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Building a sustainable future in Tsavo

Behind the rugged beauty of Tsavo lies a tale of two halves. The small East African village is home to some of the world's most beautiful species, while also severely impacted by drought.

Robert Walters has a long-term partnership with the Global Angels Foundation to support the Itinyi Valley in Tsavo, working with the local community to bring water to the region, build essential infrastructure, develop sustainable farming and business models and open education and learning pathways for the community.

Every year, Robert Walters employee volunteers travel to Tsavo as part of the Global Angels Foundation project in Kenya. Cheryl Cheung, a talent acquisition manager for South East Asia, was one of our volunteers, who joined the company the same year that our partnership with Global Angels began in 2017.

“I’ve always wanted to contribute and do more on my part in supporting disadvantaged communities,” said Cheryl. “When I learnt about the Robert Walters partnership with the Global Angels Foundation, I found it very meaningful. I wanted to be part of it and had raised my hand up every year to volunteer. 2022 was my lucky year to be chosen to go to Kenya.” 

Long-term sustainable development

Robert Walters supports Global Angels and the people of Tsavo all year round through activities such as the Robert Walters Walks to Kenya fundraiser, but nothing prepared Cheryl for her experience in Africa. "The projects the Global Angels Foundation are undertaking to help disadvantaged families in the community is absolutely inspiring and puts everything into perspective,” she said. As a Group, our goal in Tsavo is to continue empowering the local community through long-term sustainable development projects to help them build a sustainable future out of poverty.”

By sharing their unique experiences with family, friends and colleagues, our volunteers have helped to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the Tsavo community and to encourage fundraising for the Global Angels Foundation. Cheryl believes that the opportunity to be immersed in the day-to-day lives of locals in Tsavo gives the world a true view of the challenges that the community faces. “Everything in life is all about perspectives. To witness the degree of poverty and hardship in the Itinyi Valley in Tsavo was a very humbling experience.”

Seeing the reality

Cheryl further reflected on her volunteer experience in a LinkedIn post and detailed her first impressions of the challenges the community faces. “I’ve shared several pictures and videos on my Instagram story feeds which may seem like they were viewed from the lens of a tourist,” she said. “The truth is that sometimes social media feeds can be misleading. I’m here in Kenya through the Robert Walters partnership with our global charity partner the Global Angels Foundation, to support the Itinyi Valley community in Tsavo. It’s one of the country’s driest regions with extreme poverty and limited access to clean water and proper nutrition.”

The heart-breaking reality that women and children do not have access to basic needs such as food, water and education continues to drive our passion as a business to collaborate with the Tsavo community and Global Angels to eradicate poverty through sustainable solutions. 

Empowering the community

Cheryl also saw first-hand the value of collaboration and a community-led approach.  “I learnt about the issues facing the local community and the sustainable methods adopted by the Global Angels farm.” she said. Our volunteers actively participate in the projects during their visit. “I dug and shovelled soil to create swales, filled in gullies with backfills and filled grow bags in shade houses,” Cheryl continued. “I made bricks, planted trees, built fences, visited the preschool, visited local families and distributed clean water from jerry cans to them.”

Our approach helps the community to build organic food security solutions that can be replicated in other parts of the world that face similar challenges. “My hope is for the community to be able to learn more and continue to benefit from the sustainable methods adopted by the Global Angels farm - hopefully breaking the cycle of poverty and living a better quality of life.” 

The Global Angels Foundation extends its reach beyond financial security, by mobilising its volunteers to help develop and improve sustainable transformation interventions. Cheryl was inspired by the resilience of the community members, who still embrace their blessings, despite the harsh conditions of their environment, which is seeing the impact of climate change. “Among the poverty and hardship witnessed, there was also incredible beauty through nature. It was an incredible experience to see giraffes, zebras, elephants, ostriches and baboons while we were there. However, behind this beauty, you can see that the animals don’t have enough to eat and drink due to the effects of climate change.”

We remain passionate about empowering the community by helping them to develop sustainable solutions and committing to a long-term partnership with Global Angels. “Experiencing first-hand the positive impact of the funds contributed by the Robert Walters was priceless,” said Cheryl. “We all have a part to play in looking after Mother Earth and those less fortunate living on it. To be at the forefront of being part of the solution rather than the problem is very gratifying. I am very grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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