'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.