Recent News

January 2012

What’s on tap for NTC in 2012?

At our annual event in November, we outlined our 4 primary goals for 2012.

1. Connect 10 American and Tanzanian 3rd grade classrooms through the Village Reading Corner classroom to classroom initiative.
2. Build two libraries at primary schools in the Kwala Ward of Tanzania
3. Facilitate two group trips to Tanzania in Summer, 2012.
4. Provide scholarships to 15 at-risk girls for an entire year of secondary school

Read on to learn about how we’re doing so far, and how to get involved this year!

Connecting Classrooms

This year, NTC will connect 10 3rd grade classrooms through the Village Reading Corner classroom-to-classroom initiative, in which classrooms in the United States and Tanzania read the same Tanzanian children story, exchange activity sheets, and learn about each other’s cultures through an interactive DVD curriculum. Thus far,nine schools are participating in the U.S., including Mason-Rice, Burr, Underwood, Zervas, Peirce, and Oak Hills (Oregon) elementary schools and Newton Montessori, Prospect Hill Academy, and 826 Boston. If you are connected to another school that you would like to introduce to the Village Reading Corner, please contact us!

Girls Scholarship Program

NTC will sponsor 15 at-risk girls for an entire year of education this year.4 girls have already graduated from Kwala Secondary School and NTC will continue to support them in their continued studies. Sponsors receive letters and pictures from the girl they are supporting. Please sponsor a girl for the 2012 school year!

Special Shout-out

A special NTC “thank you” to NTC board member Chris Duggan, who hosted a birthday fundraiser for NTC and raised over $3,000! Thank you to Chris, the entire Duggan family, and all the attendees of the party for a wonderful evening and  for making a lasting contribution to NTC.

Building Libraries

NTC is raising $20,000 in 2012 to build to libaries at two primary schools in the Kwala ward in August, 2012, replicating the success of the Mahundi Primary School library constructed last year. Thus far, NTC has raised $9,000! Please make a tax-deductible contribution today and help us spread literacy around the world.

Visit Kwala

In Summer, 2012, NTC will host two group trips to Kwala. These trips are now open to community members, and will run from July 15-July 31st and July 31st to August 14th! Trips are two weeks long and consist of 8 days in Kwala, a two day safari, a visit to the historic island of Zanzibar, and a tour of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s economic capital city. In Kwala, visitors will participate in homestays and cultural activities and help us construct libraries at primary schools in the Kwala Ward. For more information, visit our travel page and fill out the inquiry form.

Recognizing Volunteers

NTC would like to recognize our current volunteer team! A special ‘thank you’ to Luca Scarp (Project Director in Tanzania), Klara Carlson (Graphic Design), Yevgen Virovsky (Web Design), Evelyn Smith (Monitoring and Evaluation), Queen Butahe (Student Outreach) Amin Meyghani (Graphic Design and Curriculum Design), Thomas Dasilva (Video Production), and Michael Hinde (Graphic Design). We’d also like to recogize the NTC Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Youth Board. Please contact us to get involved today!

September, 2011

We’re 5 Years Old!

Believe it or not, it was five years ago that Ross Lohr traveled to Africa as an undergraduate student at Boston University to create a partnership between Newton North and Newton South High Schools and a secondary school in Tanzania. What started slowly with after-school clubs donating a few large boxes of books and clothing has since grown to involve hundreds of students from multiple schools in America and Tanzania and hundreds of young lives improved in Tanzania through the construction of libraries, computer labs, latrines, and water systems and the support of financially at-risk girls through our scholarship program.

We’ve learned a lot in the past five years of relationship-building and educational development initiatives. This fall, we’re taking what we’ve learned and moving in a direction that reflects what we do – and what works – best.

NTC will soon focus its mission to: building libraries at primary schools throughout Tanzania, conducting library trainings for teachers and school administrators, and connecting students in America and Tanzania through the Village Reading Corner.

