THE IMPETUS BEHIND SHAMWARI
Our Philosophy and Goals
Shamwari: A Shona word (African language), meaning ‘friend’.
Shamwari Village was founded in 2016 as Lace, Grace and Gears (LGG). At the time, LGG was an annual motorcycle rally for female motorcyclists. The rally brought together women from all over the country and set the standard for other similar rallies that have since been established in states including Texas and Colorado.
LGG was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2019 and celebrated and promoted the strong bonds that come with the sisterhood of female motorcyclists. Each LGG rally selected beneficiaries with a focus on women and children. In three years, the rally donated more than $37,000 to these organizations.
The idea to build Shamwari was born in 2018. There has been extensive research and background work done on concept development. In 2021 a decision was made to change the name of the nonprofit to Shamwari Village and to make the LGG rally one of two major Shamwari fundraising events.
The name change from Lace, Grace and Gears to Shamwari Village was approved by the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Going Forward: Shamwari’s initial three-year-plan includes three main components:
Acquisition of land: Our development plans show that 60+ acres of land will allow for the development of Phase I and Phase II. We plan to build 60 residential units in each phase, with a community center, playground, medical center, counseling center, work skills development building, therapeutic equestrian facilities, community garden, child development center, parks, and more.
Establishment of community partners: We do not believe in the duplication of efforts and as such, we are looking to partner with strong nonprofits who are leaders in their fields. These include organizations that provide mental health services, workforce development services, addiction specialists, health, and nutrition services, and more.
Fundraising: We will embark on a vigorous capital campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase land and secure all the required permitting ahead of breaking ground. Once this is achieved, we will implement a unique fundraising program that will raise money for each component of the village.
We believe that every woman going through personal challenges brought about by unexpected traumatic developments, mental health diagnoses, and addiction deserves a safe, secure environment in which to heal.
We believe in a holistic approach: treat the mind, body, and spirit simultaneously.
We believe in time being the greatest ally when it comes to healing. A 30- or 60-day approach to 'get their act together' is unrealistic and short-sighted. This approach is akin to sending home a cancer patient with a bag of chemo or a diabetic with a few vials of insulin and a message to 'get better on your own'.
We believe that homeless female veterans and young women with mental health and addiction challenges have unique challenges.
We believe that a village community will provide a sanctuary for a full recovery.
Phase I: Build a village for 60 young women. Shamwari will provide an opportunity for these women to regain their dignity and sense of purpose. Without a looming 30- or 90-day deadline to ‘get their act together’, Shamwari will be a welcoming community where veterans will stay for as long as it takes to find gainful employment, deal with mental health and/or addiction challenges, and re-enter society as whole women.
Phase II: Build an extension of the village to include another 60 homes, this time for non-veteran women challenged with anxiety disorders that have led to addiction. Shamwari will provide a specialized dual diagnosis program that will address both anxiety and addiction simultaneously. These women will take advantage of other programs at Shamwari including financial management classes; work skills development; parenting classes and more. No pressure will be put on these women to ‘get their act together’ in 30 or 60 days. They will stay at Shamwari until their team of health care professionals helps them transition to a successful independent living arrangement.
Make Shamwari a model that can be replicated: Thousands of women across the country can gain considerably from the benefits of the Shamwari village/community concept. Think of women trapped in abusive and/or domestic violence situations, young girls aging out of the foster care system, or single mothers. Villages based on the Shamwari model can restore the lives of women so that they find peace, healing, and purpose in a safe and secure environment.