SF teen builds schools in Africa

September 2, 2009 7:24:51 PM PDT
A San Francisco teenager has just returned from a visit to Africa. He was not there as a tourist, he went to visit the schools he built for children there.

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ABC7 first met Stefan Lyon when he was just a little boy, pulling a red wagon filled with blankets he gave to the homeless in San Francisco.

Now Stefan is 13 years old and a humanitarian on a global scale.

Stefan has just returned from Kenya, where two schools are named after him.

"I wanted to help the poor, so I decided to do something big," Stefan said.

It all started when Stefan was in third grade at St. Brendan School. A lesson on Africa inspired a dream to help the children there, especially orphans whose parents died of AIDS.

He decided to write books about his pet rat to raise money to build schools.

By 2006, Stefan had enough to convert an old cow shed into this two-room school in Kakamega, Kenya.

Stefan was treated as a hero when he went to see it for the first time two weeks ago.

"I felt really proud of myself that I built it, that's like one of the most important things in life is to get a good education," he said.

In neighboring Bungoma, Kenya, villagers celebrated Stefan's biggest accomplishment so far when he cut the ribbon on a school being built from the ground up. His book sales have raised $70,000, paying for construction of several classrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom.

Three more rooms are in the works. And more than 100 children are already attending.

"I got acknowledged by all the kids there, so it was really cool that I was the one that made that outcome," Stefan said.

Stefan will continue helping others through his nonprofit, the Stefan Lyon Foundation.

LINK: Stefan Lyon Foundation

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