"If you’re not familiar with the Micato One for One Commitment, the concept is simple. For every safari we sell, we pay the necessary fees to send an African child to school—a child who would otherwise stay home due to extreme poverty.
A staggering 62,000 children in the Mukuru slum, ranging in age from six to sixteen, cannot attend school on a consistent basis. In principle, primary education is free in Kenya, but in reality there are burdensome fees involved. Families are expected to pay for their child’s desk, uniforms, books, supplies, and term exams, as well as help cover the costs of firewood and salaries for lunch cooks. In short, much more than families living in extreme poverty could ever hope to afford. So children stay home.
During the summer of 2009, my husband Dennis Pinto and I were visiting the government primary school very near the Micato AmericaShare Community Centre in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum, out of which we operate our community-based service programmes. We were awed by the destitute condition of the school, and equally awed by the dedication and devotion of its teachers and students. There and then, we committed to helping the school in any way possible. We started by committing to rebuild the school’s library with a donation of one thousand books, while creating yet another library at our nearby community centre for the students to use as well. But we knew that we needed to do more.
A few months later, Dennis and I heard TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie speak about his company’s One for One initiative, which gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. As Blake spoke, inspiration fused with ability and by lunchtime Dennis and I were mapping out the details of the Micato One for One Commitment.
Joy Phelan-Pinto with beneficiaries of Micato's One for One Commitment
The Future is Bright
Our One for One program is managed out of the Micato AmericaShare community centre in Mukuru, and our people work closely with the principal of the local school to identify the neediest students whose families cannot afford to keep their children in school. And that’s where Micato takes over. We have proudly paid school fees for thousands of Mukuru students to attend school on a regular basis, and look forward to sending thousands more to school in the years to come. Every child deserves an education. We’re overjoyed to be contributing to this inalienable right."
- Joy Phelan-Pinto, executive director of Micato Safaris, oversees the tour operator’s editorial and brand strategy.
Here's to a year of giving back!
Happy New Year,
-the JG Black Book team