About Mom2Mom Africa in Alison's Words...
In 2006 my friend Jessica H. moved to Tanzania for the better part of a year to volunteer at the Shinda Basic School in Arusha, Tanzania. While at the school, she met Rob Chekwaze, an ecotourism guide.
When Jessica returned to Canada, she helped me organize a pen pal program by putting me in contact with Rob. I realized then that having a contact in Africa, who shared my passion for helping educate those who could not otherwise afford to do so, was an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to take full advantage of. With Rob acting as the Tanzanian half of this initiative, he is able to provide me with all of the information I need to choose students and schools. Being a native Tanzanian, currently living and working in Arusha, he is the best source of information possible.
I am so proud of the Mom2Mom Africa initiative. I never would have imagined a few years ago, that my small fundraisers and book drives would ever culminate into this initiative. Fundraising and researching potential candidates to be sponsored is a lot of work, a huge responsibility, and heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. I wish I could fund all of the children and young adults that Rob Chekwaze has identified as being in need. Perhaps one day!
I am truly grateful to all of my friends and family for supporting this initiative. It is because of them that I am able to do what I do.
- Alison Fraser
About Robert Frank Chekwaze
After finishing high school, I was extremely lucky to find a scholarship to pursue my long held dream of studying at the College of African Wildlife Management (www.mwekawildlife.org), globally recognized as the the best wildlife college in Africa. After graduating, I started working with a research and conservation organization.
Early last year, I decided to begin my own private guided outfit specializing in Mountain expeditions, wildlife safaris, and cultural and historical tours, exclusively in Tanzania. The main reason I decided to start my own tours outfit was to develop a sustainable model of tourism. My goal is to find an intimate and balanced connection between safari adventures, community sustainability, and nature conservation. My clients come with books, pens, balls and other academic materials which are a very rare commodity in remote villages we are visiting during Safari expeditions. It is a way to give back to the community.
- Rob Chekwaze
2006 - I organize a book and school supplies drive during the fall of 2006 to send over to the Shinda Basic School in Arusha, Tanzania where Jessica H. was volunteering.
2008 - Another friend, also named Jessica (Jessica F.), volunteers in Kenya with Free the Children. I organize a book drive and Jessica brings the books with her to distribute.
Spring 2009 - I organize a drive to support the "Project Backpack" initiative being undertaken by DreamKids. We collected close to 30 backpacks filled with school supplies and clothes, which were handed over to Dreamkids and shipped to Tanzania.
Summer 2009 - Teddy Bear Picnic fundraiser:
Funds raised were used to support a school in Kenya that feeds and educates hundreds of children left orphaned by AIDS (Children of Bukati foundation). We were able to feed 200 children at the school for a week.
Summer 2010 - What I Want to be When I Grow Up fundraiser:
Summer 2010 through 2011 - Mom2Mom Africa is launched, and funds are raised to support a total of 11 children and 4 young women.
Summer 2011 - Musical Safari Fundraiser:
Spring 2012 - Fundraising efforts sustain 15 children and 6 young women in their education!
Spring 2012 - Alison Fraser is honoured with a WOW Award for her with Mom2Mom Africa work! View the award interview
Summer 2012 - Mom2Mom Africa officially became a Not For Profit Organization.