This month’s Volunteer of the Month is Tamara Mzumara! While getting her bachelor’s from Murray State University in the US, Tamara fell in love with the culture of “volunteerism” among her fellow students. When she finished her degree and returned to Zambia, she was eager to find opportunities to continue volunteering, and we are so glad she did. From shelving and data collection to helping out with book clubs and DREAMS mentoring, Tamara made herself so invaluable to Lubuto that we hired her! While she may no longer be a volunteer, we are excited to welcome her on as our new M&E Officer as of this month, and we appreciate her enthusiasm in serving Lubuto’s mission.
The Volunteer of the Month is Mwaba Chabo (pictured at left), who first learned about Lubuto through an online advertisement recruiting volunteers in October of 2015. A recent graduate with a background in Information Technology, Mwaba was immediately attracted to the opportunity because she loves to read and she loves teaching, especially teaching young children. And once she began volunteering at the former Fountain of Hope Lubuto Library, she was unstoppable—most weeks she spent nearly 40 hours a week at the library, working alongside the staff and assisting with Storytime, LubutoLiteracy, and more. Mwaba says she loves being involved with Lubuto because she has a “heart for people,” and “loves talking to people about the things they go through.” This was already evident to us, given Mwaba’s unique talent for connecting with the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach children. So when an opening emerged for us to hire an Assistant Family Literacy Coordinator to help roll out our new curriculum and its supporting software program, we thought of Mwaba immediately. We are thrilled to be able to say that after nearly three years of involvement with Lubuto, Mwaba was hired as a full-time staff member in January! Welcome, Mwaba.
The November Volunteer of the Month is Beauty Nanyangwe, who has been volunteering at the Lubuto Model Library for nine months and plans to stay as long as possible. Beauty initially volunteered with the family literacy program and outreach. She is inspired whenever she teaches a young mother to hold a pen, and eventually learn to write. From volunteering in these two programs she has felt the need to spend more time at the library as a way of giving back to the community. She is now frequently doing many different activities with children, among them storytime, reference services, and activities in the tech hub. Beauty received a Bachelors degree from the University of Zambia, where she majored in Adult Education and minored in Civic Education.
October's Volunteer of the Month is Lucky Changula, who has been volunteering at the Lubuto Model Library since he first visited in 2015. He is one of Lubuto's most dedicated volunteers, and it is rare that a day goes by in which he does not visit the library. Although Lucky has a disability that prevents him from speaking, he communicates well with staff and children using body language and sign language. He helps to keep order and direct children during programs such as mentoring, LubutoLiteracy, and movies. Besides volunteering, Lucky also enjoys listening to storytimes, watching Friday movies, and spending time with the many friends he has made at the library. His favorite books are The Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe it or Not! Lucky lives in Garden Compound with his brother. His brother tells us that it was the happiest day of Lucky's life when he was given a Lubuto t-shirt, and that he loves spending time at the library because nobody looks down on him there.
Our September 2017 Volunteer of the Month is Namukaba Hichilo, a computer scientist who has helped Lubuto invaluably with his expertise in technology. Namukaba developed an app to make the new LubutoLiteracy lessons accessible and helped set up the internet in Lubuto Libraries. Recently, he facilitated a session on “Digital Literacy in Public Libraries” at our first annual public librarian training workshop. He is now attending Stanford University for his MBA, having received a prestigious Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship.
Our March Volunteer of the Month is Mwilu Kaputula, a long-term volunteer at Ngwerere Library. Mwilu completed his Bachelor’s degree in Adult Education at the University of Zambia last September. He has always had a love for books and working with children. After attending a Literacy Week event at Ngwerere in 2014, Mwilu was inspired to volunteer regularly. He particularly enjoys leading storytime and hopes that his passion for reading and contributions to Lubuto helps to empower vulnerable youth and give them brighter futures.
Our Volunteer of the Month is Sarah Rowman. Sarah is a Junior at Oberlin College majoring in Creative Writing and East Asian Studies and we were fortunate that she wanted to intern at Lubuto during the school’s January break. We were delighted to take advantage of her writing skills and threw just about every writing project that was in the works her way, including web content. She was a crucial sounding board, especially providing new ideas for the website.
The January Volunteers of the Month are Jim Kurtz and Laurie Green, long-time friends of Lubuto who helped to build a bigger and stronger support base and have provided us with vital services. We found Jim through his wife and earlier Lubuto volunteer, Laurie, who got Bryan Cave LLP’s Washington DC office behind our work. She hosted a great Lubuto event there in 2011. We didn’t let Jim escape too effectively after he retired from the IRS because he prepares Lubuto’s tax returns for us every year.
Ken Meyers has always humbly referred to himself as “Volunteer #1,” when he is signing off on yet another assignment for Lubuto: proposal writing; financial analysis, planning and budgeting; tapping talented people to join our board; unending technical support; research and analysis of the value and impact of Lubuto Libraries – supporting Lubuto for a couple hundred hours a year, and that’s just the “formal” pro bono help! He genuinely is Volunteer #1 in that Lubuto simply would not exist without him. He doesn’t want this attention, but no one who knows him can allow him to escape recognition as Lubuto’s November 2016 Volunteer of the Month!
