the story of Glory, Luck and being thankful for what you have from Arusha

Shepherds Primary School, Arusha, Tanzania

She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”

Glory’s Story,

This story is about a little 10yr old girl in Tanzania called Glory, a wonderful lady called Stacey ….  and how their little story should matter to all of us.

Glory, is a bright young girl who attends Shepherd Primary school in Tanzania.  One fine morning Glory decided she could no longer go to school when she realized that her only pair of shoes had a sole missing. While this might seem like a non-issue for most, Glory like many of her peers at Shepherds primary, lives in meager circumstances with her sister, aunt and grandmother given both her parents had passed away.

So how does Luck have a part to play in this story? Shepherd Primary school is a very lucky school. In 2003, Mama Lucy collected her savings selling chickens, and decided to rent a plot of land adjacent to her home to start a primary school. As Luck would have it, a local developer bought the land in 2007 and forced her to close down. Luckily Stacey, who had visited Shepherds Primary as a volunteer that year decided that she had to quit her job in the U.S and help Mamy Lucy rebuild. Since that day, with the help of the teachers, parents and several generous donors, Stacey and Mama Lucy have been able to rebuild the school, purchase a refurbished school bus and double the number of student to over 300. As a matter of fact, in November 2008, Shepherds Junior participated in national exams for the first time. The school ranked #1 out of 117 participating schools in the Arusha district. The kids beamed with pride and so did Stacey.

Oh and what happened to the little girl Glory? That evening after school Glory’s teacher Rachel went over to her house to further investigate — and on finding out the issue, she went door to door in the village looking for a pair of shoes for Glory to borrow for the day. The next morning, teacher Rachel returned with Glory to school … and by the end of the week Mama Lucy had bought Glory a shiny new pair of her own. That week, Stacey received thank you notes from the kids, including Glory’s that seemed a little different — She wrote: “Dear Teachers: I am so lucky.”

That’s where we all come in. What if the Luckiest people aren’t the people with the most money, the most comfort or determined by where in the world they live? What if luck had little to do with all this — what if it Luck had everything do with what you share? Stacey, Glory and Mama Lucy share a little of their Luck every day with everyone they meet. Let’s help Mama Lucy, Glory and Stacey’s organization Epic Change spread the *Luck* by joining their TweetLuck campaign …

Epic Change has created a wonderful campaign to celebrate South By Southwest and St. Patrick’s Day called TweetLuck.  Be sure to @tweetluck or Epic Change founder @staceymonk on Twitter.


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PediaPress | Print Your Favorite Wikipedia Articles As Books

Techcruch carried an interesting note on how you can create a book by importing wikipedia pages. What is great is that you can create a book on any topic, sort information by chapters and PediaPress takes care of typesetting, printing and shipping. PediaPress allows you to download the PDF or OpenDocument format free of charge.

This harps back a conversation on Jon’s Appfrica blog about how we must think beyond just the net to truly democratize information. We have to think of new ways to get it into the hands of people who need it most. Perhaps PediaPress is an step in this direction.

Did you know that you can assemble your own wiki pages from Wikipedia and print them out in book form? You can, for a while now, thanks to a partnership between Wikimedia Foundation and a German startup called PediaPress.

Last week, the wiki-to-print feature was activated for six more languages besides German but as of yesterday the functionality is also being tested on the regular English Wikipedia (restricted to logged-on users only for now).

You can check it out here .

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Africa deserves better leaders ..

Today’s top stories from the BBC’s Africa section. Don’t we deserve better from our leadership …


BBC Africa Page: last updated at 17:56 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009


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The ‘dusty foot philosopher’ makes waves again


Somalia-raised, Toronto-based rapper K’naan thinks like Bob Marley, flows like Eminem and mixes African music with conscious hip-hop, unabashed pop and even metal. The results are usually catchy and interesting – Rolling Stone, Feb 5, 2009

Along with his mother and his brother, 13-year-old Keinan Warsame left Somalia on the last commercial flight from Mogadishu to join his father in New York; the family settled in Toronto’s “Little Somalia” shortly thereafter. K’naan has been speaking out publicly about his country’s plight since 2001. Recently he joined Youssou N’Dour, to appear on his album of “refugee voices,” Building Bridges, and a subsequent tour.