We’ll also continue our Girl’s Scholarship Program, and our scholarship recipients will continue to volunteer by reading out loud to children in their community.

The Village Reading Corner

Thanks to our team of inspired, creative and very hard-working volunteers, our Village Reading Corner 3rd grade curriculum is almost complete. NTC plans to implement the program at 10 American schools and several primary schools in the Kwala Ward of Tanzania in the upcoming school year. The program’s materials include a comprehensive lesson plan about Tanzanian culture, an interactive video series, and a cultural exchange guide for U.S. and Tanzanian students to communicate through the reading of a Tanzanian children’s book. Please contact us if you have a 3rd grade classroom connection that you would like to get involved or if you would like to sponsor a classroom exchange, and take a look at our brand new online store!

Save The Date!

(Already? Yes, Already!)
We’re gearing up for our 4th annual event at the Newton Free Library on Monday, November 14th from 7:00 to 8:30 PM. We’ll be talking about the new direction we’re heading, handing out our first ever Youth Leadership Award, and featuring a special Tanzanian guest. Stay tuned for more details!

Special Thanks to the Team!

And here are those special volunteers that helped make our Village Reading Corner curriculum possible. An incredibly special thanks goes out to Korey Whitfield,Adrian CoyneRosemary Baxter, andLauren Fish (curriculum development),Amin Meyghani and Penny Saftler(graphic design), CM MarihughThomas DaSilva, and Brendan Duggan (Video Production), and Queen Butahe and  Sande Sherr (voice overs). And of course our incredibly hardworking Director of Development, Lisa Walker, for coordinating the team!

Another Year of Terrific Student Involvement

Our student participation through extracurricular clubs and classroom exchanges was stronger than ever this past year, thanks to involvement students, parents, teachers and administrators from Oak Hill Middle School, Newton South High School, Mason-Rice Elementary School, the Newton Montessori School, and Horace Mann Elementary School (in Binghamton, NY). The Horace Mann, Mason-Rice, and the Newton Montessori Schools participated in cultural exchange projects with Mahundi Primary School; Newton South held a series of fundraisers for NTC projects, and Oak Hill participated in after-school cultural exchange projects (see the flag above!) and fundraisers. Thanks again to everyone who makes NTC possible!

May, 2011

NTC Opens a Pre-School in Kwala!
With help from the NTC Kwala Fund and the NTC Kwala Committee, the Kwala Community is opening a pre-school in Kwala for children age three and four. The Kwala Committee will use money from the Kwala Fund to build the new pre-school, where parents can leave their children in a safe, learning-friendly environment during the day, helping children be better prepared when they reach kindergarten at Mahundi Primary School.
NTC Scholarship Girls Achieve New Heights!
NTC is proud to report that four of NTC’s scholarship recipients have received marks high enough to continue their education at higher levels. Zayuni, sponsored by Virginia and Seibert Lohr, is Kwala Secondary School’s first female student to continue on to A level (forms 5 and 6), a tremendous accomplishment. Dotto, sponsored by the Walker family, is going on to nursing school. Fatuma, sponsored by the Hollender family, is continuing her education at teaching school to become a primary school English teacher. Finally, Mwasiti, sponsored by Sara Campbell, will also enter teaching school to become a primary school math teacher.
Congratulations to these four young women on their tremendous accomplishments. We wish them luck in their further educational pursuits. And a very special thank you to the teachers and sponsors who have given their continued support.
Left to Right: Fatuma, Zayuni, Mwasiti, and Dotto
More Books for Mahundi Primary School!
The Kwala Committee has also voted to use funds to purchase additional textbooks for classes at Mahundi Primary School, to be kept in the NTC school library. Building on the generosity of Judy Citron, who raised funds to purchase the school’s first books during her trip to Kwala last February, and the efforts of the Brooklyn Free School, who visited the school and built the school library last March, the Kwala Committee continues to acknowledge the importance of textbooks and learning materials for children at the school.
A Special Shoutout!
NTC would like to thank 3rd Grade Teacher Rosemary Baxter for including her classroom in NTC’s Village Reading Corner Project, and for being a committed donor to NTC. Lisa Walker visited Rosemary’s classroom this month at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, sharing the work created by children  in a classroom at Mahundi Primary School in collaboration with the Village Reading Corner Project. Thank you, Rosemary!
Project Repat Kickstarter Campaign Wrap-Up
Thanks to our generous supporters, Project Repat successfully reached its Kickstarter goal of $5,000. Project Repat is a revenue-generating activity for NTC, helping us continue our great programming with schools and communities in Tanzania. The Project Repat team is off to East Africa in May to film a documentary about secondhand clothing markets in Africa and to bring back 500 of the best shirts that ‘got away too soon’ to sell and raise money for NTC. If you have not already backed the campaign, you have just five days left to do so! A $25 contribution gets you one of the officially amazing shirts we bring home. $50 gets you even more goodies. Please visit the campaign page here: “I didn’t dance my ass off at Josh’s bar mitzvah”
Project Repat Update!
Thank you once again for your contin
NTC Opens a Pre-School in Kwala!

