'Where there is love there is no darkness.' Burundian proverb
News and Milestones
- March 2018: We Launch Tina's Teacher Project! Our long time supporters and education professionals, Jeff and Cherene Fillingim-Selk create Tina's Teacher Project, with a goal of building teaching partnerships. The project recruits teaching volunteers to travel to Nyamagongo for 3 weeks in 2018 to work and teach at Tina's and take part in professional development, building curriculum and enjoy co-teaching sessions.
- February 2018: Stacie Vance Joins our Board! We welcome Stacie, a young professional, with a degree in Conservation & Resource Studies, and a minor in Global Poverty & Practice. Stacie is passionate about serving local and international communities through her Rotary club and other non-profit organizations, and she has traveled to Shirati twice since 2013 to volunteer at Tina's School.
- January 2018: Tina's Class Four is #1 in the District! We hear word that our Class Four students who took the National Exam have placed at #1 in the district, #5 in the region, and #313 among 1239 primary schools in all of Tanzania! We are so very proud.
- December 2017: End of year fundraising! Laura Mason and David Gordon host our fundraising gathering once again and we get a good start on raising the $5000+ funds needed for purchasing a high-capacity solar water pump with a clean reliable source of energy. Please Donate to help us reach this goal!
- November 2017: We focus on fundraising to purchase a robust solar-powered pump, able to yield 1100 Litres of clean water an hour, so we can fill our three water tanks for our school's needs. We can also sell clean water to the community at fair market rates, creating a source of income, to help stabilize our school's finances in 2018.
- October 2017: The ongoing droughts had left our rainwater catchment tanks mostly empty and our budget stretched with $300 of water purchased every month. So we conduct a geological survey and dig a borehole on school grounds at a cost of $6000, thanks to our community partners in Tanzania (Global Resource Alliance and Majisafi Group) and our generous donors. To our great relief, the well can yield a good amount of clean water! (watch the video!)
- October 2o 2017: GREAT NEWS! The results of the National exams are here and our school has ranked: FIRST among 112 schools in the district, SIXTH among 690 in the region, and 106th among 9,736 in all of Tanzania (TOP 2%). We are proud of our hardworking and talented students and the dedicated teachers and staff of Tina's school for supporting them. Thank you donors for making this day possible!
- October 8 2017: CLASS VII GRADUATION CELEBRATION! The graduation ceremony for our first graduating class brings together many from the region for a huge celebration, REACH CFO, Laura Mason and a few dedicated volunteers visit Nyamagongo to attend the festivities.
- September 25 2017: We welcome Adeke Obbanya to the REACH Shirati Board of Directors. Adeke has been to Shirati every year since 2014 when she first visited Tina's school accompanying a group of youth from California. We are delighted to have her bring even more of her energy and passion for education to our projects.
- September 25 2017: Tina's Class VII students take the National Exams! They are elated, relieved and anxiously awaiting the results announcement in December.
- August 2017: We have a request from our Class VII students to allow them to board in the school for intense tutoring sessions in preparations for the National Exams coming up in September. Our supporters quickly pull together enough donations to cover the costs for teacher stipends and food to make this happen!
- July 2017: Our volunteers return with full hearts and many stories, see pictures and a report in our August newsletter.
- July 2 2017: It's the first day of school at Tina's Pre and primary School! Today 397 students showed up for the first day of classes. Our headmistress, Madam Anna Serya, has everything running smoothly with her usual organized, calm, compassionate and thorough style. We are excited that our first seventh Grade class will be graduating this fall.
- June 24 2017: A group of seven summer volunteers; Donna Suzuki, Kori Suzuki, Allyn Suzuki, Nina Nguyen, Stacie Vance, Jean Retzinger, and Laura Mason arrive in Shirati in late June to work at Tina’s School and with the Hospital Food Project.
- June 10 2017: Our volunteer send-off party at Laura Mason's home draws 60 supporters bringing donations, cloths, shoes, medical supplies and their best wishes to see our volunteers off to Shirati at the end of June. See a video here.
- May 2017: Our President, Hattie Smith-Bynes, travels to Shirati with Adeke Obbanya for a month to work with teachers at Tina's school. Spring volunteers Parth Shah from Cal Teach and Tara Sood, MD spend a month in Nyamagongo, working with Dr. Chirangi at the Shirati Hospital.
- April 2017: Drought takes hold in northern Tanzania due to low Winter and Spring rains affecting food prices in Shirati and Nyamagongo communities. Our Hospital Food project and school lunches are severely impacted by high food prices.
- March 2017: We welcome Dr. Chirangi and his wife, Ms. Violeth Babuel Chirangi to CA, for a two visit while they visit UC Berkeley, Touro University, the Berkeley High School's Reach Shirati Club, Middle College High School, and many friends, colleagues, partners, supporters and donors, and even some of this summer's volunteers.
