In the beginning...
In 1992 Charlotte di Vita saw a starving child dying in its
mother's arms while waiting for medical assistance in Bawku,
Northern Ghana. The child's death was a result of impending famine in northern
Ghana, due to no rainfall, which left over 6,000 families'
farms in ruins. Desperate to help, she offered her last £800
savings to the local Bawku tribe to buy much needed seed.
Though the tribe was in a desperate situation, their pride
did not allow them to accept her money and so, in exchange,
their master-carvers made wooden Ashanti symbols as pendants
for her to sell in the UK.
These wooden pendants became the fashion accessory of 1993
and by 1994 Charlotte had raised £25,000 to enable the funding
security for 25,000 people in northern Ghana.
"It's humbling to think that six volunteers on the other
side of the world can effect the lives of 25,000 people and
allow them to survive in the way they have known for generations",
By 1996, the sale of handicrafts had also funded the building
and equipping of three schools and the training of 37
teachers in order to provide 1,100 children with an education
and a more secure future.
On returning to Ghana to see the schools for herself, Charlotte
received a special surprise, "...a thousand children ran to
greet me. It was an extraordinary experience!"
Charlotte continued, "Our trading projects mean more to the
craftspeople than mere economic opportunity. They foster the
fundamentals of self-esteem, education, health care, cultural
continuity and the chance to protect the past while shaping
In 1995 with the Bawku program near completion, Charlotte
was able to focus on helping Jacaranda, the only skills-training
centre for mentally-challenged adults in Kenya to create
an extensive programme to raise funds and increase long-term
income by producing handicrafts for domestic and international
markets. In 1997, Jacaranda credited Charlotte's assistance
with saving the jobs of its 45 mentally-challenged workers
who would have been unable to find work elsewhere if the workshop
had closed down.
In 1996 Charlotte di Vita made a donation to the Kaloko Trust,
a successful organisation working to alleviate poverty in
Luansobe, a remote rural area of Zambia. The Kaloko Trust
funds the education of some 700 children at their own school
in Luansobe plus 100 in higher education at other schools.
In 2000 Trade plus Aid® donated further funds towards supporting
children who had graduated from the primary school to achieve
higher education. And in 2002, Trade plus Aid agreed to donate
a total of £21,450 over five years to
contribute to school fees to assist the children to continue
their secondary schooling to twelfth grade.
To read about other projects funded by Trade plus Aid® click
Charlotte di Vita wearing an Ashanti pendant.
"... a thousand children ran to greet me."
New community seed store, Bawku, Ghana.
Schoolchildren, Bawku, Ghana.
Grade 8 students from Luansobe Upper Basic School,