Category Archives: Canada

Posts from HYTES board and volunteers.


AfricaEducation is an online database of information, news and resources related to education and development initiatives throughout Africa. The website provides access to more than 2000 online journals and open educational resources via the African Virtual University library. The website is a compilation of information for students and teachers alike, including:

  • Available employment and volunteer positions and related search engines
  • Information and links for student bursaries and financial awards
  • A listing of African institutions, such as Universities, schools and museums
  • Curriculum-specific content, including lesson activities and learning resources
  • News and upcoming education-specific conferences

 AfricaEducation also provides useful information for teachers and students on things such as how to build and maintain a website, how to conduct online research and student study tips. Access to some online content is restricted to residents within Africa, but nevertheless the website offers a wealth of information and research assistance on a wide range of education-related topics.

For more information, visit

—Shannon McClennan

Posted in Canada | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Artist Profile: Ngugi Wa Thiong’o – Literary and Social Activist (Kenya)

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is a Kenyan novelist and post-colonial literature theorist. His written works include novels, plays, short stories, essays, literary criticism and children’s literature. He is also the founder and editor of Mutiiri, a Gikuyu-language literary journal. Born in Kenya in 1938 while the country was still a British colony, Thiong’o survived the Mau Mau War of Independence, only to lose his stepbrother in the violence. This, paired with the tragic torture his mother endured during the unrest, greatly influenced his early works.

His first major play, The Black Hermit, was produced in 1962 at the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda, as part of Uganda’s Independence celebration. In 1963, Thiong’o received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda, and the University of Leeds, UK. His first novel, Weep Not, Child, was published in 1964 and is noted as the first English-language novel to be published by an East African writer.

Following the publication of his third English-language novel, A Grain of Wheat (1967), Thiong’o gave up writing in English, turning instead to his native Gikuyu and Swahili. His play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want, 1977), was critical of the inequalities and injustices of Kenyan society and as a result, Thiong’o was arrested and imprisoned without charge at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in December 1977. Even during his imprisonment, Thiong’o continued to write, producing the first ever Gikuyu-language modern novel, Caitaani mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross, 1981), written on toilet paper and translated into English in 1982. Also in 1982, Thiong’o published Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary, and later Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986), an essay which proclaimed that African writers should be free to write in their own native languages, rather than be restricted to using only European languages. After Amnesty International named him a Prisoner of Conscience in 1977, an international campaign secured his release in December 1978. However, upon his release from prison, Thiong’o was barred from teaching positions at colleges and universities in Kenya until he was exiled, first to Great Britain and later, to the United States.

Thiong’o has held distinguished positions in universities throughout the United States, including professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University and professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University. After 22 years in exile, Thiong’o and his family returned to Kenya in 2004 where they were attacked by armed gunmen. Escaping once again to the United States, Thiong’o continues to write. To date, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages and continue to garner critical acclaim around the world, including his most recent Wizard of the Crow (2006), an English translation of his Gikuyu-language novel Murogi wa Kagogo and Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (2009).

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature as well as the Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. The author continues to speak at universities around the world and has been accorded many honours, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and seven honorary doctorates. More information on Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s life and writings can be found at his website, A 2004 video from the University of California that features Thiong’o lecturing from his Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom can be found on YouTube.

The works of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o:
The Black Hermit, (1962)
Weep Not, Child (1964)
The River Between (1965)
A Grain of Wheat, (1967)
This Time Tomorrow (1970)
Homecoming: Essays on African and Caribbean Literature, Culture, and Politics (1972)
A Meeting in the Dark (1974)
Secret Lives, and Other Stories (1976)
The Trial of Dedan Kimathi (1976)
Ngaahika ndeenda: Ithaako ria ngerekano (I Will Marry When I Want) (1977)
Petals of Blood (1977)
Caitaani mutharaba-Ini (Devil on the Cross) (1980)
Writers in Politics: Essays (1981)
Education for a National Culture (1981)
Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1981)
Barrel of a Pen: Resistance to Repression in Neo-Colonial Kenya (1983)
Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986)
Mother, Sing For Me (1986)
Writing against Neo-Colonialism (1986)
Njamba Nene na Mbaathi i Mathagu (Njamba Nene and the Flying Bus) (1986)
Matigari ma Njiruungi (1986)
Njamba Nene na Chibu King’ang’i (Njamba Nene and the Cruel Chief) (1988)
Matigari, (1989)
Bathitoora ya Njamba Nene (Njamba Nene’s Pistol) (1990)
Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedom (1993)
Penpoints, Gunpoints and Dreams: The Performance of Literature and Power in Post-Colonial Africa (The Clarendon Lectures in English Literature, 1996)
Mũrogi wa Kagogo (Wizard of the Crow) (2004)
Wizard of the Crow (2006)
Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (2009)

—Teresa Li
Posted in Canada | Leave a comment

Who are you supporting?

It’s said that ‘we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, but we don’t know what we’re missing until it arrives’. It’s difficult for many North American students – who have had the opportunity to attend school – to fully comprehend what it means to be denied an education. They know what they’ve got. There are many children, youths and adults around the world who, for many reasons, believe that their dreams of attending school, learning to read and having a career are out of reach. At HYTES, we believe that access to education is a right, and one more step in helping young people achieve their dreams. We receive multiple letters of thanks from HYTES students who are grateful to you for the gift of education.

