Celebrating 15 years of dedicated service to the most vulnerable communities in Tanzania and the US, Shina, Inc held its annual “Shine with Shina” fundraiser in Greenbelt, MD on October 20. Supporters who have helped sustain the work of Shina for a decade and half, were treated to an exciting evening of entertainment, music and inspiration, in an effort to raise funds to continue the work of Shina, Inc.
This year’s theme “Access,” was the focus of the keynote speaker, April Richardson, who shared her own experiences in breaking barriers that stood in the way of her success. Her message was clear, that each person has the potential to create their own “access” through determination and passion. Ms. Richardson is a very successful entrepreneur and owner of DC Sweet Potato Cake with distributions in Starbucks, Nordstrom, Wegmans, Safeway and QVC. She praised the work of Shina, Inc., which has helped women and children have “Access” to greater economic and social opportunities.
Shina’s fundraiser featured the talented Francis Richards and his steel band and the dynamic African dance group, the Next Generation. Rose Woodruff, Shina’s VP for Community Outreach, gave a very warm introductory welcome.
The Master of Ceremony, Mrs. Tumaini Katule, captivated the interest of the audience as she introduced each of the presenters. They included Amos Mushala, Patron of Shina, whose slide-show presentation described the important work that Shina is doing in the rural areas of Tanzania which are too frequently neglected by other NGOs. For more than 15 years, Amos Mushala and Jessica Mushala, Founders of Shina, Inc., have led programs to end violence against women, alleviating poverty by providing micro-grants to women, working with HIV positive children and orphans, and providing quality education for children.
They are currently finishing the construction of a school and they have built a workshop, with a donation by Darlene Campbell, for a small business enterprise that makes women’s handbags. Ms. Campbell addressed the audience about how little resources are needed to make big changes in Tanzania and urged supporters to contribute to their work.
Amos Mushala also referenced Shina’s participation in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s (CSW) annual event at the UN to bring attention to the impact that culture has in perpetuating violence on women. Shina has partnered with the Panamerican-Panafrican Association, Inc. and its officers, Henri and Lisa Polgar, in bringing international attention to the subject.
The talented comedian Anna Mwalagho kept the audience in hysterics with her original material on the culture shock of coming from Africa to America and facing the racial dynamics that were new to her. Her successful career is taking her on a national one-woman-show tour.
One of the highlights of the evening was the phenomenal fashion show by “Shubira Designs” featuring designs by the very talented designer Angelina Mushala. A parade of models came down the runway wearing her exciting designs inspired by African fabrics with a sophisticated twist. The young artist has a very promising career ahead of her.
Special guests Kenya, Patrick and Bertha Omondi, travelled to express their appreciation for the work of Shina and explore the possibilities of collaboration in their community-based activities. Michael Davidson, who taught law at the University of Botswana many years ago, congratulated Shina on its mission to work in the rural communities, which too often are neglected by those trained in the higher education system.
Every year, Shina invites one of their supporters to travel to Tanzania to experience first-hand the grassroots work that Shina is conducting. The lucky winner of the raffle, Bernadeta Kaiza, won a free trip to Tanzania, where she will have the opportunity explore the many sites where Shina has a made a very positive footprint.
Enough cannot be said about the generosity of Jessica and Amos Mushala, who year-after-year tirelessly give of their time and treasure to support Shina’s many programs. But it is with the support of the community in the US and in Tanzania, that they are able to accomplish so much. This year’s fundraiser is a testament to the support that Shina enjoys to continue their very important work.
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