in their classrooms.  With the help of the Pandamatenga community, we were able to treat the students and teachers to over 600 cupcakes.  We also met with the new Silent Dropout group.  These students are at risk of dropping out of school so Ambassadors were happy to reach out to them.  We finished the day with a farewell barbecue, tribal dancers, and stick bread.



Day 6:  Today we crossed the border into Zimbabwe.  We visited the Baobab School where students met Francis, the boy who needed hearing aids and his parents and spent time with the special needs students and the computer class.  Eileen, the late Mr. Gathered’s daughter and her mother came as well.  Ambassadors have paid for Eileen’s schooling since her father died and she took a bus 10 hours to join us at the school and have lunch with us.  Maria, who raised $1000 from her birthday for Eileen’s education was especially happy to meet her. We then stopped at the majestic Victoria Falls Hotel for a group photo and a quick tour of Larry Norton’s Gallery, before hiking Victoria Falls.  Dinner that night was at the Boma where students dined on WartHog and impressed everyone with their drumming skills.


Day 7:  Today we headed to Zambia where we toured the YCTC facilities before heading to the school in Kamatanda.  After a moving ceremony with distinguished guests including the tribal chief, head man, councilmen, students, and parents, we dedicated the new library which is in the final stages of construction.  The festivities included slam poetry, songs and speeches.  Zara, Allison, Emily, Jessica, and Maddie each sponsored a child to go to secondary school and when they presented the money, the mothers danced for us and hit their knees in thanks. We met Baby Francy for the first time and gave out the Dress a Girl Around the World dresses.  We had a late lunch at Olga’s Kitchen, part of YCTC, then headed to the African Market for shopping at Souvenirs.  Dinner was at Cafe Zambezi where we celebrated Jack’s 16th birthday.




Day 8:  We drove to the border after breakfast, then took speed boats across the river to Botswana.  After a visit to a local orphanage, we ate lunch, then headed to the airport for our long journey home.



Ambassadors Update

The New Year is starting off busy for Ambassadors!

In December, two of our volunteer teachers in Kamatanda welcomed a baby girl.  While we have long wanted to provide decent housing for our teachers, the new baby increased the urgency as the current mud stick structures allow holes for snakes and rats to enter. With the heavy rains, the walls of the houses melt away and must be repacked.  The Starbucks organization in Moscow has agreed to help us with this project. During the month of February, you can stop by any Moscow Starbucks and purchase a hot chocolate to support teacher housing in Zambia. Every cup counts!

Teacher Caroline and Baby Francy

The February Starbucks Hot Chocolate Campaign.










To add to the fun, we  are asking everyone who supports this campaign to post a selfie from Starbucks with their hot chocolate.  You can post them to the Ambassadors Community Facebook Page. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #StarbucksForZambia A few of our Ambassadors have already stopped by for a cup.

Ambassaodors Ciara and Jacob enjoying their hot chololate!

Alma and Emily stop by for a creamey cup of cooca!

We wired the money to the clinic for Francis to get his hearing aids.  We will transfer money to his father this week to pay the bus fare to the capital city where the hearing aids will be fitted to Francis’ ears. His hearing will not be restored without cochlear implants, but the hearing aids should help increase loud noises for his safety.

The new crop of maize has been planted for our food program and last week, we broke ground on our new library in Kamatanda, Zambia.  This week, the students from YCTC are busy laying our foundation.  In Pandamatenga, Botswana, the foundation for the entire school is complete and farmers are working on getting the materials from South Africa to build our first classroom.

Last Friday, we hosted Open Art Theater with their performance of “Cinderella”. Open Art Theater is a program of ARC, which strives to give young adults with Down’s Syndrome the opportunity to perform. Ambassador volunteers work with these aspiring performers on Saturdays and were happy to host them on Friday. Through ticket sales and concessions, we raised  over $1000 for this great organization. The ES Ambassadors helped us to promote this event and were our greeters at the door, handing out programs and smiles.

Cinderella actors

Ambassadors have been busy planning activities for our Environmental Awareness event in Botswana.  They also took part in ICC’s Pay It Forward Campaign.  If you were the recipient of a random act of kindness, please place your card in the box located in the hall of flags so we can see how far our circle of kindness has grown!

Coming soon: Ambassadors will be sharing the love this Valentine’s Day so look for our shirts in the hall of flags where we will be passing out Hershey’s Kisses.

Sharing the love this Valentine’s Day!

Our next update will come next month after we travel to Africa,so you can look forward to some photos of our journey.

Happy Holidays from the AAS Ambassadors!

The AAS Ambassadors wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!  We hope that whether your break takes you on travels to distant lands or keeps you here in the holiday lights of Moscow, you find some small way to make a difference in the lives of others.

Today, our President Maria Fomina, made a donation of over $1000 to help pay for Eileen Munsaka’s school fees.  She raised this money by asking her family and friends to skip giving her presents this year and instead donate funds to something she is so passionate about.  As advisors, we try to inspire our students, but we find it is often them who inspire us.  Such a selfless act by someone who already gives so much to this organization is incredibly moving.