PreschoolWith help from the NTC Kwala Fund and the NTC Kwala Committee, the Kwala Community is opening a pre-school in Kwala for children age three and four. The Kwala Committee will use money from the Kwala Fund to build the new pre-school, where parents can leave their children in a safe, learning-friendly environment during the day, helping children be better prepared when they reach kindergarten at Mahundi Primary School.


NTC Scholarship Girls Achieve New Heights!

NTC is proud to report that four of NTC’s scholarship recipients have received marks high enough to continue their education at higher levels. Zayuni, sponsored by Virginia and Seibert Lohr, is Kwala Secondary School’s first female student to continue on to A level (forms 5 and 6), a tremendous accomplishment. Dotto, sponsored by the Walker family, is going on to nursing school. Fatuma, sponsored by the Hollender family, is continuing her education at teaching school to become a primary school English teacher. Finally, Mwasiti, sponsored by Sara Campbell, will also enter teaching school to become a primary school math teacher.

Congratulations to these four young women on their tremendous accomplishments. We wish them luck in their further educational pursuits. And a very special thank you to the teachers and sponsors who have given their continued support.

Zayuni MwasitiDottoFatuma

Left to Right: Fatuma, Zayuni, Mwasiti, and Dotto

More Books for Mahundi Primary School!

The Kwala Committee has also voted to use funds to purchase additional textbooks for classes at Mahundi Primary School, to be kept in the NTC school library. Building on the generosity of Judy Citron, who raised funds to purchase the school’s first books during her trip to Kwala last February, and the efforts of the Brooklyn Free School, who visited the school and built the school library last March, the Kwala Committee continues to acknowledge the importance of textbooks and learning materials for children at the school.

A Special Shoutout!
NTC would like to thank 3rd Grade Teacher Rosemary Baxter for including her classroom in NTC’s Village Reading Corner Project, and for being a committed donor to NTC. Lisa Walker visited Rosemary’s classroom this month at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, sharing the work created by children  in a classroom at Mahundi Primary School in collaboration with the Village Reading Corner Project. Thank you, Rosemary!
Horace Mann Elementary School
Project Repat Kickstarter Campaign Wrap-Up

Thanks to our generous supporters, Project Repat successfully reached its Kickstarter goal of $5,000. Project Repat is a revenue-generating activity for NTC, helping us continue our great programming with schools and communities in Tanzania. The Project Repat team is off to East Africa in May to film a documentary about secondhand clothing markets in Africa and to bring back 500 of the best shirts that ‘got away too soon’ to sell and raise money for NTC. If you have not already backed the campaign, you have just five days left to do so! A $25 contribution gets you one of the officially amazing shirts we bring home. $50 gets you even more goodies. Please visit the campaign page here: “I didn’t dance my ass off at Josh’s bar mitzvah”

Update Video
Project Repat Update!