This is the case of Mfaume, a Tanzanian student who is facing his future without his parents. Through your donations, HYTES is working to support Mfaume and provide him with a worthy education to help him achieve his goal of becoming a lawyer. “I would like to work with the magistrates and advocates in order to make sure the laws are followed effectively,” says Mfaume, who dreams of working with his people to overcome poverty in Tanzania.

Resources are limited for Zambian young population too. Edina Phiri is a Zambian girl whose father struggles to pay tuition fees for his eight children. Your support helps HYTES fund Edina’s education as her family cannot afford her school uniform or notebook to write in. When her education is complete, Edina plans to be an accountant to help improve Zambian banks.

Like Mfaume and Edina, more that 150 children in four countries are realizing their education dreams through your support of HYTES. Their school tuition, textbook and uniform costs not only see students through their education, but also help to pay the salary of teachers, local publishers and textile workers. Through your support of HYTES, you’re not only funding children’s education, but giving hope and security to hundreds, if not thousands of workers in Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Guatemala.

–Vanessa Montes
Contributing Writer
Posted in Canada, Student Profiles, Students | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

OpportuniTEA Knocks!

In late 2009, Edmonton HYTESters experimented with the production and sales of a brand new fundraising item: jars of East African Chai tea mix, a spiced tea brewed with a mixture of aromatic spices. Labelled ‘OpportuniTEA – bringing educational opportunities to the [global] South with every sip!’, the jars contained a mixture of loose Assam black tea leaves from East Africa, along with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and white pepper. The jars were beautifully decorated with African fabric, simple ribbon and beadwork and made perfect stocking stuffers.

Chai tea is the beverage of choice in many of HYTES’s partner countries, so it seemed only fitting to work this into our fundraising efforts in Canada as well. HYTES supporters who attended Edmonton fundraising dinners over the past few years really seemed to enjoy the East African Chai served at those events, thus the idea was born to create a Chai tea mix product that folks could enjoy at home. The most authentic way to enjoy this recipe is to boil the tea mixture on the stove with milk and a lot of sugar.

Approximately 40 jars of OpportuniTEA – which were lovingly handcrafted by our team of very creative and resourceful volunteers – sold out at a weekend-long Edmonton event known as Just Christmas, garnering over $600 in fundraising revenue for HYTES. Just Christmas is a festive, fair trade global marketplace for arts, handmade crafts and other goods sold by not-for-profit or charitable organizations working to help build healthy communities and promote social justice around the world. For more information, check out

Watch for HYTES to brew up another batch of OpportuniTEA and showcase at Just Christmas again in 2010!

–Pam Amulaku

Posted in Canada | Leave a comment

A New Year, A New HABARI Times

On behalf of the HYTES Board of Directors, I would like to welcome you all to the new HABARI Times blog. While we have been remiss in sending out regular newsletters so far this year, HYTESters have been busy behind the scenes ensuring that this years school fees were paid for all of our 126 successful HYTES scholarship recipients. Profiles on a few of these students will be available on the HABARI Times blog throughout the year. Some of the 2010 students are new while most are past HYTES recipients who have moved on to the next grade, but each and every one is in school right now because of the continued generosity of our amazing HYTES supporters and donors, and for that we offer our profuse thanks.

2010 is a big year for HYTES as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Helping Youth Through Educational Scholarships. Since 2005, HYTES has invested in the futures of incredible young people who desperately want to attend school but who live in countries where, sadly, access to education is a privilege, not a universal right.

Over the last five years, while the HYTES bank account and student roster has grown exponentially, the organization has consciously maintained its 100 percent volunteer-run operational model. HYTES remains a small, grassroots, Alberta-based charity, but we continuously work to enhance our organizational capacity in order to ensure that we are operating in a smooth and sustainable manner. Some recent examples include changes implemented in the 2010 school year to streamline the scholarship payment process. To do this, we set a standard scholarship fee in each of our countries of operation, established policies addressing student responsibilities and performance expectations, and increased responsibilities for Country Liaisons and Country Representatives to ease the workload of the HYTES Board. We are also striving to keep in touch with HYTES graduates – of which there are now several – to track their progress as they move on to the next stages of their lives.

One of our strategic goals for the year ahead is to grow our volunteer base, and I’m pleased to report that we have recently welcomed a large number of new volunteers on board, including an outstanding HABARI Times editorial and production team. I am sure you will enjoy the new energy flowing through the The HABARI Times under the leadership of our new volunteer editor, Shannon McClennan. We have also recently recruited new volunteers to fill Country Liaison, Legal Advisor, and Student Database Developer roles. Stay tuned for more new volunteer opportunities to be posted soon on

Please watch the website as well for several upcoming fundraising events, including the annual family FUNdraiser in Calgary. We hope to see you at this and other events, and invite you to champion the work of HYTES any time through In the words of Stephen Lewis, HYTES believes that “education is the world’s greatest force for good,” and we hope you agree. On behalf of the HYTES Board, volunteers, and most importantly, the students in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Guatemala, their families and communities, we thank you so much for your ongoing support in 2010!

–Pam Amulaku
VP Internal Operations, Director

Posted in Canada | Leave a comment