- January 2017: We kick off our Teacher Support Circles, a fundraising group of friends and family, who set their own fundraising goals to support one of our teachers through their creative fundraising activities, ranging from bake sales, to neighborhood garage sales! Contact us to learn more.
- December 2016: Tis The Giving Season: Take a look back at our 2016 work and a look ahead to 2017 with our year-end message.
- November 2016: Happy Thanksgiving: Meet Leah Fillingim-Selk, founder of the Berkeley High School REACH Shirati Club, raising funds for our school.
- July 2016: Fourteen eager volunteers spent 2 – 6 weeks in Shirati with us! Our group included three teachers, an architect, an engineer, an information technology specialist, and five students between the ages of 12 – 22. Much work was done, some of the highlights were:
Construction began on the third rainwater harvest system at Tina’s School, thanks to funds raised by Kids for Shirati. Completion expected in early 2017.
Our volunteer engineer and architect team designed a gutter system for one of the tanks to DOUBLE the rain water we collect!
Two students from UC-Berkeley set up a process for testing and cleaning the water in existing tanks. To insure we maintain the rainwater purity, they taught students and teachers at Tina’s School how to perform this test, and set up a schedule for ongoing maintenance.
Our volunteer schoolteachers worked closely with the educators at Tina’s School, and gave us many valuable ideas about school administration, teacher training and retention. They are eager to recruit more school teachers to volunteer at Tina’s Pre and Primary School!
Volunteers also toured Shirati Hospital and worked with Dr. Chirangi, and attended many social events in the Shirati-Nyamagongo area.
- May 2016: Happy Mother's Day to all nurturers around the world.
- April 2016: Dr. Bwire Chirangi, the medical director of Shirati Hopsital is visiting the Bay Area during April. There are quiet a few fundraising events and gatherings planned during his visit. To join these events and learn more, please contact us.
- April 2016: Our dedicated supporters The Kids for Shirati group creates an ONLINE AUCTION to benefit our programs. Visit their auction site between April 7th 12 pm to April 16th, 5 pm to bid on some great values, see more details here.
- February 2016: Camille Harris, our Advisory Board Member leading the Computer Learning Project visits Nyamagongo to set up a new server and train our eager teachers on how to use the One Laptop Per Child devices in their classrooms.
- February 14, 2016: We have a new name and launch a new website!
REACH Shirati, Rural Education and Community Health in Shirati
Our mission remains the same: to provide life-changing opportunity for rural Tanzanians through Education, Healthcare, and Community Development.
- December 2015: Milton Nyanda, a Board Member visits Nyamagongo and brings back updates on school administration, and Women's Group projects.
- November 7, 2015: Crab Feed Fundraiser held at DeFremery Park in Oakland brings 100 people together for a celebration.
- August 2015: Ezra Chacha, a Board member, visits the village to work on school administrative projects.
- July 2015: The Computer Learning Project takes off, introducing One Laptop Per Child devices to 4th and 5th graders at Tina's School. The server installation efforts begin. The volunteer group is led by Laura and David. Laura signs teacher's employment contracts. Paul Park starts a water quality project for our tanks.
- June 2015: Hattie Smith-Bynes, our Board President, visits Shirati and Nyamagongo, conducts school inspections and shops for new school books.
- March 2015: The administration building is finished, complete with a teacher's lounge, Administrator's office and a storage room.
- December 2014: The third school building is completed and Tina's Pre and Primary School is now officially registered with the Tanzanian Ministry of Education. Hurray!
- July 2014: We host MedShare volunteers who work at Shirati Hospital to organize the medical supply boxes from the February shipment.
- May 2014: Tina's Pre and Primary School receives provisional registration with the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, pending completion of ongoing construction projects.
- February 2014: The second 40-foot Medshare container of medical supplies arrives at Shirati Hospital, via funds donated by Medshare volunteers. We host three MedShare volunteers who work at the Shirati hospital and visit our school.
- January 2014: We start construction of an administration building and finish the teachers' residence building.
- July 2013: Volunteers and residents led by Solar Roots founder, Bruce Gardiner, install two solar panels on the school rooftop and build experimental solar cookers. Volunteers build bookshelves, paint classrooms, and teach at the school.
- July 2013: A third grant from GFW provides more support for the Scholarship and our HIV/AIDS Education Projects, to continue serving the community.
- February 2013: Our second GFW grant continues to support the HIV/AIDS Education Project as well as the Scholarship Project. Linda creates the Positive Living Support Group for HIV-positive residents. The first meeting welcomes 34 attendees. The group plants a vegetable garden to provide additional food and a source of income.
- Fall, 2012: With our first grant from Global Fund for Women, we establish the Women's Health Education (WHE) group and the HIV/AIDS Education Project. Community education and testing events serve hundreds of attendees over the first several weeks of the projecy. The grant also allows us to expand our Scholarship Project enrolling 30 more girls in school.