January 6, 2011

A very happy New Year to all from NTC!

Biltmore 10_10 - 022We’d like to thank everyone who came out to our fall events, both at the Biltmore Bar and Grille in October and our annual event at the Newton Free Library in November. We had great turnouts at each and a successful fall fundraising season!

Last chance to support a girl for 2011!

We have received generous support for our Girls Scholarship Program at Kwala Secondary School this year, and we’d like to make one more push for scholarships for the 2011 school year. Last year, we saw more of our scholarship girls graduating from Kwala Secondary School, with several likely to pass examinations and move on to Advanced Level. This is a tremendous feat for girls who otherwise would not have been financially able to attend secondary school in the first place – and it’s all because of generous sponsors like you. If you are interested in supporting a girl for an entire year of schooling and support – and receive letters from and pictures of your student – please make a $300 contribution to NTC by January 15. And once again, thank you to all of our 2010-11 sponsors!

Introducing NTC’s Newest Project Director

38716_10150236340295501_504915500_13860395_8080436_nAlex Rosenberg will be returning to Kwala this January after a December break to continue his work as NTC Project Director. He will be joined by long-time Kwala volunteer Marika Mura as his fellow Project Director. Marika, originally from Italy and a University of Manchester graduate, started volunteering in July, 2010 as an English teacher at Kwala Secondary School through another organization. She will be continuing her stay in Kwala as an NTC Project Director through June, 2011. Visit the “Live from Kwala“ blog for an introduction from Marika.

NTC Kwala Committee Votes on First Project

Students and teachers at Kwala’s Mahundi Primary School will no longer be in the dark!  Representatives from Mahundi Primary School proposed to bring electricity to the school, allowing students to study and teachers to work in the evening.  As part of NTC’s new participatory development system, the Kwala Committee voted to implement the project using funds provided by the Kwala Fund. The Committee, together with NTC Project Directors, interviewed various fundis (skilled workmen) for the project.  The school has since been hooked up to the grid over the past month, and electricity should be functioning by the time our Project Directors return to Kwala later this month.

Introducing Project Repat…a Joint Revenue-Generating Venture

67166_153836084663802_151226798258064_261102_4873830_nNTC and Smallbean Executive Directors Ross Lohr and Sean Hewens have partnered to create Project Repat, an income generating venture for their non-profits. Project Repat “repatriates” used t-shirts from the developing world by buying them from local markets, re-branding them in the United States, and re-selling them on the Project Repat website. 100% of the proceeds go directly to NTC and Smallbean. Please visit www.ProjectRepat.org for more information, and to purchase some awesome repatriated t-shirts!

Photo and Book Display in Jamaica Plain

_MG_7493Lisa Walker, NTC’s ‘repatriated’ Project Director, has been working hard to grow the NTC Village Reading Corner on the home front. For the month of January, the Village Reading Corner books will be on display and for sale at Java Jo’s at 3710 Washington St. in Jamaica Plain. Also on display and for sale will be terrific photography from Kwala by NTC supporter, traveler and Kwala muralist Jackie Schon. Please let us know if you have any connections to other places to sell our wonderful Village Reading Corner Tanzanian books.

As always, please let us know how you would like to be involved with NTC!

October 7, 2010

Join us for two Fall Events!

On Tuesday, October 12th, please join us at the Biltmore Bar and Grille in Newton, MA for a night of free food and great raffle prizes as we celebrate our summer trips. The event is from 6-10 PM, and feel free to show up at any time. The Biltmore is located at 1205 Chestnut St. in Newton.
On Monday, November 22nd, NTC will hold its annual event at the Newton Free Library from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. The event will feature Newton Mayor Setti Warren.

We hope to see you there!