If you would like to contribute in this season of giving, here are three great ways that you can help Ambassadors contribute to some amazing individuals. Click on the blue donate links below to make a donation that will immediately impact someone’s life.  All donations are tax deductible through our Friends of AAS 501C3 Account #133947443.

Hearing aids for Francis who is completely deaf in one ear and 80% deaf in the other. He needs cochlear implants at a cost of $24,000 but we are trying to get him hearing aids ($1500) to help until we can reach  our long term goal.



Boarding school fees for Eileen Munsaka whose father  Mr. Gathered was tragically killed walking home from school (she has 3 years of boarding school left – $1500 per year)



Teacher training for our volunteer teachers at the AAS Ambassadors Learning Center in Kamatanda, Zambia.  These teachers are all orphans from the village and work for free surviving on parent donations of about $15 a month to buy food and soap. With the help of the elementary school, we were able to pay for their first year of teacher training, but they still need the final year’s tuition which starts in January. Cost $1500 per teacher (there are 6 teachers total). DONATE TO OUR VOLUNTEER TEACHERS

You do not have to donate money to make a difference.  Share a smile with a stranger, offer to carry a bag, switch your plane seat so a family can sit together, donate your old coats to help others fight the cold: EVERY SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS MATTERS!

Global Evening and Project Highlights

The year is moving quickly and with American Thanksgiving just around the corner, we want to give thanks to our many supporters who have made our work possible. On Saturday, we had our 3rd Annual Global Evening, celebrating our accomplishments and raising funds for our global projects.  The event raised over $11,000.  We hope to build a library at the Ambassadors Learning Center in Kamatanda as well as contribute to projects in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

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Last week, the Ambassadors paid for Francis to travel to Harare with his father to get his hearing tested.  The results showed he is completely deaf in one ear and 70% deaf in the other.  We raised enough for hearing aids for him this weekend so sound can be amplified, but will be unable to provide the surgery the doctors recommended as it is $24,000.  Still, his father is grateful for anything we can give.


We also raised enough for Eileen to stay in boarding school one more year.  Eileen’s father (pictured above left) was a good friend to Ambassadors and was tragically killed when walking home from school last year.  The Ambassadors paid for Eileen’s education that year which will end in January.  We now have enough funds for her to attend another year.  Maria Fomina, our President asked for friends to support Eileen’s education instead of giving birthday presents this year. She has raised over $800 so far.

In October, we paid for seed and a plow and oxen so that the Kamatanda school could replant maize as part of the food program we established last year.  Each child at the Ambassadors Learning Center receives a bowl of corn and rice each day.  Since some walk up to 10 km to reach our school, this nutrition will get the ready to learn.

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We paid the balance left on the teacher training we funded last year with the generous support of the Elementary School. Special thanks to Mr. Rick Olson and his ES StuCo team who were instrumental in this. One teacher wrote to tell us that she is one of 7 children with HIV. Her parents are both sick with the disease and her mother is also blind.  They could never afford to pay for her education, so she is very grateful that we are giving her what her parents wish they could.  We paid for the first year of teacher training for 6 teachers at a cost of $1500 per person.  They still have one more year to complete the program, so we are hoping we can raise the funds for this.  All of our teachers are volunteers, and with the exception of the teacher I just mentioned, they are orphans.  Parents donate money  for soap and food, but they never get more than $15 a month.

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We have also paid for an Auto Mechanics shop for YCTC, a training program that helps reduce aids by giving free training to aids orphans and former prostitutes so they can learn a skill and earn a  living. We provided 2 tool kits for students to share and learn with. There is a volunteer house at YCTC where people donate a year to serving others, but it did not have any facilities, so we built a restroom attachment.  Hopefully, this will make life more comfortable and sanitary for volunteers.

In everything we do, we try to focus on the needs of the communities we serve.  Our trip in March will be focused on service and making a difference. We are planning an Awareness Campaign for Pandamatenga so the next few months will be spent seeking knowledge and planning activities.

We wish you all the warmest of holidays in whatever corner of the world your travels will take you. For Ambassadors, our hearts will be with the children of Africa.




Fall Fundraising

The leaves have quickly changed colors as the Ambassadors finished their first big fundraiser, the Sport-a-thon. Ambassadors and other students spent Saturday at the school, completing sports activities to earn money for our future projects. The event raised over $2000.  We are now focused on our biggest fundraiser of the year, our Global Evening. This event shines a spotlight on student achievement and shares the stories of those we want to help.  This year’s event will be held at the Four Seasons in Moscow. If you would like to attend, contact Ms. Francy ( to request an invitation. The cost is 4800r and includes a full buffet dinner, entertainment, presentations, and silent auction featuring hotel stays, autographed books, and gift baskets from around the world. Seating is limited. If you would like to order a table for your group, please contact Ms. Francy immediately.


This year, we have found many more projects than we can accomplish alone, so we have created a Global Ambassadors website where other schools can join us in reaching our goals.  We are currently working with a high school in Minnesota and a University in Montreal. You can visit our page to learn more about our work and the projects we support

Wishing you all safe travels this October break!  If you see something unique on your journey, consider bringing it back for our global evening baskets. =)