K’naan’s Troubadour hits stores on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Check out “Bang Bang” by K’Naan free on iTunes this week.

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can discarded phone booths be used to kickstart micropayments?

Andrewhydeheadshot_normalandrewhyde: rt @dllavoy just occurred to me. could payphones be considered the first micropayment model? about 2 hours ago · Reply · View Tweet

Andrew Hyde of TechStars retweeted  a simple thought by Deb Louison Lavoy on why pay phones could not be used for micropayments. I thought I’d share this on my blog for your thoughts.

This reminds me of an equally interesting project called Question box that converts discarded phone booths in rural villages into a knowledge re-sources.

The idea was simple:

Users place a free call by pushing the green button. They connect to an operator sitting in front of an Internet-enabled computer. Users ask the operator questions. The operator goes online and finds their answers, translating them into the local language.

Question Box brings relevant information to people who cannot access the Internet directly. It overcomes barriers of illiteracy, language and limited penetration in rural India and Africa. Villagers have access to immediate, relevant information using the most simple mode of communication:  voice.

While this is great, Question Box’s successful pilots coupled with Deb’s post brings up an interesting question. Can these same discarded phone booths also serve the purpose of collecting micro payments? – Phone booths already have the ability to collect money and transmit data over phone lines.

With little modification, phone booths could serve to kick start micro payments in rural Africa for those still be disconnected to the banking and communication grid.

These are my $0.02 ; your thoughts welcome ..

tag: afrigadget, appfrica, jobsworth

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The U.N. discusses mandating the Right to Water


Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has a wonderful story about the U.N. considering mandating the right to water.

This is in part a response to water riots in Bolivia, Mali, Uruguay, Argentina and South Africa where the governments were unable to anticipate or explain unusually high water rates brought on by privatization of water services.

While private industry is critical to better purification and delivery systems, water must remain a public resource so as to prevent its exploitation. Classifying water as a human right would send the right message – that Governments have an obligation to allocate adequate resources that provide equal access to water for all their citizens.

Enshrining water as a right sounds innocent. But it carries multiple implications. On one level, such a right would put nations on notice to upgrade water systems to make sure all their citizens have access. It’s an inarguable ideal for a human necessity.

Poor nations, the real audience for the water-as-a-right campaign, have experienced a confusing spin cycle of rich-country ideas. First, foreign aid failed to improve water deliveries, as weak governments weren’t up to the task of rebuilding. Then a new wave of aid from the World Bank and the United Nations came with a condition: Here’s the money, but it needs to be handled by private companies with the management and experience to pull off an infrastructure rebuild.

source:  Is there a right to water?, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, December 26, 2008

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Why I blog about Africa

Why write about Africa? There are many reasons why people choose to blog about Africa, but few have ever been challenged to share their reasons. Interestingly enough, African bloggers have been responding to a wonderful post by Théophile Kouamouo, a blogger based in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), who started a meme asking why you blog about Africa:

Why do you blog about Africa? Do we blog for the diaspora and for the world at large, cut off from our contemporary on the continent? Is blogging about Africa done in the same way as blogging about Europe or Asia? Does the African-oriented blogosphere have something specific to offer to the world version 2.0?

To understand why I write about Africa, there are a few things you must know about me:

  1. I am a third generation Kenyan.
  2. Like many in his time, my father’s grandfather came to Africa as a laborer for the great East African Railway from India. The journey was hard, their future was uncertain but he was determined to find his destiny in a land that his forefathers would have known little about.
  3. I am also an Indian.
  4. My mother comes from a state where the seeds of peaceful revolution were planted by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, later known as the Mahatma – this state, Gujarat has been the powerhouse of Indian Industry ever since.
  5. Lastly, I’m American educated.  I believe strongly in mankind’s responsibility to protect some basic inalienable rights for every human being as outlined in the American Declaration of Independence , “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness “.

I write about Africa because I believe in Africa; I believe in the dream of a  self reliant and prosperous Africa; I believe in the unwavering strength of its people, and the richness of its cultural history. My Africa is undergoing a revolution – a silent revolution, a peaceful revolution, an information revolution. The youth are vocal and demanding a better future. Rather than look at the west for answers, it is engaging the west to define it’s own future. Lastly, I write about Africa because its my home – and this is why I write about Africa.

Why do you blog about Africa? I’d love to hear from you …

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