Connecting Tanzania

How to build a library for $3000

We can’t thank all the people who donated books, time, muscle, skills and a bit of money to help build a library at Moshi Primary School in Moshi, Tanzania. The school has over 700 students and the library will serve them, the staff and the community.   The school does not have reliable electricity or internet and books are the primary resource, but the school had few if any available. Connecting Tanzania has been collecting and shipping books to various schools in Tanzania for 3 years and we were very excited to see the commitment of Moshi Primary to creating a new library for their students.

The room for the library, the creation of the after school English Club and a teacher to staff it was made available by Mr. Chris Akaro, School Director. The room was renovated with new floors, secure windows and new doors. Local volunteers in Moshi painted and installed shelving. A $1000 donation went to purchasing the materials for this part of the project.

Books: All books were donated by the Upper Valley community – Book drives at Ray School, town drives, donations from Crossroads Academy, Ray School and Richmond Middle School supplied over 2000 books and a wide range of teaching materials.

Packing and shipping: It takes a lot of work to sort, pack and ship on both ends of a project like this. Over the course of summer 2016, two student volunteers, Cleo Roback and Lauren Koval, boxed, filled out customs paperwork, and brought over 40 boxes weighing about 40 pounds each to the Hanover Post Office.   The staff at Hanover Post Office is always helpful when we show up with boxes of books going to Tanzania and this summer was no exception. They go out of their way to accommodate our efforts!

Shipping Costs: It costs $6.00 per pound to ship books to Tanzania.  This summer we shipped over 1500 pounds of books. The money to cover these costs comes from books sales of our Children’s Swahili books, money earned by selling Tanzanian products at the Holiday Market at Christ Church and donations to Connecting Tanzania.   We look forward to relying less on donations and more on sales of imported Tanzanian products which supports economic development in Tanzania in the future.  In Tanzania, there are taxes and fees to be paid to retrieve the books which are paid by local people, typically school officials who are committed to supporting their communities.

On the other end: Once the books arrive – Carles Richard collects and unpacks the books and helps put them where they are needed most. This summer we largely supported Moshi Primary, but we also sent books to Tuleeni Orphanage and Step Up Nursery School. We cannot thank Carles enough for doing this work on the other end; his commitment to education and the Moshi Community is inspiring.

We want to thank everyone involved in helping build the Moshi Primary Library this summer!