The Happy Dollies Day Care Story
How Happy Dollies Day Care became a Reality
By Rabbi Dr. Drelich
In the summer of 2018, while vacationing in South Africa, my wife and I stopped at the magnificent Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. Not satisfied with a ground-level view of the double rainbows arching over the falls, I took to the skies in a two-man glider to appreciate the majestic view from above. As with many tourist adventures, the sightseeing company took pictures to capture the experience, hoping they would be sold to the enthusiastic tourist. Landing safely, I made my way to the souvenir shop to purchase the pictures from my sky-high adventure. This is when I met Tracy Mugololo. My life would never be the same.
Tracy was responsible for uploading the flight’s digital pictures, storing them on a CD and selling them to the tourists. My adrenaline from the flyover experience was running high and so, while waiting for the pictures to upload, I engaged her in conversation.
“Do you have any dreams?” I asked, as I often do when I meet new people, Tracy shared that she had finished her studies in early education and wanted to start a school for preschoolers. She knew, based on her experience with her own children, that Livingstone lacked high quality preschools. As a teacher with decades of experience, I asked a series of rapidfire questions:
“Do you have the proper teaching certificates?” Yes.
“Do you have a business plan?” Yes.
”Then what’s holding up your dream?”
Sadly, “lack of funds” was her reply.
I paused as an idea entered my mind. My brother Max had passed two years earlier, and I wondered whether this could be an opportunity to honor Max’s memory. I gave Tracy my email and asked her to forward a copy of her educational certifications and business plan. Honestly, I did not know what to expect. I thought I was merely picking up pictures, but instead the opportunity to improve the world in my brother’s name had begun.
Upon my return home, an email from Tracy, along with her educational certificates and business plan, was waiting for me in my inbox. Even though I only met Tracy for a few minutes, I had a strong intuition, based on her confidence and positive disposition, that she could succeed with her plan. My wife and I discussed how we might best move forward with this crazy idea. Since a small amount of American money goes a long way in Zambia, even our limited funding could change a person’s life for the better. Could we make a difference in the lives of Tracy and the children of Zambia? We decided to give it a try.
It’s been nearly three years since our fateful meeting at the souvenir shop. Tracy, a single mother of two, has founded and directs Happy Dollies Day Care & Nursery, which serves over 40 children from the Livingstone region. Happy Dollies has empowered Tracy to become a successful entrepreneur, employing three full-time teachers, a cook and a groundskeeper. Happy Dollies has established itself as an address for parents who wish to give their children a brighter future. The demand for enrollment continues to grow. At present, however, Happy Dollies rents its school space, which prevents it from expanding to meet the growing need for excellent primary grade education in Livingston. With this in mind, we are embarking on the next stage of this important project: purchasing an existing property for Happy Dollies. This will ensure the continued growth of the school and allow Tracy and her staff to transform the future for even more of the children of Livingstone. Please consider joining us in our quest to look beyond our local communities and recognize the value in helping others even in a faraway place. Together, we can make the world a brighter and better place to live.
All donations to the Max Alexander Foundation 501(c)(3) are fully tax deductible in adherence with IRS guidelines.