Thank You Silvia

by Dianna

March 26, 2014

Volunteers come and go, each leaving their footprints on the hearts and minds of the children of Shika, but to donate five months of your life and then return again for another three is truly generous. Silvia Gebauer, a 25 year old student from Germany has done just this, volunteering with Shika from Feb 2013 – July 2013, and then returning again in November 2013 through to February 2014. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Silvia and acknowledge the important part she has played in our after school support programme.

Silvia studied Social Work at the Catholic University in Eichstaett, Germany and became aware of Shika when she attended a presentation by our Tanzanian Programme Manager, Susanne Mayer. So impressed was the professor for international relations that he added Shika to the list of possible interships for students at the University. Silvia contacted the professor (Dr. Pfaller-Rott) and it was here her journey with Shika began.

Silvia & ChoirDuring her first volunteer assignment while completing her studies in social work, Silvia initiated a range of musical activities like the choir and Shika Girl Band. She worked tirelessly with the girls and fostered relationships with local artists to produce a music video.

Silvia funded the transport and lunches for the girls and paid generously reduced rates for filming, editing and producing the music clip.

Aside from learning about music and developing their vocal skills, this project delivered so many other rewards such as instilling self confidence, commitment and accomplishment, things we often take for granted.

Click here to view the first music video “Hard for me to know”.

Silvia’s motivation for returning was simple; “I like the people and the children and want them to have a good life. It was great when I came here and saw the reactions of the children. I was warmly welcomed” she explained. With donations from Germany, Silvia financed her projects so she could record a second song with Shika Girl Band called “Find a reason”.

Silvia worked with the girls to develop the lyrics and visited them at their new secondary school for rehearsals and coaching. They spent a full day making the music clip.  The song is about desperation and hope and its aim is to try to help people to move on and to show them no mattter how desperate they are that there will be better times in life.  The rapping part by Mary M. is talking about the topic of HIV.

The girls confidence has most certainly grown and Susanne Mayer (Programme Manager) has seen many changes in the Girls –  “Once they had been scared to perform in front of a small group of people,  now they are able to sing and perform in front of a big audience.”

Click here to view the second music clip ‘Find a Reason’

Find a reason

Producing a music clip is a big collaboration and Shika would like to acknowledge the contribution of the local Tanzanian creative community:

Goncher (Producer) produced and recorded the song with the girls; Fido (Artist and owner of Vatoloco Records) offered his studio to record the song and features in the clip; Samtimber (Producer and Filmmaker) shot and edited the video; Dipper (Musician/Artist) coached the girls; G-Bless for featuring and Jacky for songwriting

Silvia also helped with other aspects of our after school support programme by initiating a drum group and various other choirs at Shika. The Children (especially the girls) have thoroughly enjoyed the Choir and were keen on presenting what they had learned with Silvia. Silvia came up with the idea of a concert for our open house day. The boys loved drum group where they recycle materials and make drums out of them, they also gave a great performance at open house.

Silvia helped facilitate a new prosthesis for Oscar, kindly funded by a generous donation from Suzanne Snape (Australia).

With the help of donations from her family and friends, Silvia provided money to employ a new teacher, Madam Winfrida. Madam Winfrida is supporting Rhoda daily with homework and school related issues.

In Germany Silvia works caring for mentally and physically handicapped people.

So where to now for Siliva; “Long-term I would like to earn money with my projects to support social organisations like Shika and Ahsante sana Org.  I hope I can be part of that my whole life and support this project at least a bit.”  At home in Germany Silvia raises donations for her projects in Tanzania and tries to stay involved with Shika and in touch with the children. 

Shika Open House Day Success

by Dianna

March 5, 2014

On Saturday 22 February 2014 we hosted a Shika Open House Day inviting people from various sectors of the local community. Over 200 people participated in the event from students, teachers and parents to members of the Tanzanian charity sector and broader community.

The Open House Day was initiated by our volunteers to give the children an opportunity to present their talents and skills, learned through the activities taught at the Shika After School Support Programme (ASSP).  Our children often have very difficult home lives and the skills acquired at our ASSP give the children a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that many of us take for granted.  It was a lovely initiative of our volunteers, and all round a very big success.

The parents of the children had an early start preparing food to sell later in the day, they were very excited and happy to be a part of the Open House Day.  They agreed to invest their own money to prepare food to sell.  It is important to Shika and our programme that we engage with and educate the local community about what we are doing to improve the lives of the sponsored children through education and activities run via the ASSP.   We believe demonstrating our values and achievements is the best way to educate and invoke positive change.

With the help of the children, our volunteers prepared and decorated the Unity school grounds and stage.  We had wonderful weather and everyone enjoyed the party outside in the sunshine. The doors opened at 4:00pm and we welcomed a great audience of interested onlookers. Many other Unity School children who are not part of the Shika sponsored programme joined their classmates to take part in performances.  We are very proud of the positive impact that our programme has, not only on our sponsored children, but the extended Unity School community that it also impacts and helps through leadership and example.

The formalities began by introducing Shika and our programmes to our visitors. The first choir performed ‘Westlife’, followed by the Mama Hindu choir singing ‘World in our Hands’.  A fashion show followed featuring the Super Ladies (a club formed by one of our volunteers).

A lack of electricity caused a break in the programme, however the drum group happily filled it with a great performance accompanied by some fabulous dancers. Meanwhile, our volunteer Martin reinstated power with the use of our generator so that we could continue with the performances of three dancing groups, followed by The Shika Girl Band singing their new song “Find a reason”, written themselves. The performances ended with the Shika Choir performing the song ‘Waving Flag’.

We finished the day with a great party and music with all the visitors, parents, staff and children dancing together right until the end, while others enjoyed the food.  Jackie and Johann organised a raffle ‘Tombola’ and sold tickets, the prizes were clothes and toys.

We raised 147,150 TZS through food sales, 34,000 TZS through Tombola and 15,000 TZS in private donations, a total of 196,150 TZS or approximately £73 from the local community.

We sold 15 dresses from Shika Fashion Label raising further income to support our fair-trade fashion initiative.

Many thanks to everybody who contributed to the Open House Day.  There was a beautiful sense of accomplishment, pride and community spirit, for us this makes the event a HUGE success!