Excellent Development's former Trusts Fundraising Officer, Tanya D’Souza, visits rural Kenya. She saw first-hand how the support of charitable trusts is transforming lives. This is Tanya’s story.Tanya

"The highlight of my trip was hearing how the hard work of self-help groups is paying off, and how sand dams are improving the lives of future generations."

Tanya D'Souza, Excellent Development's former Trusts Fundraising Officer.

Sand-filtered water

“Visiting Kenya was an incredible opportunity for me to see first-hand the impact that charitable trusts are having on people’s lives through Excellent Development.  What I enjoyed most about the trip was meeting the self-help groups (SHGs) and hearing their stories.

“On our third day in Kenya, I had the chance to visit some of the communities being funded by two of our donors: The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission and The Evan Cornish Foundation. The first SHG we visited was Wasya wa athi, funded by The Evan Cornish Foundation, where we saw a mature sand dam.

This was one of my favourite sand dams. It is a remarkable sight to see the riverbed full of sand - like a beach. One of the group members said to me: ‘You are walking on water!’  He was right and we soon tasted the refreshing water taken straight from the pump by the sand dam, as well as from the scoop holes in the sand.Members of the Wasya wa Athi self-help group, Kenya

A taste of opportunity and hope

“The second SHG we visited was Kithaayoni, funded by The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, who took great pleasure in describing to us the improvements in their lives since building two sand dams with Excellent and Africa Sand Dam Foundation. They had generously cooked us lunch so we could taste for ourselves the crops they can grow now there is a nearby and reliable water supply.

“I loved hearing about their achievements. The eldest woman in the group described how she used to spend all day collecting water from the river. Since building the sand dams, she now only spends 30 minutes. What struck me most was something the Chairman of the group said: As he pointed to his head he told us to look at those born before the 1980’s. They all have lines across the top of their heads - dents from the rope that held the 20kg jerrycans they used to have to carry to bring water home from far away.

“He spoke with joy how those born younger won’t have this and how they are happy their children won’t go through what they did. For me, this was the highlight of the trip - to hear how the hard work of SHGs is paying off, and how sand dams are improving the lives of future generations.

Charitable trusts: transforming lives.

“It has been remarkable to hear from the communities we support the extent to which sand dams are changing their lives and how grateful they are to the funders who have helped make it possible.

“I look forward to sharing the joy of Wsaya wa Athi and Kithaayoni with The Evan Cornish Foundation and The Jersey Overseas Aid Commision, who have so generously enabled Excellent to support these SHGs. They are making an incredible difference to their lives, not just now, but for the many generations to come.”

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