The founders of Ngoko Safaris, Benson Siyawareva and Fiona Thompson, have a long held desire to make a difference to marginalised communities in Zimbabwe. In order to achieve our aims, we established the Ngoko Charitable Trust, a registered charity in the UK (Registered Charity Number 1163965). Our vision is to improve the lives of the under-privileged and vulnerable in society through the provision of education, adult literacy, vocational training and medical facilities. Through education we can enlighten the community about conservation issues in order to ensure future generations become responsible custodians of the environment and wildlife.
In 2014 we established a school / community project in the Intabayengwe Village just outside Victoria Falls. For many years this community has survived by cattle raising and limited subsistence farming. The village is situated adjacent to the Zambezi National Park and Jafuta Forest area so human-wildlife conflict is rife. Education opportunities were poor and kids often dropped out of school.
With the support of the community we initially constructed a simple open structure which operated as a pre-school. As funds became available we built a proper classroom block for pre-school and now have two double classroom blocks for Grades 1 – 3. In May 2016 Lesedi Primary School received official recognition as a registered school by the Ministry of Education. Our plan is to expand the school each year so that we take our original pre-school kids right through Primary School (Grades 1 – 7).
Educational opportunities are extended to the rest of the community, with the provision of adult literacy classes and vocational training.
We have organised a mobile clinic for the community, where there is a high incidence of HIV and AIDS. The nearest public clinic is at Chisuma, 28km from the village, and transport costs are unaffordable for most of the community. A community nurse now operates a mobile clinic from the pre-school on a regular basis. In due course the project aims to build a separate fully equipped clinic on site.
The community has been heavily involved in this project from the start to ensure they are fully invested in the scheme. Elected members of the community are part of the school advisory council and are responsible for day to day decision-making at the school.
For regular updates, please also visit our Facebook page, Ngoko Community Project.
For more detailed information, please download the Trustees’ Annual Report & Accounts for year ending 31 December 2016: