WHAT WE DO
At READ International we believe the joy of reading should be for everyone! By creating a space that captures young people’s imaginations and fosters a love of books, literacy can be fun! That’s why we work with Tanzanian volunteers from local universities to create safe, inspiring libraries in secondary schools across the country: changing the way Tanzania reads, one book at a time.
In Tanzania, most schools only have one textbook for every eight pupils, creating a significant barrier to learning. We convert disused school spaces into inspiring libraries and fill them with locally relevant textbooks and fiction, in both English and Kiswahili.
Teachers and pupils are engaged at every stage of the refurbishment programme and trained in how to look after, manage and use their new library. We also provide teachers with a tailored teacher textbook training programme, to help them use their new resources to improve literacy in classroom.
After each library is finished, our university student volunteers continue to engage with READ and our schools through coordinating reading campaigns, mentorship and top-up programmes. This helps them to develop project management, leadership and other employability skills, which give them the best chance of prospering when they complete their education.
Between 2005 and 2016, we created 87 libraries and donated nearly 1.5 million books to secondary schools in Tanzania — reaching more that 750,000 pupils! To see our 87 libraries, click here.
Our head office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is run by a small, hard-working and passionate team. Click on the photos below to find out more about us!
I’m a social development professional, who is passionate and committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of others especially vulnerable members of society and has more than 10 years’ experience within the development field. Two years with the organization named Community Volunteers for the World (CVM), one year with Africa’s Children Africa’s Future (AC-AF) and eight years and eleven months with SOS children’s villages Regional and National. I have extensive experience in project development, managing the development of programs with vast ‘hands on’ experience at community and regional level, as well as coordination and fair advisory experience. A member of networks responsible for policy, framework, guidelines and strategy development.
I’m currently with Read International supporting the team to bring changes to the student’s prosperity through education. Work with board of Directors to strategies on different approaches to mobilize funding and work with team to ensure proper fund management and utilization in fostering program development for the young adult in Tanzania.
The book I like the most is Fear Factor written by Billy Graham, it tells a lot about the meaning of fear and how to overcome fear. I learned many things from the book –how fear can be created and developed by ourselves, and how it causes us not to implement our plans and we never achieve our goals. The book guides on how hope plays a large role in getting rid of your fear. Be courageous, trust God and keep up moving, stop fearing and never give up!
I joined Read International in December 2016 as their Program Development Manager. My key responsibilities are to oversee and enhance the expansion of READ International programs in Tanzania.
Prior to joining READ, l I was the program coordinator for family strengthening program and Grieg gender challenge project for six years at SOS Children Villages Dar es Salaam. In this role I was responsible for overall project management. My successful initiatives include enabling a program where 500 children who were at risk to lose parental care were supported directly by providing access to various services and providing caregiver support through economic empowerment and skills capacity building. I also have experience in partnership engagement in the public and private sectors and local and central government.
The book that changed my life is a book written by Sam Adeyemi entitled Ideas Rule the World. In this book he explains that there are millions in dollars of ideas around us every day, the quality of ideas that flow through our minds determines the quality of our life and success. He concluded that a man is simply what he/she thinks. Through this book I came to realise that I must generate powerful ideas that are capable of delivering the type of quality life that I desire in my life
My work at READ focuses around finance and logistics thus making sure all accounts are up to date and providing logistics support for project operations. Prior to joining READ, I worked for Restless Development where I acquired various skills in finance, management and logistics. From my time with Restless, I developed an interest in working in the education sector and for youth oriented organizations. I am excited to be working with READ International.
A book that changed my life: The Seven habits of highly effective people: powerful lesson in personal change by Stephen R. Covey. This was one of my very first non-fiction books which got my attention and changed my life. The book is very inspirational and developmental and it’s worth reading to anyone seeking success in their professions, personal and family life. It helped me to change in some aspects, to grow and to become an effective person in every responsibility that comes across.
We are very proud to have the following individuals supporting our work as Tanzania Board Members. They lend credibility to our work and also act as ambassadors for READ International. Click on their photos below to learn more about them!
