Micato Safaris and America Share
Micato Safaris is an award-winning tour operator focused on destinations in East Africa, Southern Africa and India. Over 20 years ago, Micato founded AmericaShare, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping populations affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nairobi, Kenya. Micato pays 100% of the administrative costs of AmericaShare—so all money donated goes directly to those who need it.
Our Approach AmericaShare seeks to provide disadvantaged children and women in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum with access to basic services and programmes in order to facilitate sustainable change. Our efforts fall into three distinct but interconnected categories: education, community outreach and economic empowerment.
Education Through our School Sponsorship Programme, we’re helping children who might not otherwise be able to afford a quality education. AmericaShare places these vulnerable children in reputable boarding schools with the help of sponsors, underwriting the cost of school fees, tuition, books, uniforms, room and board and all the basic items a student needs.
We’ve found that sponsored children get an emotional boost knowing that someone cares about them, and it provides them with a sense of hope and inspiration they have never had before. Sponsoring a child has a direct impact on his or her life, and it provides them with the best opportunity to get out of the slum and create a better life for themselves.
Micato Safaris guests get an opportunity to see just how much of an impact this programme, and others, are having. Through the Lend a Helping Hand on Safari programme, Micato guests can spend a few hours in Mukuru at the end of their safari. They get a chance to witness everyday life, and see firsthand how a poor African community is improving itself against daunting odds. This is a glimpse of the “real” Africa, and the growing hope there for a brighter tomorrow.
Many Micato guests mark these few hours as the highlight of their trip. In fact, a number of them have sponsored a child because of the time they spent in Mukuru.
Community Outreach With the help of donors, we’re developing programmes that are creating a stronger sense of community…starting with Harambee Centre. This multi-purpose facility—built by Micato Safaris and AmericaShare with the generous donations of Micato travellers—is an oasis of hope for the people of the Mukuru slum. The buildings serve as a community centre, allowing residents to gather for lectures, educational sessions and meetings. Micato Safaris and AmericaShare also drilled a borehole next to Harambee Centre, and it is now one of the few places in Mukuru with a regular supply of fresh water.
We also partner with organizations to provide HIV/AIDS education as well as job and life skills training. One example is an ambitious initiative called The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation (HIV-Free). Coordinated by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), our partners in this public-private initiative include some paragons of corporate philanthropy: The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, Warner Brothers, Microsoft, Nike Foundation, Intel, Girls Scouts of the USA, Junior Achievement and Rotarians for Fighting AIDS among many others. The purpose of this alliance is to expand HIV prevention programs across countries that are severely impacted by the disease, with the goal of reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS and improving the health status of youth in the coming years. By promoting positive behavior change, linking young people to economic opportunities and building gender equality, HIV-Free works to inspire and empower youth to live healthy and productive lives.
Economic Empowerment In addition to working with a local microfinance organization to secure loans for small businesses, AmericaShare partners with several cooperatives to give the residents of Mukuru more economic opportunities.
For example, AmericaShare has helped organize a cooperative of women who make and sell handicrafts. The proceeds help the women support their families and provide much-needed services to many people in the village living with HIV/AIDS and its effects. In fact, some of the women have been trained and licensed to provide home-based care to those with the virus. Through the cooperative, these women are not only creating a better life for their families but for the community as well. Groups like this are growing and making a significant difference in Mukuru.
To learn more about AmericaShare, or to find out how you can help, please visit www.AmericaShare.org or call 212-545-7125.