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Ashley Shuyler is the founder of AfricAid, a nonprofit organization that supports girls’ education in Africa in order to provide young women with the opportunity to transform their own lives and the futures of their communities.
Early Life and Education
During a photographic safari to Tanzania in 1996, Shuyler learned that, in contrast to her own educational experiences in the United States, only a small fraction of girls in Tanzania were able to obtain an education beyond the primary school level. After meeting children her own age, she became determined to do something to help.
While attending school at Colorado Academy in Denver, Shuyler founded AfricAid based on her belief that education is the most crucial component of any long-term solution to the many challenges facing East Africa, particularly in the areas of health and inequality. Since its inception in 2001, AfricAid has raised close to $500,000 in its mission to support girls’ education in Africa.
After high school, Shuyler attended Harvard University. As a social studies major, she spent several months there conducting research on Tanzania’s system of national examinations, while also shooting footage for a video ethnography about Tanzania’s Maasai tribe. Shuyler graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2008, specializing in Third World Development. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and a Harvard College Scholar.
Early Career and Present
As the founder of AfricAid, Shuyler has promoted the organization locally and nationally. She returns to Tanzania almost every year in conjunction with her ongoing work at AfricAid. In 2007, KidHaven Press published a biography by Rachel Lynette titled Ashley Shuyler: Founder of AfricAid for its Young Heroes series. That year, Shuyler met Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, while in Tanzania. The two shared their stories and Shuyler was even more inspired to carry on her work as a social entrepreneur.
Shuyler is currently working to grow AfricAid. As a part of her work, she is traveling to promote “Somebody Like Me”, a documentary film she recently produced. Shuyler has served as a teacher in rural regions of Tanzania, India, and China. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and continues to do so as a part of her own education about international development.
• 2002 Young Americans Center for Financial Education Young Entrepreneur Award
• 2003 Prudential Spirit of Community Award: National Top Ten Volunteer
• 2005 Winner of the Mill-Taylor Prize for the Best Paper in Social Studies
• 2005 Grant Recipient: Weissman International Internship Program
• 2006 Honorary Member of Rotary International
• 2007 Grant Recipient: Committee on African Studies and Radcliffe Fellowships