When I returned to my home in Australia from Tanzania in February 2009, I never imagined what the next 6 years would have in store for me. With a yearning to do more than just be a tourist, and after meeting two like-minded Australians and getting support from friends and family.….. Team Vista was re-born.
Team Vista is a not for profit organisation run by myself and Kerry and Brendan Frost. Our philosophy is that business and the community can work together to achieve social and environmental outcomes.
In January 2009, after seeing many children scavenging on the rubbish dumps at Moshi, Tanzania to find things to sell, our idea was to team up with a local teacher who was already trying to give an education to these children. Most were either orphaned or abandoned and had no hope of affording school fees.
Since starting Team Vista, we now sponsor over 300 children’s education and health care needs in the Moshi community.
Additionally we have:
- opened an adult education centre focusing on business development and entrepreneurship;
- created a children’s home that houses 8 abandoned and orphaned children;
- started a women’s sewing group that is now completely self-sustaining;
- hired 8 full time staff and put them through studies of their choice;
- purchased 2.5 acres of land;
- created a girls empowerment class;
- and started a community bank.
While all of these projects have been successful and we can see positive results, it is a constant and extremely difficult task to raise funding and to devote our time to this voluntary work while also working full times in our paid jobs.
Now, in our 6th year, we are changing our focus from charity to social enterprise in order for us to ensure the project becomes self-sufficient. Social enterprises are profit making businesses set up to fund projects, and our first attempt at this is a collaboration with Earth’s Grove & Many Threads in opening a pop-up shop, People Planet Purpose in Charles St Plaza Arcade, Adelaide. This outlet sells products from our projects, with 100% of the proceeds being returned into Team Vista.
Our latest endeavour is at the Haria Hotel in Moshi, Tanzania. This is a low budget/hostel style accommodation with a rooftop bar and café that has stunning views of Mt Kilimanjaro.
We took over management on the 1st of January this year and we have spent the past 7 weeks setting it up, which was no easy feat, as the hotel had become quite run down over the past few years and needed a lot of love and money invested into repairs and renovations. This was a huge risk for us but already
we are reaping the rewards. The hotel is receiving great reviews on Trip Advisor and we have been fully booked, even during the current low season in Moshi. We are lucky to have a wonderful chef, Pippa Prescott from Perth, running the kitchen and bar for us, and have a team of local dedicated and motivated staff working for us.
My hope is that this enterprise can create a sustainable impact beyond our projects, allowing us to effectively work ourselves out of a job by creating sustainable, lasting change in the community that we work in.