The Team

David Gridley – Chairman

For a number of years David was a Trustee and the Deputy Chairman of the Canterbury Oast Trust (COT), a Kent based Charity. COT provides opportunities for people with learning difficulties.
David was involved in the setting up of the LEO Trust in 1992 – “Lifetime Equality and Opportunity” for adults with learning difficulties and was a Trustee and the Chairman of this Charity for many years until he retired from both positions.
This means that he has an insight into the running of Charities, how they can be organised, fund raising and he also gained valuable experience in dealing with the Charity Commission.

David also has experience in running a business as he is a Founder Member and Senior Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

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Simon Payne – Trustee

Simon was born in Kenya and has many connections with Africa. He runs a unique family business called Blue Forest, known as the world’s leading tree house company. Blue Forest were involved with Tongole from the very beginning when they were approached to design and build Tongole Wilderness Lodge. Following completion of the lodge Simon joined the board of trustees for The Tongole Foundation.

Simon has a Masters Degree in Development Studies and has spent time working with a number of different charitable organisations in both the UK, Latin America and East Africa. Simon provides strategic direction and helps in programming and overseeing project operations.

David Cole – Trustee

David has not been actively involved in the Charity sector before apart from raising many tens of thousands of pounds for various charities over the years.

He heads up a highly successful business as a Principal Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management and this brings a great wealth of business acumen, drive and determination which is absolutely required not only to run a successful business but also to help run a successful Charity.

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General

All three Trustees have business experience that is vital to running a successful Charity, all have raised many thousands of pounds for various Charities throughout the world and all have a great interest in Africa and, in particular, to helping disadvantaged children to be educated.

Bentry Kalanga – Director

Bentry is Country Director of the Tongole Foundation in Malawi. He has over thirty years experience working with international development agencies. He is passionate about enabling children to achieve their right to education. Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Bentry is also keen in conservation of the environment as well as wildlife. He believes in forging partnerships between business operators, government and the community in a win-win relationship in order that all parties value and benefit from a partnership. As such, he is working to create harmonious partnerships in order to reduce poaching of wildlife and the destruction of the environment in their peripheral areas of the Nkhota Kota wildlife reserve.

Louise Cole – Projects Co-coordinator

I joined the Tongole Foundation in July 2012 as Projects Coordinator after having various jobs over the years from working at the London Dungeon as an actor to a Duty Manager/High Ropes Instructor at Go Ape.

I find what I do rewarding – to organize and host an event, raise money and see it put to incredible use’s!

 Maluza Banda – Community Liaison Officer

Our Tongole Foundation Community Liaison Officer Maluza Banda. Before joining us, Maluza worked with World Vision International for many years. Maluza is from Nkhotakota and understands the community where we work very well .

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(Maluza in the middle of David Cole and Bentry Kalanga)

David Gridley – Chairman

For a number of years David was a Trustee and the Deputy Chairman of the Canterbury Oast Trust (COT), a Kent based Charity. COT provides opportunities for people with learning difficulties.
David was involved in the setting up of the LEO Trust in 1992 – “Lifetime Equality and Opportunity” for adults with learning difficulties and was a Trustee and the Chairman of this Charity for many years until he retired from both positions.
This means that he has an insight into the running of Charities, how they can be organised, fund raising and he also gained valuable experience in dealing with the Charity Commission.

David also has experience in running a business as he is a Founder Member and Senior Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

2013-04-18 08.46.19

Simon Payne – Trustee

Born in Kenya and lived there for the first 6 years of his life. Simon’s mother was born and brought up in Uganda and his family still has strong connections with East Africa.

Between school and the end of his undergraduate degree he spent a significant amount of time working with NGOs in Central and Latin America including a gap year and 12 month placement which was part of his degree course.

Following his undergraduate course, Simon went on to complete a Masters Degree in Development Studies. Following this he worked for 15 months with a Christian Conservation Charity called “A Rocha International” doing a mixture of research, fundraising and project management both in the UK and overseas.