July 5, 2010

A Bookshop Opens in Kwala

bookstoreOver the past six months, NTC’s Village Reading Corner, Early Children’s Literacy, and classroom cultural exchange reading initiatives have spread the love of reading throughout Kwala – mothers reading with their children, large groups of children swarming around the scholarship girls as they read aloud in the village center, and books becoming students’ prized possessions.  Knowing that literacy is the linchpin of opportunities for these children, seeing this happen has been immensely gratifying.  So, NTC is especially proud to announce that local shop owner Josephina Gunda is selling affordably-priced books to children and adults throughout the community at Kwala’s first bookshop! Josephine purchases books from NTC’s partner publishing company, Mkuki Na Nyota, at an NTC-subsidized rate and sells them at her new bookshop.

The Kwala bookshop marks NTC’s first self-sustaining and community-led program – an incredible achievement! However, NTC’s work to ensure that all children in Kwala have access to wonderful and affordable Tanzanian children’s books is just beginning.  Our ultimate goal is for this generation of Kwala’s children to be the first to be 100% grade-appropriate literate. Please see the “NTC Involvement” section at the end of this newsletter to find out how you can help make this happen.

NTC’s 2nd Annual Group Trip to Kwala Departs in Late July


tripFour students from Newton South and several community members will visit Kwala in the beginning of August. Besides a safari to Mikumi National Park, the group will help kick-off the water harvesting project at Kwala Secondary School, work with students in the new Smallbean solar powered computer lab, and decorate classrooms and the new girls’ dormitory in what we are calling “Extreme Makeover – Kwala Edition.” The anticipation is high as the group learns Swahili, obtains visas, etc. etc. etc. – it should be a terrific trip!

New Project Directors in Kwala

emmaalexNTC is proud to introduce our new Project Directors in Kwala for the 2010/2011 school year! Alex Rosenberg is a Cornell University graduate interested in English and early children’s education.  Alex spent three months in a small community in Uganda and helped fund and create the community primary school’s first library. Emma Cohan is a Bryn Mawr graduate with a degree in psychology and a concentration in education. Emma is also a Newton resident and graduated from Newton North High School in 2003.

The new Project Directors will train with Lisa Walker, NTC’s current Project Director, for two weeks beginning on July 14, meet the NTC group in Kwala in August, and then take over for Lisa in Kwala through June, 2011 (or longer!). Welcome aboard, Alex and Emma!

Other NTC Volunteers to Visit Kwala

The Kwala Community will also host several other NTC volunteers this summer:

alanclinicAlan Rosenbaum – A first year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, Alan will volunteer for five weeks at Kwala’s medical clinic. He is the first NTC volunteer to establish a connection with the clinic and has opened the doors to an on-going relationship. Alan has identified several major health needs in community and is already working with the Kwala community and NTC to establish sex-education in the community to help prevent unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other STD’s. To share Alan’s personal experience, click here: Letter from Alan: “A Glimpse of Heathcare in Kwala”

Teagan Lukacs – Teagan is a senior at Boston University and the president of NTC Club there. A pre-med student, Teagan is initiating NTC’s science curriculum project by working with Kwala Secondary School’s biology teacher Mussa Msangi to integrate creative science experiments into the science curriculum. Thanks to generous donations from Emmanuel College and the University of Rochester, Teagan will bring ten microscopes to donate to the Kwala school community and use them to lead biology students in conducting basic experiments using locally-available materials.

Brendan Duggan
– Brendan, age 13, runs NTC Club at Oak Hill Middle School in Newton and will visit Kwala for several days in July. Brendan will spend the majority of his time in Kwala at Mahundi Primary School, and will present soccer jerseys for the school soccer team as a gift from NTC Club at Oak Hill.

