Elizabeth McLauglin, Editor
Header Image: Madecha Education Association
The Durning-O’Halloran Library in Arusha, Tanzania, established by Dr. Richard and Elaine Mshomba.
On Feb. 16, Dr. Richard Mshomba, a professor of economics here at La Salle, discussed how he has given back to his hometown in Sinon, Arusha, a city in Tanzania via a community library that serves more than 15 schools. Mshomba’s devotion to Lasallian values stems back to his undergraduate career, when he received a scholarship to La Salle and moved from Tanzania to Philadelphia to study economics. In the years since, he has demonstrated steadfast commitment to the very values that underpin a Lasallian education. With his wife, Mshomba established the Madecha Education Association, the organization that operates the library.
Mshomba explains that “the education system in Tanzania is different from that in the U.S.,” with one key difference being that students have to pass national exams in order to pass on to the next level of schooling. The library provides students with access to books, laptops, internet and sample exams, to name a few resources. Construction on the library began in 2008 and was completed in 2016; it has since doubled in size, representing an invaluable resource to members of his hometown community.
The Durning-O’Halloran Library is named after Mshomba’s American host family, Joan and Charles Durning, as well as Elaine Mshomba’s parents, Joan and Joseph O’Halloran. All four individuals provided support, both financially and faith-based, for the Mshombas’ project. Moreover, a La Salle College High School student named Matthew Hladczuk undertook a fundraising effort for the library’s expansion.
Through community effort, the Mshombas were able to “provide additional educational opportunities for the young people in the community, [and] a long-term goal is to build a facility for vocational training.” In Mshomba’s words, “it is amazing what can be accomplished when people work together for the common good.”
Editor’s Note: During my freshman year, I was lucky enough to have Mshomba for microeconomics. From the first day of class and throughout the entire semester, it was clear to me that Mshomba values education very highly and works with students, both in and out of the classroom, to ensure that they are provided with the tools and resources they need to succeed.