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Danielle Saunders

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Every journey begins with a single step… ours started 4000 miles apart.

I was raised in inner city Birmingham, UK and had always loved big city life. But after working in marketing and being surrounded by commercialism I always felt as though there was more to life than chasing money. Those lingering doubts accumulated in a spur of the moment decision to quit my job and book a last minute trip to Kenya, in search of a purpose.

I ended up in a tiny fishing on the Kenyan coast called Malindi. I stayed with my host, Tina Ochsner. Tina had been raised in Kenya and so had witnessed first-hand the effects of poverty and the daily struggles that go along with it.

We hit of immediately and despite our very different upbringings, found that we had a lot in common. Tina introduced me to local people who were the source of her inspiration, incredible people who were quietly fighting adversity, purely because they saw it as their duty to help those in need.

Although these people were not short of passion, kindness or commitment, they often lacked the resources or knowledge to propel their social mission. What they needed was skilled individuals to help them along. And so the spark was lit!

Tina and I began to do our research and found there was no shortage of people from the West who were eager to help African communities in need. The problem was that these individuals tended to end up in projects with little social impact. Projects were being created to fulfill the demand of volunteers, rather than to help the communities they were based in. Volunteering had become a commercial business.

So we set out to do things differently, vowing to always put the needs of the community above all else. We quickly learned that in order to add genuine value to the host community, we had to understand what the volunteer has to offer and find a way to use this to its full advantage.

Wewere inspired by the spirit of the Onaris Tribe and decided to name the organisation after this legend, to remind ourselves every day of the value that comes from helping others.

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