Damask’s Hatua story: “Shortly after I joined Vanquis Bank as a lawyer in 2008, Michael Lenora arranged for one of his former colleagues to come into the bank to talk about volunteering for a charity in Kenya. A few years earlier, I had volunteered for the Citizens Advice Bureau. As a person I felt I had gained more than I had given from the experience. I recognised that the skills and satisfaction achieved from volunteering mean that you grow as a person whilst you contribute to helping others who need your skills and your time. When the opportunity to go to Africa arose, I was excited about the prospect of being able to volunteer again and experience what was happening first-hand.
The first team of Vanquis volunteers went out to Kenya in January 2009 and after discussing the longer term prospects for students with local people and with senior teachers from some of the best schools, it became clear that a future out of the slum could only be guaranteed if students succeeded in gaining university places. We believed that a programme that focused on the brightest students, gaining places in secondary schools that have a guaranteed track record of achievement on to university was the right direction to take and after two successful years and volunteer trips to Kenya, we took the decision to set up our own charity with slightly different aims. Hatua was formed in 2011.
Since then, we have worked to increase the number of students we help into quality secondary schools and extended the programme out to yet more primary schools across Nairobi. We hope this success and the number of children supported by Hatua continues to grow and we are very excited about our decision to expand into Uganda, but more importantly we look forward to seeing those children become the talent and future of Africa and in turn generate the change needed to improve the lives of many more children.”