The community also said “kwaheri” (goodbye) to two very important NTC visitors this past month, Adrian Coyne and Michael Walker. Adrian spent four months in Kwala teaching English, facilitating projects with NTC Proejct Director Lisa Walker, and played a major role in the formation of the Kwala Book Shop project. Michael spent two months in Kwala teaching mathematics at Kwala Secondary School and also participated in NTC initiatives in Kwala. An enormous “asante sana” (thank you very much) goes out to Adrian and Michael, and we look forward to benefiting from their experience and involvement in the future!

NTC Summer Marketing and Evaluation Team

We want to welcome our Summer Marketing and Evaluation Interns to the NTC team! The group will meet weekly to improve NTC’s marketing and outreach efforts, including a redesign of our website. Keep your eyes open for big changes this fall! Special recognition goes to Lauren Lynch, Amanda Mantino, Alyza Devraj, and Vineeta Sharma for volunteering their time this summer!

NTC Wraps Up a Successful 2009 – 2010 School Year

NTC has completed another successful year of programming throughout the Newton Public Schools, kicked off by a return visit from Kwala Secondary School teacher Athuman Msangi to Mason-Rice Elementary School, Oak Hill Middle School, and Newton South High School last October.

mason rice projectMason-Rice Elementary School - Third grade Mason-Rice classrooms participated in NTC’s Village Reading Corner classroom exchange project, reading the same Tanzanian children’s book as students from the Standard 5 classroom at Mahundi Primary School in Kwala and sharing their favorite illustrations from the book. The students also answered questions and drew pictures about daily life in Newton and Kwala.

talent showOak Hill Middle School - Students from NTC Club at Oak Hill raised awareness about NTC and Kwala throughout the school. Students ran two successful bake sales and hosted a tremendously entertaining school talent show that also featured video of performances from students in Kwala. Finally, several Oak Hill students made a collaborative Hip-Hop album with students from Kwala Secondary School. The album, which is available for purchase for five dollars with all proceeds going to NTC, features three songs written by Oak Hill students and three songs recorded at the Kwala Secondary School hip-hop show in February. To purchase a CD, please contact Brendan Duggan at BDuggan23@gmail.com!

Newton South High School
– Students from NTC Club at Newton South facilitated a project with the school’s “The Lions Roar” newspaper that allowed Fatuma Mshangama, an NTC Girl’s Scholarship recipient, to write an article about her life in Tanzania. The article was featured on the front page of the newspaper’s March edition. NTC Club at Newton South will also send four visitors to Kwala this summer.

Ways YOU Can Get Involved with NTC this Summer


reading cornerVillage Reading Corner
– Keep the Reading Momentum Going in Kwala! The Village Reading Corner project needs your help. In order to continue keep the price of books sold at Josephine’s book shop in Kwala affordable for parents and children, NTC is selling the same Tanzanian children’s books (English-language version, of course) in the United States for just five dollars – a price that also funds the same book to be purchased and sold for an affordable rate in Kwala. You can help by staffing a table of Tanzanian children’s books at school fairs, book fairs, or other events. Please contact us if you are interested in getting involved or have ideas for where we can sell the books.

Join an NTC Committee – NTC is forming two committees to target the areas most critical to NTC’s growth and stability. Each committee will meet approximately monthly. If you are interested in participating, please contact me.

Programming Committee
– The NTC Programming Committee will define, organize and implement strategies to improve NTC’s diverse programs, including cultural exchange projects, the Village Reading Corner children’s literacy initiative, travel opportunities to Tanzania, and our on-going community and educational development programs.

Fundraising Committee – The NTC Fundraising Committee will analyze NTC’s fundraising strategy, determine which areas are most successful and which need improvement, and implement strategies that will expand NTC’s fundraising base.  The committee will also coordinate fundraisers and identify other funding sources, including private and corporate foundations and fee-for-service revenue sources.

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to NTC – Your support has made these programs – that improve educational opportunities for children in Tanzania and build rewarding relationships between students and citizens in the United States and Tanzania – possible. As a 501 (c) (3) organization, all donations to NTC are tax-deductible.