- September 30, 2012: Memorial Concert and fundraiser for Christine Nyanda Chacha, is held at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, California.
- April 14, 2012: Christine Nyanda-Chacha's memorial, at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, brings hundreds in the community together to celebrate her full life of service and inspires many to join her mission.
- March 30, 2012: Christine Chacha, Founder, President and our beloved friend passes away. Her courage, optimism, and zest for life inspire us all to continue her work.
- February 11, 2012: Christine Chacha receives the Ubuntu Award from the Priority Africa Network organization for her work as an educator and philanthropist. Over 200 guests attend the celebration dinner in Oakland.
- January 2012: Our school gets it's official name: Tina's Pre and Primary School.
- November 11, 2011: Crab Feed Fundraiser in Oakland, CA, raises funds for our school operations and for hiring more teachers.
- December 19, 2011: Christine Chacha receives the CBS Jefferson Award.
- September 30, 2011: The first Medshare container of medical supplies arrives at Shirati Hospital, thanks to Conor Flannery's kayaking trip fundraiser.
- June 2011: A Berkeley Big Ideas Grant of $6000 is awarded to a group of UC-Berkeley students, who, along with the community, build the second rainwater catchment tank, holding 90,000 liters.
- June 2011: Summer Volunteers work on school playground projects building a geodesic climbing dome and hanging tire swings. Seventeen indestructible soccer balls from One World Futbol are brought for the students. Twenty three fruit trees are planted by the community. The second Solar Suitcase is donated to Shirati Hospital by We Care Solar.
- July 2010: The Hospital Food Project starts serving food to patients after the completion of the outdoor kitchen at the hospital.
- September 2010: Ground breaking for the second school building commences. Principal Hattie Smith-Bynes takes a group of student volunteers from Middle College High School to Nyamagongo.
- November 21, 2009: 'One Village at a Time' Fundraiser at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center raises funds for the school construction project.
- June 2009: Volunteers teach the Women's Group's how to use the Bread Oven. Volunteers and community members build a rainwater catchment tank at our school site with a capacity of 45,000 liters. The first Solar Suitcase appears in Shirati Hospital. The Scholarship Program awards its first scholarships.
- May 2009: The Hospital Food Project is launched by Kate Brady and Steven Kahn, who create the Circle of Support group in San Francisco with the goal of providing one meal a day for the patients in maternity and pediatrics wards.
- February 22, 2009: 'One Village at a Time' Gala held at the Watergate Clipper Club in Emeryville, CA. Special Guests include Islands of Fire, Cassandra – Spoken Word, and Dr. Bwire Chirangi, Shirati Hospital's Medical Director.
- July 2008: Volunteers and residents complete the Bread Oven for the local Women's Group's bakery initiative. We host a group of Pre-med students working at Shirati Hospital outpatient clinics.
- July 2008: Our Scholarship Project is created to help the neediest students, especially girls, stay in school. Rachel Gordon leads the volunteer effort to create a binder with pictures of students at risk of leaving school and brings it back home to California, to gather pledges and sponsorship from local businesses and individual supporters.
- July 2006: Community members and volunteers participate in the ground breaking for the construction of Tina's Pre and Primary School Nyamagongo. Volunteers from Berkeley High School paint the pediatric ward in Shirati Hospital, and teach at the local government school.
- December 2005: Article "Little by Little" by Jill Tucker appears in the Oakland Tribune newspaper, describing Jamal Gamal's trip and Lily Gordon's subsequent fundraiser. Donations rise as the word of our work spreads.
- June-July 2005: Led by Christine, this year’s volunteers work at Shirati Hospital and the government run Nyamagongo School. The villagers decide to use the funds raised by Lily Gordon for a water project, which the volunteers help with.
- Spring, 2005: Student Jamal Gamal speaks at Prospect Sierra Elementary School about his experiences in Tanzania with Christine. Lily Gordon is in the 5th grade class. Inspired by Jamal’s description of the area, Lily organizes a birthday party-fundraiser for the village.
- July 2004: Christine leads a group of volunteers from the San Francisco Bay Area to Shirati-Nyamagongo, Jamal Gamal is one of the students, among them.
- November 2003: The Women's Group write and submit their own grant to the Global Fund for Women organization and they receive $6500 to create startups to earn money and feed many orphans in the village.
- July 2003: Christine helps establish the Nyamagongo Women's Group, and begins discussions to learn about the villagers' most pressing needs. Christine also brings her first group of medical students from Touro University to volunteer at Shirati Hospital.
- June 2002: Christine takes her first group of eight Berkeley High School student volunteers to Shirati.
- May 2001: Christine Nyanda-Chacha established AISCS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Reports and videos