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The Tongole Foundation Appeal 2017 Posted on: Friday, October 20, 2017

The Tongole Foundation at Nkhotakota in Malawi officially launched in 2010 but began its journey in 2007. Driven by founders David Cole and Bentry Kalanga, it has changed lives, provided employment and educated hundreds of children across the past 10 years. The Tongole Foundation is now reaching out for supporters and donations. Read the heart-warming story of the Tongole journey, from then to now, by David Cole:

 
Both my daughter Louise and myself have just returned from Malawi after overviewing our projects. In addition we went with a film crew to shoot a new video which again will be narrated by Clare Balding, this will be announced when completed.

Believe it or not 10 years have passed by since the tragic accident that killed Vitu, my youngest daughter’s boyfriend which occurred on 31st January 2007 in Hawkhurst. After this dreadful event Bentry, Vitu’s Dad, David Gridley and I decided to found The Tongole projects in memory of this bright young man who was here in the U.K. on his way to becoming a Doctor amongst other things.

With recent events such as elections, Brexit now in motion and of course the horrific events happening all around us so frequently on our doorstep, it's easy to forget the other big issues in the World that we can actually have an influence over and change!

As a supporter or friend of The Tongole Foundation, we like to write out on occasion to update you with the progress & challenges we face in little Malawi in Southern Africa where their everyday life is a big challenge which is why we continue to try and impact & help the children through education which in turn WILL eventually impact their lives in a positive way. This education also incorporates wildlife and environmental education which in turn helps protect the wildlife for us all to enjoy.

You may recall that we started this project back in 2007 with a holistic approach starting with children's education, which is challenging itself due to very poor, if any, school buildings, to give them a chance in a career ideally through the hospitality and service sector but there was no place to work even if they did achieve good education. 

We therefore built Tongole Wilderness Lodge & about to open Kachenga Bush camp which are both eco-friendly and sustainable and these do and will create the jobs they so desperately need as there's 95% unemployment throughout Malawi! Can you imagine that?

With the completion of a more basic facility within the same reserve which was originally a scout camp, and our original base camp when we started the project, thanks to a few volunteers from U.K, this is now complete and will enable more volunteers the chance to come and help restore school blocks from 2018, something you may be interested in as an experience and a feeling that we can all make a difference?

When we created the Tongole Foundation we made a conscious decision to keep it small, controlled and focussed and this we have achieved which makes us very cost efficient indeed.

As many of you know our focus was & continues to be educate the children in the area we operate via either repairing their very run down schools or building new blocks when we can afford it and our terms are that wildlife protection and education must be part of the deal helping educate against poaching and respect for Africa's wildlife.

5 years ago, we were approached by an organisation called African Parks who asked us whether we would have any objection to them taking over the management of the reserve, frankly this was a massive relief as the Government has no money and poaching was out of hand amongst many other issues. Finally after much negotiation they took over the management of our reserve, namely Nkhotakota, and you may have read in the national press that last year the largest EVER relocation of elephants began to take place concluding this year with a total of 500 elephants, including many other species, being transferred to Nkhotakota and Prince Harry himself spent several weeks, hands on, helping this translocation. Read more about the 500 elephants translocation! 

Some 3 years ago we embarked on building a brand new school from scratch at the total cost of some £200,000 of which 2/3rds have been achieved and 2/3rds been constructed but this year has been the hardest year to date from a fund raising perspective.

However our efforts have been rewarded as we are now educating a further 4-500 children in Chillimani School but we really want to get this job done and as you know we are not the kind of people who give up when the going gets tough!

This is not simply a charity that raises money as even the children and the communities have also dug foundations, helped by way of brick making and the breaking up of quarry stone, a very tough job, for foundations but we now need cement, timber, blocks and reinforcement materials plus builders to complete the construction, when construction starts the ladies of the community bring the 100’s of buckets of water needed daily from the bore hole to the build site! Can you imagine doing that all day in the scorching hot Sun?

The good news is that this year St. James's Place have continued to match every £1 we raise which means that if we can raise £33,000 SJP will give us a further £33,000 and we can then complete this project!

What we can assure you of is that EVERY single pound of this appeal will go to the cause as we have monthly donations created from our £3 per month appeal, some pay more of course, which cover our very low cost base as all we need is around £1000 per month to cover two Malawians salaries, our motor bike costs and Mobile phone bills, all office space and admin is donated by other business’s, sometimes it's not just money that helps! Well they do it and never complain!

  Our project success has,

·  Put young children into safe schools.
·  Explained the benefits of wildlife protection.
·  Massively reduced poaching as we have delivered our promise.
·  Created micro business through the chicken project enabling parents to save the few pennies they earn from egg sales to pay for secondary education.
·   Created a meal a day growing program to help feed the children who sometimes only get one small meal a day if they are lucky.
·  Empowered young girls as we have now built toilets in each of our 3 schools enabling them to continue with their education when they reach a certain age.

To conclude if you believe in children and their future and the protection of wildlife and their environment then The Tongole Foundation IS worth supporting by either one off donations OR monthly standing order from £3 per month!

For a refresher please feel free to go to our website and watch the Clare Balding narrated video, by the way we are currently recording an updated version again with Clare.

I hope we haven't offended you or annoyed you by writing, this is not our intention but we do need your help!

Yours sincerely,

The Tongole Foundation
 

 




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