Aside from the ahievements of the year, summarized below, the big news is that The Chole Mjini Trust Fund (see www.choletrust.org) is now a fully functional UK charity, thereby ensuring the sustainability of our collective efforts to help the people of Chole help their children to build a better future. The Trust is under the very capable stewardship of a Board of Trustees, all of whom are major donors to the Trust and long-time staunch supporters of Chole development initiatives, and ably chaired by Mr. Robin Cooke-Hurle.
Anne and I have decided to take a break from managing Chole Mjini and have chosen Sanctuary Tanzania Ltd., trading as AfrikaAfrika Safaris (more on this below), to manage the lodge for the foreseeable future. The CEO, Dr. Rob Barbour, is Anne's cousin and - having initially commuted between Papau New Guinea and Chole for almost two years to help us set up the Chole Medical Centre and train staff - is no stranger to Chole. He and his wife, Jackie, are held in high esteem by the island community. That said, we remain very involved in and committed to the work of the Trust. Anne is also very involved as a consultant to a project that is seeking to improve English Language Training and ICT in secondary schools throughout Tanzania. I am renovating ruins on Chole, putting more effort into Whale Shark conservation and hoping to transplant some corals, so you will still find us often on, or near, Chole.
The 2010 annual report of the Harambee Committee, the Chole village stakeholder group that administers the funds raised by the Trust, is now available. If you want a copy, please email Robin (email@example.com), Anne (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jean (email@example.com).
To summarize the major achievements of the past year in brief:
1) In 2010 the Trust raised and administered GBP21,344.78. This supplemented funds that still came in from the Tribes Trust before March. The total, which converted to Tsh48 million, was passed on to the Harambee Committee and used by them to run the Chole kindergarten (attended by all the pre-primary children of Chole of an eligible age), the Chole Learning Centre (where English and computer training is conducted) and support for 67 Chole kids in high schools and 4 in University. We are proud to report that less than 5% of the 2010 raised funds was spent on administration.
2) The combined persuasive powers of Robin, Anne and I also led to an exciting new partnership with Solar Aid, a UK-based charity, who have made Chole their 'solar island'. Solar Aid has installed 300W photovoltaic systems in the Chole Learning Centre, Chole Hospital and Chole Market. Through a local agent, they have also sold small photovoltaic lighting packs at heavily subsidized prices to many Chole households.
3) Note that the funds raised by the Trust do not include the US$10 per guest/per night levy. This is still paid directly by the lodge to Choleans who administer their own community projects - currently the teachers' housing and new classrooms at the Chole Primary School enjoy priority, as well as Small Business Loans. It also does not include the approximately US$5000 raised from day-visitor ticket sales; this money goes directly towards the conservation of ruins on Chole, and good governance.
4) The Trust is continuing to expand its support for Choleans seeking secondary and tertiary education. In 2011 it has a budget of almost GBP33,000 (approx. Tsh53,000,000) to help 68 high school students with scholarships and 7 university students. We are thrilled that this year we are likely to have our very first Chole-born and -raised university graduate, assisted by our joint efforts over the past decade.
Having painted the current picture in broad strokes, it must be said that the Trust needs your support! More income would enable the Harambee Committee to increase the scholarships given, and provide more support to the children attending high schools on nearby Mafia Island and elsewhere. Ideally we would for instance like to find a donor or donors who can help us build a hostel for the young girls who are attending high school on Mafia Island. Once built, the hostel will be run by the parents.
If you are at all interested in assisting us with this, or any of our other projects, please visit www.choletrust.org, or do not hesitate to contact us.
Finally, we extend a warm welcome to AfrikaAfrika Safaris. Their company, Sanctuary Tanzania Ltd., has fabulous camps in very remote areas of Tanzania: in Lamai on the Mara River, in Ruaha and near Sadani. All of them have a very similar ethos, including development help to their neighbouring villages, which is why we chose one another. We look forward to new initiatives and support for existing projects on Chole, and thank all our donors past and present for helping the people of Chole help their children break the shackles of poverty.