Miranda is a tenacious Organisational Development Practitioner & Motivational Speaker with management consultancy & HR experience gained in Tanzania and the UK. With an academic background in Theatre for Development and Drama Education she has strategically transferred her skillset to the private sector and built up a flourishing Organisational Development Firm (www.empower.co.tz) servicing East Africa.
Miranda is one of the youngest members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Tanzania Chapter. She was part of the first batch of students to complete the Central School of Speech and Drama’s BA (Hons) degree in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, before going on to do an MA in Theatre and Development Studies at the University of Leeds. As such, Miranda is a qualified teacher and accomplished ‘Train the Trainer’ registered in the UK. She is interminably passionate about growth, education and the development of Tanzania.
In addition to being a respected, young Entrepreneur in Tanzania, her prior experience in the UK was primarily centred on youth arts in socio-economically deprived urban precincts, most notably in West Yorkshire and South London. Fusing the use of drama and music in her workshops, Miranda advocates a participatory approach learning & development – to making education sustainble it needs to be fun!
Miranda trains teenage Tanzanian peer-mentors on a voluntary basis, and enjoys drawing on her dual-heritage (UK & Tanzania) to ensure diversity in all she does.
Empower Limited is a dynamic consultancy firm that provides businesses with a range of customised organisational development solutions. Their mission is to inspire change by empowering people and organisations to flourish.
Life Mantra: “Always strive to be a better version of yourself”
I was part of the READ team when we started back in 2006, and went on to lead the UK and then Tanzanian programs for the first 5 years. I continued my work in the education sector and now work for Radar Education, the exclusive distributor for Pearson Education and oversee the Tanzanian and Ugandan offices. It’s been wonderful to watch READ grow per the years and I’m delighted to remain involved as part of the Tanzanian board.
A book that changed my life: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. Given to me at a fairly tough time in my life, I read this book and it made me feel positive and determined and realise you can get through anything if you believe in yourself. It also reminds me that sometimes you have to help people see beyond what they are told and give them a chance to explore what they can achieve.
Theophilus E. Mlaki holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from Loughborough University in UK. Until his recent retirement, Theo worked for 20 years as a Director of Information at the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH). He dealt mainly with the development of scientific information systems and the promotion and popularization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as tools for knowledge and information accessibility. He represented his country and COSTECH in international arena including organizations such as Unesco, International Telecommunication Union, CABI International, IDRC of Canada, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Economic Commission of Africa. Currently Theo works as – a Consultant in projects and programmes geared towards the utilization of ICT for development especially rural development; a Senior Advisor in Tanzania for Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) of Canada; a National Coordinator of Swedish Program for ICT for Developing Countries (SPIDER); past Chairman of the Board of the Dar es Salaam ICT Incubator supported by the World Bank under the InfoDev Program; and current Chairman of the Board of Tanzania Council for Social Development.
As a resourceful Entrepreneur and qualified Lawyer, I am passionate about developing cutting edge educational programs that drive social change. What inspires me most is working collaboratively with top notch leaders in the educational industry to develop and deliver innovative resources and solutions that prepare our youth and teachers for a sustainable future. To achieve my goals, I have established Shule Direct, a thriving organisation committed to providing comprehensive web and mobile educational platforms offering learning content across multiple subjects for young learners.
I have dedicated my professional career and personal life to empowering others to achieve their full potential. As a lawyer, I have the legal background to drive social change while continuing to comply with regulatory guidelines as well as rigorous industry standards. Always demanding excellence from myself, I believe in leading by example and as an entrepreneur, I hope to be a role model who cultivates new business opportunities that offer global change.
Reading is one of my favourite pastimes. It is hard to come up with one book that changed my life other than the Bible, cause it really has changed my life. However, if allowed to indulge, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, which I read when I was 14 years old confirmed my life-long reason to love books. I have ever since been seeking new destinations and knowledge through books.
Lawrence K. Masha is a Managing Partner of Gabriel & Co. Attorneys at law. His over fifteen years experience in practice focuses on legislation drafting, establishment of legal regulatory frameworks, privatization, Public Sector Reforms, sophisticated negotiations, project finances and syndicated loan transactions.