Our Volunteer of the Month is the wonderful April Wright, who we first met in 2011 as a volunteer for our LubutoLiteracy OLPC project. She has stayed interested and supportive ever since, most recently helping with cataloging and buying books for Lubuto collections. We are humbled by her amazing dedication in squeezing Lubuto into her very busy life and we are delighted by her conviction that “Lubuto is doing [what] libraries are supposed to do: not just serve. Solve!”
Our June Volunteer of the Month is Sherma Ramakrishnan, a new summer volunteer in DC who has already helped to update our website and expand our social media presence. She has been willing to get her hands dirty and immediately took on the arduous task of archiving files and making them available on our website. With her background in communications, we are excited to receive Sherma’s guidance in coming up with new ways to share stories from Lubuto libraries. Sherma is currently an undergraduate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania majoring in international studies.
Our May Volunteer of the Month is Ann Buki. Every once in a while we go back and remember our treasured volunteers who helped us before we had Volunteer of the Month. In 2008, Ann came to us as a volunteer while she was an MLIS student at Catholic University and assisted with our cataloging at St. Paul’s Church. She also organized book drives at Catholic University, really helping to get the school involved with Lubuto. She came to work for a year or so as our first Program Associate in 2009. Ann has been in Philadelphia for some time now, but her hard work and kind nature is still missed by all who worked with her.
Our April Volunteer of the Month is Karina Veras. Karina came to Washington from her home in Brazil to help a Lubuto friend through recovery from surgery. We were so lucky that she learned about Lubuto and wanted to also help us while she was here. Besides working on our donor management system she cataloged hundreds of books for collections needing updating in Zambia. We were so sorry when she had to return to Brazil but look forward to her permanent return in August!
Our Volunteer of the Month is Musonda Kabamba who has been extremely helpful in keeping day-to-day operations running at Fountain of Hope Library. Musonda assists with our data collection, maintains and repairs computers and shelves books. He also helps facilitate special activities at the library, including movie time and board games. Musonda graduated from Libal High School in 2010 and received an international diploma in computing. He is now pursuing a BSc degree.
Travis got to know Lubuto and Jane in 2006 when he was an LIS student at the University of South Carolina. He started by organizing the USC LISSA students in creative fundraising as well as a tremendous effort to solicit book donations from publishers at an ALA conference in those early days of our collection-building. He has since stayed closely engaged and always looking for new ways to raise money and awareness for Lubuto, as well as being a donor himself.
As he has progressed through his career as a military librarian, Travis has increased his personal monthly financial contributions to Lubuto. His commitment to our mission has never waned. We so greatly treasure our recurring donors! While we know Travis will remain a member of the Lubuto family for a long time, we would like to step back this month and recognize him as our Volunteer of the Month!
“There is this library, with all this stuff going on, and the kids love it!”
These are the words of our Volunteer of the Month, Ed Rumsey, when describing Lubuto libraries. Ed is a volunteer at the Ngwerere Library who has connected with so many Lubuto children since starting in September. He comes to the library several times a week and reads to children and participates in activities with them. As a trained musician, Ed also runs a music program at the library. He is beloved by the children and entertains them for hours on end.
Note: Ed is also responsible for arranging the fantastic Nick Miami Lubuto rap. Check it out if you haven’t already done so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFgLvZXtFQ4
Read his review of Lubuto on Great Nonprofits: http://greatnonprofits.org/users/profile/358477
Our Volunteer of the Month is Curtis Rogers, the talented graphic designer who created our new logo, electronic graphics for the new website and communications materials—as well as the beautiful template for our 2014 annual report. With his help, we were able to start a rebranding campaign this year reflecting our new name and logo and commemorating our 10th anniversary. He also volunteered at our 10th anniversary celebration. Curtis works as the Marketing Manager at the National Club Association. Holding an MFA in creative writing from NYU, he writes poetry in his free time.
Our Volunteer of the Month is Joseph Phiri, a Zambian volunteer who has devoted so much of his time to helping out at Fountain of Hope Library. Joseph is a recent law school graduate who was attracted to Lubuto because of his interest in education and children's rights. He volunteers at the Fountain of Hope library from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday, and has quickly become a key part of the Fountain of Hope team. He also started and currently leads a Lubuto chess club that is extremely popular with children of all ages.
Our Volunteer of the Month is Stacy Langner! Stacy was working for an international development firm in South Africa and working on a Master's in Library & Information Science when she discovered the first Lubuto library and contacted us to ask if she could visit it for her research. It wasn't long before she was hooked and, as a volunteer, bringing in our first major grants while she traversed East Africa training people in resource mobilization working for the German Foundation for International Development. Her tireless and amazing efforts resulted in a major turning point for Lubuto, and during our 10th anniversary year we would like to celebrate and thank this very special and talented volunteer-employee-volunteer and friend for her wonderful contributions!
Our Volunteer of the Month is Caitlin Raines—the DC office’s amazing summer intern—who has significantly increased our visibility and engagement through social media platforms in just a couple of months. Caitlin is an undergraduate Public Relations major at Pepperdine University and will soon be returning to California to complete her junior year. Aside from creating new LinkedIn business and Instagram profiles for Lubuto, she has been invaluable and very creative in thinking of new ways to share stories and updates through all of our social media applications. In recent weeks, Caitlin also assisted in the daunting task of laying out the new lubuto.org website.