While we strive to showcase the best of the continent, the social and economic dichotomies that exist are unavoidable features of any travel experience in Africa. Over time, our tours and travel encounters have put us in touch with people whose lives could be vastly improved with a little help. As a small company we do not have the capacity to take on large, financially heavy projects; however, we can change the lives of a few individuals who may then change the lives of a few more…
When you book a trip with Active Africa, 1.5% of your trip fee is donated to our NGOMSO project. ‘Ngomso’ is the Xhosa word for ‘tomorrow’ and by assisting the selected beneficiaries, we aim to enhance their futures in positive ways. Active Africa travellers have the option to select the beneficiaries to whom the donation from their booking should go. We are committed to all of our beneficiaries so everyone will receive the required assistance, but we would like all of our travellers to arrive in Africa with the knowledge that their trip with us is making a difference to an individual life in some small way.
Rwanda, 1994: At the age of 10, Grace Uwamahoro made a decision that would change her life and save that of an infant destined to become yet another victim of the genocide. Best described in her own words, this is Grace’s story: My name is Uwamahoro Grace, I was born in Gisozi. I was raised by my grandmother. We had normal life until the Genocide began. Killings were taking place. I was terrified that we might be killed as well. I could not even eat. My family would tell me, “You must eat”. And I would say, “How can I eat, “when our neighbours are being killed?” “My friends I used to play with have been killed.” They told us to take what we could and flee. And we fled. As we walked along a path, I heard a woman moaning in pain. I told my grandmother, “There is a woman moaning in pain. “She has been hacked and there is a baby by her side. “And her baby is still breastfeeding.” She had been cut with a machete on the forehead, at the back of the head, on her arms and one leg. Once I reached her, she said, please do me a favour and take my baby. “With God’s help, you might survive.” So I took her. I was carrying her on my back in her mother’s blood-stained cloth. Then someone from my family said “the killers might come for us because you have a Tutsi baby.” They would tell me that the baby would bring misfortune on us.” I said, “Let me keep just going. If I have to die for this baby I will.” We named her Uwase Vanessa. We raised her. Sometimes, other kids would tell her that we were not related. When she was in third or fourth grade, she asked me about it, and I told her, “It’s true. I am both your mother and sister.”
Grace is now in her 30s and married with two children. She runs a small stall selling vegetables in a large Kigali market, a job she took on at 12 years old to support herself and Vanessa. Following the birth of her second child, Grace had plans to expand her business to become a wholesaler to other vegetable vendors. The Ngomso fund assisted her with a step-by-step injection to increase her business. Today Grace is a wholesaler and is supporting her family with her income.