Unsung Heroes come in many forms. “06880” honors many who do wonderful work in Westport.
This week’s Unsung Hero is a Westporter who does amazing things thousands of miles from home.
Ten years ago, Anne Wells created the Unite the World with Africa Foundation. The goal was to bring education — and a loving community — to orphans in Tanzania.
Since its founding, the organization has branched out. It now tackles women’s health issues, provides scholarships for higher education, creates jobs for tribal women and artisans, offers micro-finance loans, and runs a host of other initiatives for marginalized women and youth.
It’s a far cry from Providence, where Anne grew up. Or Kenyon College, where she studied anthropology.
But Africa always fascinated her. A semester in the bush with the Masai sold her on the love and joy of the continent — filled with “the best people on earth.”
It also opened her eyes to the vast inequalities of wealth across the globe.
Anne earned a graduate degree from the University of California School of Journalism, and joined Time Warner as a writer/editor. She was transferred to New York, where she met her husband. They moved to St. Louis, and had 3 daughters.
Anne’s corporate communications career prospered. She wrote books about parenting. It was not the type of life she’d envisioned for herself.
Yet the pull of Africa remained strong. In 2007 she traveled to Tanzania. A priest said his people needed a light shone on their plight.
“I was desperate to serve the people,” she says. “But I didn’t know how. I’m not Angelina Jolie.”
Anne found a way.
Or rather, many ways.
Westport is a vast ocean away — in so many ways — from Tanzania.
Unsung Hero Anne Wells is doing her best to build a bridge across it.
(For more information on the United the World with Africa Foundation, click here. To nominate an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hat tip: Colleen Crowley)