Who We Are

We are a group of volunteers dedicated to helping disadvantaged children complete their education and build a better future. ABCD: Art Building Children’s Dreams was first founded in Canada. Since then other ABCD charities and not-for-profits modelled on the same values and aims have begun in Australia, the United Kingdom, and in Tanzania.

ABCDreams in Canada

ABCD: Art Building Children’s Dreams in Canada focusses its efforts in rural Tanzania in the Ward of Marangu West, on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Frank SmithFrank Smith is an artist, an aspiring musician (click here to visit his studio) and a retired secondary school visual arts teacher. He still teaches privately in his own studio. After retirement Frank began to devote his time to volunteer and humanitarian work. He has volunteered at Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children with cancer, and served on the Southlake Regional Health Centre’s Artistic Enrichment Committee. However most of Frank’s time lately is devoted to his vision of developing ABCD: Art Building Children’s Dreams to further the educational goals and lives of the wonderful children that he has met in Tanzania.

LynnLynn Bird, a retired clinical laboratory manager, brings over 20 yeas of corporate operational financial management experience in both private business and in the healthcare field. Lynn’s volunteer work includes over 20 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Newmarket serving Rotary at a club, district and international level. She has volunteered with Southlake Regional Health Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of York, and King Township Museum. She is currently on the executive of the Canadian Federation of University Women (Aurora Newmarket).

JohnJohn de Ronde is a retired teacher who divides his time between living in the United Kingdom and Tanzania. In addition to serving on the Board of ABCD Canada, John is the founder of ABCD UK. He works hard to raise funds in the UK to help children in the village of Lyamungo Sinde, about 2 hours away from where ABCD Canada works. John’s specialty is ICT and he uses his talents to advance the work of both ABCD UK and ABCD Canada. His familiarity with the life and culture of Tanzania is invaluable.

Megan MitchellMegan Mitchell is the Program Director for the Centre of Excellence in Innovation Leadership at Schulich Executive Education Centre, York University. She is also a coach and consultant. Her passion is to help people discover their unique gifts and ways of contributing for greater success and fulfillment. She is completing her masters in the science and study of well-being as a foundation for happiness. As a teacher and facilitator, she also loves sharing lessons from her travels and to broaden people’s perspectives about what’s possible. Megan has been on two volunteer trips to Tanzania and is inspired by the difference ABCD makes in the lives of children and families.

ABCDreams in Tanzania

ABCD Tanzania helps ABCD Canada identify needs and distribute funds. This is a locally-registered Community Based Organization composed of local education and municipal leaders and parents, all of whom volunteer their time to advise ABCD Canada about how to best help their communities.

Sebastian Masaro has post secondary business qualifications and is the Treasurer of ABCD Tanzania. He works closely with Lynn, the Treasurer of ABCD Canada to keep careful accounting of the charity finances. Sebastian also maintains communications with all of the students who are funded by ABCD Canada and is the main liaison between ABCD Canada and these students. When ABCD Canada directors visit Tanzania Sebastian is our guide, translator and advisor. Sebastian cares a great deal for the people of Marangu West and works very hard for them. He is also a family man and farmer.

Thomas Kaniki is the Headmaster of Makomu Secondary School. He works tirelessly to improve the learning and teaching conditions for his staff and students. He is the Chairman of ABCD Tanzania and in that role he ensures that ABCD Canada has the information needed to function effectively. This involves screening prospective student additions to the ABCD program and communication with other school leaders about the important breakfast program that is delivered to 12 schools in Marangu West. There are several members of ABCD Tanzania who meet regularly to advise ABCD Canada about its initiatives. Thomas is a compassionate man who feels deeply for his students…especially those who are in difficulty.

Eva Ngowi is a qualified and retired nurse but she is often called upon by the local medical dispensary for her expertise, especially in birthing babies! Eva is the Secretary of ABCD Tanzania. She is also the leader of a group of local mamas who named themselves ABCD Care Tanzania. They are an independent, entrepreneurial group who have a desire to help local girls and women. This group of women sews menstrual care kits for girls and manufacture soap for the schools of Marangu West. ABCD Canada is proud to support them in their community-minded efforts. Eva delivers workshops for young girls and women about the use and care for their new kits. Eva is also a welcoming host to many international volunteers.

Our History

In January 2007 Canadian artist and teacher Frank Smith traveled to Tanzania as part of a Rotary International group helping to rebuild schools and hospitals. He was struck to his heart by the evident poverty in the dilapidated learning environments in the schools.

During the next trip in 2008, Frank came with a vision and a purpose: to show children how to make drawings of their dreams for the future, and then bring those drawings back to Canada as a motivational tool for fundraising for the children’s education costs. With the help of a local guide and translator, Frank and his friend Lynn hiked around the villages with backpacks full of sketchbooks and drawing materials, to identify 30 very disadvantaged children.

With encouragement and teaching, the children made drawings of their dreams for their own future. In every case the children wanted to finish school and engage in jobs within their communities: doctors, teachers, store-owners and truck drivers. These dreams were poignantly illustrated in the children’s drawings Frank brought back to Canada, along with photographs of the children and their compelling stories.

Since then, ABCDreams has become a fully registered charity, fundraising from many caring individuals, foundations and businesses. With this support:

  • 100+ children have had their school costs covered from primary school to university
  • school classrooms, toilets, kitchens, libraries, IT labs and water tanks have been built
  • a breakfast program provides a nutritious breakfast to over 5000 students
  • a local group of women is funded to manufacture menstrual kits for girls and make soap for schools

Making a donation to ABCD: Art Building Children’s Dreams is a hands-on and direct way for you, your family, business or organization to give a child a hand-up, out of the difficulties of their lives towards a brighter future.


Art Building Children’s Dreams mails out an annual newsletter. Here is our most recent edition. If you’d like to view our past issues, here are links to PDF copies:

To get your own copy of the newsletter when it comes out, email info@abcdreams.ca with your name and email address.