Written by: John Mitchler
ZARA Charity (ZCO) is a registered non-profit organization that harnesses the power of tourism in Tanzania to help sustain and empower local people through grounded community based initiatives.
The charity believes firmly in the ethos of responsible and sustainable tourism that can create better communities in Tanzania and a better Tanzania to visit. The organization accomplishes that by supporting local communities through projects that provide lasting supportive solutions to local problems.
Zara Charity works as a part of the global movement to ‘give back’ and by reaching out to our network of travel industry partners, organizations, travelers, and global citizens who are interested in contributing and collaborating in locally focused sustainable tourism projects.
According to the officials of the organization; they take a serious approach to ensuring that tourism in Tanzania also benefits those who are unable to reap its direct benefits, by helping to bring donations, opportunities, and solutions to the regions in which we run our tours and set-up our properties. That is why 10 percent of the profits from Zara Tours go directly to our social, economic, and environmental initiatives.
The charity in collaboration with help from their supporters, has used several tools to support and sustain local communities including dealing with alternative sources of income by providing employment for local people, establishing the Mount Kilimanjaro Porter's Society which is a regulating body that ensures the rights, safety and well-being of the porters summiting the famous Kilimanjaro mountain, raising awareness and dealing with health concerns, supporting education initiatives, tackling environmental obstacles by creating customized, long-term solutions in the communities we operate in and working closely with women and children in order to improve their economic, social, education, and political conditions. Zara Charity has hosted events and workshops geared primarily to women; including raising awareness about the plight Massai women face as well as collecting funds that will be donated directly to the various women’s groups we support including the Maasai Women’s Project.
FOUNDED BY ZAINAB
Zainab Ansell, founder and managing Director of the ZARA Tanzania Adventures and Zara Charity explained that in the year 2016, ZCO has supported several charity projects including the completion of the Maasai Pre-School dormitory at Endulen ward, located in Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), the location of the famous ‘Ngorongoro Crater’.
“Also, in the year 2016 Zara Charity will sponsors the two-week long Trainings on mountain climbing and financial management to the 98-mountain guides who are members of the Kili-Meru Mountain Guides Society (KMMGS) so that they can become good service provider to the tourists by improving their professionalism for sustainable tourism.” Ms. Ansell explained. She added that,” Intensive training courses are offered during the rainy seasons of each year, including classes on mountain safety and basic first aid.”
According to Ms. Ansell, Zara Charity also sponsors the education to the marginalized society through the Maasai Women project to provide educational opportunities to empower Maasai land girls and women. “The aim of this project is to encourage the Maasai children to attend to school by making sure that both Maasai girls and boys attend school whereby Zara Charity offers them school facilities and necessities such as, Exercise books, School uniforms, School fees, Shoes, Pen, Pencil and ruler, as well as Caution money for every pupils and students, which costs a total of 250 USD per student.…” Ms. Zainab Ansell further explained. In the year 2016, they have already completed the construction of the dormitory at Maasai Pre-School in Endulen ward, within NCAA with 36 pupils and they are planning to do the same at Isirwa where they have constructed the same Maasai Pre-school for Maasai kids with 47 pupils.
“This year, we have sponsored a Maasai women hand craft project at Karatu and Ngorongoro areas where they are making hand crafts ornaments and other items and selling them to the tourists and non-tourists, thus earning money to become autonomous…” she further enlightened.
Recently, ZARA Tanzania Adventures reached 30 years of providing high quality services in tourism sector in Tanzania by organizing wild park safaris all over Tanzania mainland and in the Isles (Zanzibar) as well as organizing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Meru expeditions.
Sheer determination to succeed made Zainab Ansell the woman she is today, a successful businesswoman and with awards to show her amazing contributions. Earlier this year she received an award for Business Entrepreneur of the year for running a successful tour operating company, managing 250 employees.
Born in Hedaru, Same district, Kilimanjaro region, Zainab Ansell began as an employee of the then national air carrier, Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) in 1984 in the Air ticketing department. The Tanzania national air carrier has now collapsed economically!
Just two years into her employment, Ms. Ansell who was born in 1959 decided to quit her job and started to become a small women entrepreneur.
Today, just 30 years after deciding to quit her job at ATC and employ herself, Ms. Zainab Ansell has no regrets, instead she has something to proud of as she is now owns a very giant tourism company with more than 9000 employees! She has received many awards for her creativity and innovation in tourism industry in Tanzania and abroad. Some of the awards she has received included; World tourism award in London in 2011, and Best Women Entrepreneurship Award by the Frontline company, based in Dar es Salaam. Her business continues to expand as the days goes on as she is now own a very large tourism company, ZARA Tanzania Adventures owns five hotels with more than 9,000 employees in total! Explaining how she started her business, Ms. Ansell explained that, when she was working with ATC, in 1986 she had an ambition and dreams of owning her own Mt. Kilimanjaro tourism company.
‘Women should not have to justify why they want to open a business and not stay at home, societies and families need to understand that this will benefit communities, and will help them lift out of poverty.’ She advised.
Commenting on the ‘spirit of giving back’ to the community as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro protection and conservation, Ansell explained that, she has established a charity organization called ‘Zara Charity’ with the aim of helping the needy in the community.
WHAT SETS US APART
We are an established Tour Operator founded by an exemplary women entrepreneur – Zainab Ansell - from the Tanzania area who has historically been concerned about the impact of our tours and activities in her home country. As the largest business sector in the world economy and in Tanzania’s economic development, tourism if properly planned and managed has the potential to become a formidable tool for alleviating social, economic, and environmental issues and stimulating growth particularly in developing countries like Tanzania. This is a fact recognized early on by Zara Charity where we recognized our responsibility to develop and operate in a manner that makes a positive contribution to the natural, social and cultural environment.
We have been able to harness the power that tourism wields with the contributions of global citizens who have been mesmerized by the landscape, the wildlife, the energy, the people and vibrant cultures that Tanzania has to offer and we will continue to operate in ways that reduce environmental impacts, benefit local communities, safeguard the future livelihood of local people, and ensure the protection of Tanzania as a sought after destination for future generations.
Zainab Ansell and Zara Tours’ philanthropic efforts were finally cemented in 2009, with the founding of Zara Charity under non-government organization act 2002 section 12(2) of act no.24. Owner and founder Zainab Ansell has historically been socially conscious about the impacts of Tourism in Tanzania and has developed her business around sustainable employment practices and charitable giving.
From its inception in 1987, Zara Tours has used its position as an employer to give back to the community from which it was founded and to help those within it that are struggling. The company has been instrumental in helping many organizations, such as the Mwema Street Children, the Kilimanjaro Foundation School, and the Mandela School, find sponsors to help fund their operations. Additionally, regular work is conducted with the Huruma Women’s Group and other women within the Maasai villages in Karatu and Eyasi to facilitate education and small business ownership as a means to rise above their restricted positions in their communities. Health awareness projects are also on the long-term agenda for Zara Charity with their involvement and management of the annual Ngorongoro Marathon a Malaria awareness and fund raising initiative held in Karatu.
Zara Charity will continue to support and convey a positive impression of Tourism in Tanzania, both locally and for the global market whilst utilizing its powerful reach to ensure that long-term positive contributions and solutions benefit and sustain the communities that we are in.