This beautiful film was just released! Have a look to learn about projects and communities we are proudly supporting in Tanzania.
Thomson Safaris sponsored a group of Maasai women from several villages in Loliondo to participate in Arusha’s International Women’s Day activities in March.
International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present and future. The events, which are held annually across the world, range from seminars, conferences, and to political rallies and networking events. Women from all over Tanzania gathered for this multi-day conference under the theme of “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”
Over the course of a few days, the Maasai women attended seminars on topics such as domestic violence, entrepreneurship, human rights, HIV/AIDS and Female Genital Cutting (FGC). The seminars not only increased their awareness about these issues relevant to their daily lives, but also supplied the women with strategies and knowledge to work on these issues and to improve their quality of life.
Maasai women rally at International Women's Day
Selling Maasai beadwork
Maasai women attending International Women's Day seminars
The Loliondo women not only enjoyed learning the valuable information covered at the Women’s Day events but also found modern life in Arusha to be a learning experience in itself. Most of these women have never left their remote villages, which made Arusha’s busy streets and crowds, along with things we take for granted, like electricity, an eye-opening experience.
The women intend to share their newly-gained knowledge about women’s rights, violence prevention, and the importance of better access to education for girls with their communities.
Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), our non-profit arm specializing in community-based projects, recently completed the construction of a kitchen with high-efficiency stoves at Robanda Primary School, which is located just outside Serengeti National Park.
Prior to the stove installation, the kitchen staff had to rely on the inefficiency of cooking on an open fire as well as depending on the students to supply bundles of firewood each week.
Yohana Makongo, headmaster at Robanda Primary, told our staff that “thanks to Focus on Tanzanian Communities, the kitchen has been completed and it is wonderful. Our students, teachers, and staff are very excited about using this facility as it will help us very much. Giving students nutritious meals is so critical for learning.”
The benefits of the new kitchen and the stoves are three-fold: food preparation is more efficient, the children can focus on their studies instead of gathering wood and the amount of wood culled from the surrounding area is decreased.
Robanda Kitchen (after)
Robanda Primary (after)
Robanda Primary (after)
Robanda Primary Stoves
Robanda Primary (before)
Read about this and more in The Focus, the annual FoTZC newsletter, due to arrive in supporter’s mailboxes this week. Find out how you can become of FoTZC supporter or donate online.
Environmental responsibility is important to us here at Thomson. You probably already know our safari camps in Tanzania operate with a low impact on the environment – even our office in Boston is powered by solar electricity. (The energy captured by our roof panels over the past two years can operate a television for 238,803 hours!)
We are excited to partner with a like-minded organization, the Green Living Project (GLP), which documents and promotes global sustainability initiatives – like eco-lodging, voluntourism and responsible travel – around the globe.
GLP is hosting a local event on Thursday night, featuring their premiere of their film documenting new sustainability-related projects across Central America and Maine – and we will be there! You can find us raffling off Thomson goodies, enjoying the live music and complementary refreshments, and maybe even shopping for gear at EMS with the discount offered that night only. Stop by and see us!
Location: Eastern Mountain Sports, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
Date: Thursday, January 27th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Michela's parents unveil the plaque on the wall of Michela's Room
Students Singing at the Celebration of the Opening of Michela's Room
Michela's Room - Building Complete!
Michela's family walks into the hall for the first time
Kristen and women dance to celebrate the opening of Michela's Room
Five years ago, high school student, Michela Harriman, was tragically killed in a car accident. In Michela’s honor, her parents, Rick Harriman and Kristen Wainwright, suggested that her friends, classmates, and family donate to our partner organization Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC) in lieu of sending flowers.
This was a fitting tribute in so many ways. Michela had an ebullient spirit and a love for Tanzania, which actually began on a Thomson Safari. By working with FoTZC, Rick and Kristen were not only honoring Michela’s memory but helping fulfill her dream of one day assisting Tanzanian women.
The result of this collaboration was the completion of Phase I of Michela’s Room, a massive dining and community hall at Ganako Secondary School in Karatu. The celebration and dedication was held in the newly completed hall in August – with Michela’s family, community leaders and over 400 Tanzanians in attendance.
Rick Harriman, who has plans for additional phases of Michela’s Room added, “It really was a celebration about community and the future.”
The Board of Directors of our partner organization, Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), recently met and was excited about committing to new projects in Tanzania. They are considering numerous initiatives throughout the northern part of the country, including teacher’s housing and women’s empowerment projects. They are eager to share the news in their upcoming November newsletter. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, learn more about FoTZC.