Mr Masha has played a commemorated role in the successfully establishment of the utility and infrastructure regulatory agencies in Tanzania, largest tour and travel operator such as State Travel Service Limited (STS) and Air Tanzania Company.
His experience as a former founding partner of IMMA Advocates, Tanzania and a celebrated former Minister of Home Affairs in Tanzania, equips him with invaluable insight in handling and heading the departments of Government Relations, Natural Resources and Tourism as well as Minerals And Energy within the firm
READ International started life in the UK. Today, our UK trustees act simply as an advisory board – sharing experience and expertise, while promoting our mission in the UK and Europe. To find out more about them, click on their photos below!
I first got involved with READ UK in 2009 on my exchange year to University College London. I am so passionate about the organisation’s mission and philosophy that I rejoined READ when I moved to the UK from Canada in 2015. While my academic background is in Psychology and Anthropology (specialising in Development), I joined a large retail start-up in Toronto for a few years. I then completed my Masters in Business Administration at Ivey Business School, Canada’s oldest business school. After graduating, I moved to the UK and am currently a Senior Consultant with Capgemini UK focusing on the financial services industry. My main areas of specialisation are process management, communications and change management. I am excited to marry my two passions (operational excellence and development) to further READ’s reach.
My background is in finance. I am a qualified accountant and chartered tax advisor and therefore my role with READ focuses on the finances. Outside of READ my passion is travelling, specifically around East Africa. Spending so much time in this amazing area of the world and getting to know the locals really brought to my attention the importance of education to bring people out of poverty. The work we do at READ helps this happen by making books available to local children through libraries and schools, improving education with the ultimate aim of improving living standards for the people in Tanzania
I first got involved for READ when I was 19 during my second year of University. Since then I have been to Tanzania twice as a READ volunteer and been involved in various fundraising, book collecting and awareness events back in the UK. In 2008 I helped complete the first READ library renovation project at Sabasaba Secondary School in Mtwara. I now live in London and work as a lawyer, advising governments in emerging markets on procuring private sector participation in the development and financing of large scale energy and infrastructure projects.
A book that changed my life: I’ve Seen the Clouds from Both Sides Now by Julie Tullis, the autobiography of a British female mountaineer who died whilst descending from the summit of K2 in 1986. Handed to me by my father when I was young, it was the first climbing book I read (mostly by torch light after bedtime).Since then I have gone through countless numbers of climbing, travelling and adventure books (of varying standards).They offer escapism and distraction (sometimes when you need it most) and a glimpse at how much enjoyment people can get from the more basic challenges and opportunity the world offers.
I was first involved with READ in 2005 as a volunteer at Nottingham Uni and first went to Tanzania in 2006. Since then, I have visited Tanzania 5 times, including a year spent setting up the READ office in Dar es Salaam. I stepped away from READ in 2010 to undertake teacher training through Teach First. Since 2012 I have continued to teach part-time whilst studying for my PhD at the Institute of Education in London. Inspired by my experiences with READ, I am researching how Tanzanian students respond to and cope with the language policy in secondary schools. I’m very excited that I will be spending a lot of the next year in Tanzania!
A book that changed my life: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This was a tough choice, but a friend recommended this book when I was 18 and living alone in Germany. I thought it was beautiful and taught me what fantastic company books can be!
I co-founded READ International back in 2004 with friends whilst studying at University of Nottingham. After university I took READ on as a full time job and led the organisation until 2011. In March 2011 I moved on from READ to travel from Cape Town to Cairo with my wife Nikki to co-write a book, On the Up, about social entrepreneurs in Africa aiming to inspire young people to drive social change. I have remained closely involved with READ ever since and am privileged to play a support role as a trustee.
I am also the co-founder of NoPC an IT social enterprise using the latest cloud computing technology to provide access to IT for the remotest of locations. In October 2011 I joined Ashoka UK as part of the UK leadership team and I’m leading our European Youth Strategy to educate a generation of changemakers.
We are blessed to benefit from ongoing support from four core partners. They help us to keep our running costs low and our efficiency high!
368 Msasani Road
Dar es Salaam
PO Box 1160
+255 (0)757 029 331
+255 (0)712 640 070
Mailing Address – UK
113 Barden Road
020 3031 9116