The secret of success behind every flourishing business is the people. With over 70 staff members, Shanga has always invested heavily in people and believes in giving people who are disadvantaged an opportunity to prove to themselves and to others, what they can achieve. Whilst our priority is to employ people with disabilities, and we are very proud to have nearly 50 disabled staff working with us, we have also partnered with a local education centre to give internship and employment opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Kituo Cha Elimu Meserani (Meserani Education Centre or KCEM) is a fantastic organization on the outskirts of Arusha which provides free education and training to disadvantaged people. Many of the people who attend the centre come from extreme poverty and have not had the chance to go to school, learn important skills or find employment. The Centre offers free academic and vocational courses to give people skills which will help them in everyday life. As well as providing courses in English, Computers, Tailoring and Kiswahili, the Centre has an active Work Experience Programme which helps graduating students make the next step into full-time employment.
Since 2014, Shanga has partnered with KCEM to offer work experience placements to 10 students and counting. Everyone who has won a place at Shanga has completed courses in English and Computers and has had a keen desire to learn, work hard and achieve. The students spend time in key departments at Shanga, learning new skills from tour guiding, shop sales, stores assistance and even beading and metal work!
So far, five former KCEM students have been offered full time positions at Shanga and have been a credit to the Centre as well as an incredible asset to Shanga.
Dotto, a 24 year old from Mwanza, travelled all the way to Arusha to access the free education offered by KCEM to give him a new start in life after finishing his schooling in Form 4 (O levels) and struggling to find work. His initial placement in the Guiding department with Shanga wasn’t a good fit, but his organization skills and hard working attitude made him the ideal candidate for a Stores position. Within months he was promoted to Stores Manager and continues to run the complex stores operations with unwavering attention to detail and energy. “I really enjoy the day to day challenges of working at Shanga and being part of the Shanga family” Says Dotto. The job has not only given him independence for the first time, he is also able to help his parents and support his younger brother and sister with school fees.
Martha was the unfortunate victim of a snake bite and travelled more than 1000km to access free medical treatment from Merserani Snake Park Clinic after being unable to afford treatment anywhere else. Whilst in recovery at the clinic, she was encouraged to join the Centre and study. Due to her injuries, Martha finds walking and standing for long periods painful which meant finding work was difficult. She asked for a job at Shanga and was taken on in the Aluminum Department. Her skills in English meant she was able to talk to guests during the tours and was soon trained in delivering full tours for guests and assisting with shop sales. We’re really happy to have Martha as part of the team and it has given confidence to other workshop staff who never believed they could do more than manual work.
Shanga is looking forward to a continuing partnership with KCEM and appreciates the valuable work they are doing to support people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Centre is mostly funded by UK charity LivLife who believe in giving people a hand-up not a hand-out to support sustainable development which fits perfectly with our ethos. To donate to the work of LivLife and KCEM visit their website ww.livlife.org.