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As a tourist to Tanzania, at some point during your visit, you will be asked to sponsor someone. This is a request, usually, for help with fees for education. If you’re in a financial position to help, please do. It’s a shame that so many Tanzanians with potential are not able to pursue education due lack of funds.

I responded to this request on my first visit in 2010. The girl I sponsored was 14 then, and now at 21 has a career in the hospitality industry. If you decide that you want to help someone, make sure you’re committed for several years. This includes tuition, books, uniforms, field trips, graduation fees, as well as a bit of spending money. Of course, you want to do your due diligence, which includes communication with the school.

The motivation for me to build Sakila Sunrise Lodge was to support the local community economically by providing jobs, introducing our guests to this beautiful area bordering the forest reserve of Meru and Arusha National Park, and prove that it could be done sustainably with solar power, rain water harvesting and recycling used water, as well as relying on local suppliers for everything from bamboo that we used in construction to the beautiful craftsmanship of local furniture makers.

Our profits are earmarked for the Mama Sakila Trust to guarantee that I will be able to continue my support of Tanzania and Tanzanians for many years to come. So, please, do help if you can. Best to know who you are helping. The satisfaction you receive from knowing that you have helped someone have a future will be well worth it.