Creating The First Branch - The SHARE Story
The McNamara Family arrives at the Entebbe Airport in
Uganda on July 31st, 2008,
Smart Baitani of COSAD introduces Shannon and her vision
for SHARE to the Bukoba community at
Smart introduces Shannon and the SHARE program to government
officials, the Kiteyagwa Primary school administration, and 625 students
on August 4, 2008.
This is the SHARE room before the renovations begin.
There are no window panes, the classroom is
The following photos show the GCN (Global Citizen’s Network)
crew working with the
Bukoba does not have bookshelves for sale, so we visited
the local carpenters in the area to have one custom-made for SHARE. We designed
a six-foot by six-foot bookcase, and agreed upon a price of 123,000 TZS
Smart suggested that SHARE should have a sign on the main
road and at the school. We visited the locals at
Smart, Shannon, Karen, and GNC volunteers Sean, Ronn and Deb had a meeting on August 8th with Ms. Justina, the headmistress of the Kiteyagwa Primary School to discuss SHARE. The mission of SHARE was discussed and we asked for her help. Ms. Justina eventually agreed to an after-school reading program for girls, but was concerned that the parents might not give their approval. “We must get the parents to agree with the program.” Justina explained that some parents would rather have their daughters home to work on household chores and help in the fields.
On August 11th Justina and Shannon had 3 parent meetings
to explain to the
Shannon demonstrated how the computer games worked.
Some parents chose not to register their daughters, but most did.
One mother, with a baby on her back, approached Shannon
and said in broken English “Thank you for helping my daughter.” Her approval
meant so much to us.
The first SHARE branch is launched on
Tabitha translates what Shannon says into Swahili. Tabitha
is university educated and teaches at a local secondary school where SHARE
is planning to open up the 2nd branch. Cassian is working on the donated
laptop to put an inventory and control system in place. Cassian is a university
student and Smart’s younger brother. The bookshelf houses the donated books,
games, and software.
Shannon and Tabitha discuss the rules. Given the scarcity
of books in Bukoba, Tanzania, handling books is generally an alien concept.
SHARE strives to instill the culture of reading by giving girls access to
books, therefore encouraging literacy and helping support school studies.
The next two hours were spent READING!
To see the joy on the faces of the girls who have rarely
held a book before and to realize that these books are giving hope to a
new generation of girls who might be otherwise left behind as the world
The SHARE girls, Tabitha, and Shannon. Each is holding up their cherished gift, a pencil.
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