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  • Writer's pictureSoma International

A Dream, A Community & A Smile

Meet Mohamed Mwinyi! Soma International’s Founder and CEO. He also serves on the Board of Directors.

Mohamed moved to Blacksburg, Virginia from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2009. He was given the opportunity to further his education by attending New River Community College. A couple of years later he transferred to Virginia Tech. During that time, he was working as a math tutor and for a grocery store, Kroger.

Throughout his first year of education at NRCC, Mohamed noticed that Blacksburg had ample resources available for educational purposes. In Tanzania, there was a lack of learning materials. In addition, there was also a need for facilities where the youth and community could come together to learn skills they could apply to their daily lives. 

After he had this realization, Mohamed came up with Soma International, a way to help his community, and to contribute educational resources to the youth in Tanzania.  He wanted to find a way to provide a space for rural agriculture, youth leadership and community education. Mohamed’s hope was that this space would increase the passing rates in educational institutions.

In 2012, Mohamed was able to set a foundation and structure for Soma International with co-founder M. Cecilia Silva Montoya. They both began networking to raise awareness and collect educational books. He continued to share his well defined vision with others and was able to recruit more members for Soma International. He found co-founder Pranay Bhargava in 2013. Together, they were able to plan and make a step forward in becoming a nonprofit 501(c)(3).

Collectively with the help of other board members – Wanda Price, Joanne Dean and John Byers- they were able to network and find donors to store books, ship the books to Tanzania and to build two learning centers. Thanks to these Board of Directors and donors, Soma International has been able to pick up enough leverage to continue planning further expansions that Mohamed has always dreamed of for his community in Tanzania. For Mohamed, Soma International is like a seed that will grow and multiply for generations to come. It is the concept of giving back to his community.

Today, Mohamed is a graduate student at Virginia Tech focusing on Agricultural Leadership and Community Education. He is scheduled to graduate with a Ph.D in 2022. Besides being a father, husband, student and CEO of Soma international, Mohamed likes to sing and dance in his spare time. He has recorded songs where he sings and raps in Swahili. On weekends, if you are looking for Mohamed, there is a chance you may find him enjoying his time dancing to Latin music with his friends. It helps him ease stress and revitalize his energy. If you have never experienced a smile from Mohamed, it is, in fact, recommended. 

Knowledge is Boundless. Soma International

Written by: M. Cecilia Silva Montoya Edited by: Emily Keshap, Mackenzie Hyde

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