In 2004, Simon started a new company with his brother called Blue Forest of which Simon is Director. Blue Forest is a sustainable, design and construction company specialising in tree houses and raised structures. Blue Forest has developed close links with a number of charities including ASSETS in Kenya and ARK (Absolute Return for Kids).

Simon brings a good deal of experience in the charity field and has an in-depth knowledge of East Africa. As a Company Director, Simon brings with him business skills which are extremely important when running a Charity.

Simon - Kenya (2)

David Cole – Trustee

David has not been actively involved in the Charity sector before apart from raising many tens of thousands of pounds for various charities over the years.

He heads up a highly successful business as a Principal Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management and this brings a great wealth of business acumen, drive and determination which is absolutely required not only to run a successful business but also to help run a successful Charity.

2013-04-18 08.43.45

General

All three Trustees have business experience that is vital to running a successful Charity, all have raised many thousands of pounds for various Charities throughout the world and all have a great interest in Africa and, in particular, to helping disadvantaged children to be educated.

Bentry Kalanga – Director

Bentry is Country Director of the Tongole Foundation. He is passionate about improving education and conservation of the environment as well as wildlife. He believes in partnership between business in wild life reserve, government and the community so that all parties value and benefit from the symbiotic relationship.

He is also passionate about improving basic education around the reserve so that children can realize their right to education. Despite the many challenges children face in attaining their right to education, every intervention or assistance made makes a difference in their lives and contributes to their attaining the goal. Education  is key to opening the children’s better future.

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Louise Cole – Projects Co-coordinator

Louise joined the Tongole Foundation in July 2012 as Projects Coordinator. Louise has had various jobs over the years from working at the London Dungeon as an actor to a Duty Manager/High Ropes Instructor at Go Ape. Louise worked for Voluntary Action within Kent (VAWK) a charity that works with young disabled people before committing her full time to the Tongole Foundation. Louise is based in Goudhurst, Kent.

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 Maluza Banda – Community Liaison Officer

Our Tongole Foundation Community Liaison Officer Maluza Banda. Before joining us, Maluza worked with World Vision International for many years. Maluza is from Nkhotakota and understands the community where we work very well .

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(Maluza in the middle of David Cole and Bentry Kalanga)

Our Patron

We are thrilled to announce that Kirsty J Curtis has become our first patron of the Tongole Foundation!

Kirsty, who has played numerous roles on both stage and screen has appeared in Call the Midwife, Casualty, Doctors, the Birds of a Feather Christmas special (2014) and is set to appear in her first feature film “Urban Hymn” coming soon! Kirsty is also a voice artist with recent voice overs for the co-operative, RBS, Toyota and BP.

Kirsty attended the Miskin Theatre From 16-19 before attending the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance for 3 years leaving with a BA hon degree.

Kirsty said she is “extremely proud to have been asked to take on this role and is very excited to visit Malawi soon!”

Kirsty’s IMBD page

Ambassador

Siddickah(Sid) Jeerooburkhan

I spent 5 years working on board cruise ships, something that I absolutely loved doing, working and travelling the world, waking up in a new country every day.

Having worked away from home for so many years I felt like I needed to make the jump back to land, and soon found myself back to my roots and working for a make up company. I was so unfulfilled and knew that was called for something bigger, and to create a bigger movement in the world. I then found a vehicle to the lifestyle freedom I so desired, and saw the vision of how I could create the movement through a social marketing business called Arbonne.

Its something I certainly never ever saw myself doing, but when I did my research I soon realised I was just uneducated and I took it a little more seriously when I saw Richard Branson endorsing the business as model!

I have been working my business part time for the last 2 years in pockets of time in my life, it has given me the freedom to no longer worry about my finances, but most importantly, my biggest why of all, it has given me the vision of how I can use this vehicle to create a huge movement in humanitarian relief and world aid.

I have been fortunate enough to watch The Tongole Foundation grow over the last few years and being able to donate, sponsor through this amazing charity, and watch the growth of the children, it touches my heart and reminds me of the importance of the bigger picture.

I am so thrilled to join forces and create a bigger wave of movement, and look forward to see what the coming year brings.

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