Fundraising staff at Monarch have recently returned from visiting Matha School in Kenya to see how their fundraising has made a difference to the community.

Last year, the Monarch Foundation and its charity partner Just a Drop asked teams of up to six employees to raise money for a special project to bring clean and safe water to Matha School in Kenya. Money raised would go towards the construction of a rain water harvesting tank which would help to transform the lives of students for the next 30 years.

The school is based in Makueni County, around three hours from Nairobi and serves over 300 pupils from the local community. Frequent droughts meant that every day children had to walk long distances to bring water from the river to the school.

The new tank harvests water from the school roof during the two Kenyan rainy seasons and the project also provides sanitation and hygiene education with three hand washing stations near the toilets.

The Monarch fundraisers also visited a number of other projects in Kenya. Michelle Wiles, Andy Lowi, Emma Blastland, Lee Burgess and Vanessa Pontin visited the Kasue Girls Secondary School. With funds donated by the Monarch Foundation, Just a Drop has built a water tank for the school to provide year round safe and clean water, harvesting water from the school roof. They have also provided hand washing stations and sanitation and hygiene education on how best to use the water to stay healthy.

Reflecting of their experiences in Kenya, Vanessa Pontin, a Project Manager for Monarch Airlines, said: “We all learnt the value of water. The children no longer have to walk 10k before school. Being hydrated helps concentration and the pupils no longer feel tired before they get to school. The water is not just for drinking but also for sanitation, safety and agriculture. People can now harvest crops thanks to these water tanks.”

Michelle Wiles, Marketing & PR Executive for Monarch Engineering added: “It was an incredible trip. I feel really privileged to have seen how the money we have raised will change the lives of so many people.”

The team also visited two sand dam projects funded by the Monarch Foundation, the Kyambezi Sand Dam and the Kwa Maui Sand Dam. Sand dams store thousands of litres of water in the particles between the grains of sand filtering and cleaning the water. This means if the rains fail the communities still have access to water. Shallow wells can then be dug to access the clean water using a hand pump and livestock are also able to access water.

The Kyambezi Sand Dam is Just a Drop’s biggest project to date and will bring safe water to over 1,500 people in Makueni County. Kwa Maui Sand Dam is driven by a women-led self-help group and will help them to grow vegetables to sell at market and produce modest incomes.

Pauline Prow, Monarch’s Chief People Officer and Chair of The Monarch Foundation said: “It is amazing to hear first-hand how money raised by the Monarch Foundations is transforming lives. Providing clean, safe water is helping to change the lives of hundreds of people and it was a privilege for the team that visited Kenya to see what their fundraising has helped to achieve.”

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