Announcing the 2014 Kulanu-Abayudaya Women's Speaking Tour!

Kulanu is thrilled to announce that this fall's Abayudaya speaking tour - running from October 23 to November 24, 2014 - will feature young activist Shoshanna Nambi. In 2013, Shoshanna was the first Jewish woman to represent her community on this annual Kulanu-organized tour; one host described Ms. Nambi's presentation as "heart-warming and educational... truly unforgettable."

As an active Jewish learner and leader in her congregation, and an administrator in organizations that address women's and community health issues, Shoshanna presents a unique perspective on the roles of women in the Abayudaya community and the challenges they face.

image: Susan Nambi. Photo by Hedy Cohen, 2013.

Susan Nambi
(Photo by Hedy Cohen, 2013)

Scroll down or click here to find out how to invite Shoshanna to your community this fall!

More about Shoshanna Nambi:

Shoshanna Nambi is a graduate of the Abayudaya-founded Semei Kakungulu High School, and the mother of a five-year-old in the Abayudaya elementary school (both of these schools are sustained by Kulanu, Inc.); she is also among the first Abayudaya women to graduate from university, and has served as a youth leader in the community. Because of her multiple roles in the community, Shoshanna is able to share her personal experiences and down-to-earth knowledge of women's education, health, religion, and family lives. In addition to a multimedia presentation and her talk, her visit will include her beautiful singing in Hebrew and Luganda, a local language.

For several years since its creation by an Abayudayan medical officer, Shoshanna has worked with RAIN-UGANDA, an organization that addresses previously unmet health needs in the community, and especially in more rural areas. Without regard to religion, RAIN conducts HIV testing for men, women, and children, and cervical and breast cancer screening, both of which are crucial services for hundreds of rural women who previously went undiagnosed. Shoshanna works both as an HIV counselor and as RAIN's accountant. In addition to her work for RAIN, Shoshanna recently accepted a new position as field manager for Aspire Global Health, a non-profit that helps hospitals and their medical staff to improve the quality of care for patients. Previously, she worked as an administrator at the Tobin Health Center in the nearby city of Mbale, an important resource for the treatment of malaria and other diseases of children and adults among the Abayudaya and their Christian and Muslim neighbors.

Born in Kenya in 1988, Shoshanna lived in Mbale as a child. When she moved to her grandparents' home near Nabugoye Hill, the main Abayudaya village, she entered Semei Kakungulu High School. It was there that she began to study Hebrew as well as Jewish thought and ideas. A quick learner, she began to teach the younger children in the community on Shabbat mornings, meanwhile gaining facility in Hebrew, learning to read Torah, leading prayers in the synagogue, and acting as English translator for visitors. In 2006 she became a bat mitzvah at Moses Synagogue in Nabugoye Hill, a highlight of her religious life.

Among her many accomplishments, Shoshanna, along with friends, founded the Abayudaya Girls' Magazine during high school as a means of empowering young Abayudaya women through publication of their writings and poetry. A teacher in an adult literacy program sponsored by Kulanu, Shoshanna also was active in forming the Abayudaya Youth Organization (AYO), helping them to orchestrate their first youth convention in 2009. At Kampala International University, Shoshanna studied accounting and business management, gaining a BA in Business Administration in 2011. While in Kampala she helped to initiate a program of Friday night and Saturday morning services for Abayudaya students, allowing them to maintain their connection to Judaism and to each other while far from home.

We are requesting your help in identifying possible venues for this year's Kulanu-Abayudaya speaking tour, which will run October 23 - November 24, 2014.

The educational program will be age-appropriate for all and can include a slideshow presentation and African Jewish music. You are also welcome to purchase CDs of Abayudaya music, or other products from to sell in conjunction with the presentation.

Speaking tour audiences will learn how the Abayudaya and Kulanu are taking a leadership role in increasing education, nutrition, and women's empowerment, and in helping to bring together diverse religious communities in this part of the world.

What is required of host locations?

Here is what we ask of event hosts:

  • An honorarium of $1,450 per event, which includes travel expenses. Note: We are offering a $200 discount to those who reserve a date and pay a $250 deposit by June 30th, 2014. * (See below for ideas on co-sponsoring.)
  • A primary contact to be responsible for the event and for Shoshanna while she is in your city.
  • Accommodations, meals, and local transportation for the speaker (home hospitality is great!).

If you would like to host the speaker, what should you do next?

  • Please consult our online calendar to see which dates have already been assigned to other groups, and which dates have tentative requests.
  • Complete our online inquiry form to let us know of your interest and how to reach you. If you are able, please list three possible dates from Thursday, October 23 through Monday, November 24, 2014 that might work for you.
  • Check out Kulanu's online Event Planning Kit to get an idea of what is involved in hosting a successful speaking tour event.

*You are welcome to seek co-sponsors to share your event. Synagogues of all denominations, Jewish community centers, Protestant churches, mosques and secular and Catholic universities have all joined together to co-sponsor Kulanu-Abayudaya events. Kulanu speakers have been welcomed at Brown, Cal State, Howard, Washburn, Wellesley, Northeastern, and Yale Universities. Within universities, many departments have co-sponsored including history, religion, music, Jewish studies, African studies, campus ministries, international development, and diversity offices. For this tour, women's groups and gender studies departments may be especially interested in participating.

This is an opportunity to make a very special multilayered contribution -- educating your community about the Abayudaya, helping the Abayudaya extend their relationships with the wider world, and providing support for the education of Abayudaya children and their Muslim and Christian neighbors.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to notify other groups that might be interested in hosting Shoshanna Nambi this fall. Thank you!