Wednesday 27 April 2016

Rutendo Nyatsine (left) and Pamela Basikiti. Founders of Ekhaya charity

When Pamela Basikiti signed up to volunteer in Kenya, little did she know it would be the trip that would transform two lives – including her own.

The University of Northampton Law undergraduate spent six weeks on the Balloon Kenya volunteering programme in summer 2015, coaching an 18-year-old man from a disadvantaged community, who wanted to start his own business.

“He enjoyed baking and wanted to sell his products, but needed support to realise his dream,” said Pamela.

“We helped him road-test his recipes, source bakeries and to understand the business processes. He started with absolutely nothing, and now he’s running his own business – he’s turned his life around and it was a great feeling to know I played a part in that.

“That confirmed this was something I wanted to do with my life: to help people transform their lives for the better.”

Due to graduate this summer, Pamela is now embarking on the next chapter of her life – launching her very own charity.

Founded with with fellow Zimbabwean, Rutendo Nyatsine, the Ekhaya charity aims to provide young people in remote villages in Zimbabwe and other African countries with the skills they need to be self-sufficient for life, in collaboration with students from the University.

Launched in April, the Northampton-based charity is now seeking eight volunteers aged 18 and over, who would like to receive training on delivering business workshops – and then jet to Zimbabwe for two weeks in August to help young people devise and develop their business ambitions.

“I hope we can attract some students from the University to take part,” said Pamela, who moved to the UK with her family from Zimbabwe, aged seven.

“This will give people the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of those who need a helping hand, while also providing the volunteers with new skills.

“Hopefully, their experiences of volunteering will have a similar impact on them, as it did on me.”

Pamela and Rutendo have ambitious plans for Ekhaya, which they hope will eventually operate in other African countries, and have its own skills headquarters in Zimbabwe.

To find out more, visit the charity’s website.

Pamela is pictured right, with Ekhaya co-founder, Rutendo Nyatsine.

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