Architect author designing opportunity

New book chronicles author’s quest and goal to build more African schools

Alan Roy

Alan Roy

Alan Roy is designing and building brighter futures for children with few life options, never mind material possessions.

Thanks to the Saanich architect, dozens of kids in the African nation of Tanzania will wake up tomorrow and head off to two schools he designed, paid for and helped build over a five-week period late last year.

“To me, it was a humanitarian investment,” Roy said of paying for the two schools himself. “It’s definitely better than spending it on stuff.”

He said he was so excited during construction that he would finish each day by writing about his experiences.

His diarized accounting serves as the basis of his first book, From Clay to Classrooms: An Architect’s Dream to Advance Education in Africa.

Roy travelled to Tanzania last year to accomplish two firsts in his life: climb Mount Kilimanjaro and explore the possibility of using his architectural talents to help the impoverished people of Africa.

He surprised himself by accomplishing both, and by how readily he was welcomed by the people he met.

The connections he made with Tanzanian villagers touched him the most – his eyes fill with tears when he speaks of them – and he says his book is a tribute to them.

“There’s a lure there,” he said, explaining why many other North Americans are trying to make a difference in Africa. “(The people are) accepting and embrace you.”

His newly published literary work, which encompasses 178 pages and eight chapters, chronicles the people he met and what it took to build two primary schools.

The tale captivated publisher Bruce Batchelor when he read Roy’s manuscript.

“It’s a light, easy read but it’s well enough written that it moves you right along, especially if you have some interest in Africa and thoughts about, ‘Hey maybe I’d like to go visit there sometime,” said Batchelor, owner of Victoria-based Agio Publishing House.

“A lot of travel books are for people to live vicariously through what’s happening,” he said. “And so I can read what Alan’s doing and really be cheering him on (through) the book.”

Roy plans to return to Tanzania this fall to build two more schools to help more of the estimated 600,000 children not attending school in that country.

Before he makes the trip, he is raising funds to pay for construction and school supplies through his registered charity, Primary Schools for Africa Society.

“It’s the human potential,” Roy said of his desire to help. “They need to develop their human potential, which is not happening.

“The long-term solution to that is education.”

To purchase From Clay to Classrooms, or to donate in support of Roy’s school projects, visit www.primaryschoolsforafrica.com or call 250-598-4207.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read