Origins and History

“If poor communities stand a chance of working their way out of poverty, access to quality schooling and fair trade is essential”

Michelle Parlett,  Founder of Shika

Shika was born out of a collaboration between a group of committed individuals in Tanzania and the UK,  all of whom are working towards the same shared goal – to provide a quality education to disadvantaged children in Tanzania.

It began as an educational sponsorship programme for orphaned and vulnerable children launched by Michelle Parlett in 2006. She had been living and working with communities in northern Tanzania and was inspired by the intelligent and enthusiastic local people, with strong ideas on how to escape poverty, but little opportunity to do so. The most fundamental desire amongst them was education, especially for their children.

With a growing number of supporters in the UK, Australia and the USA, Shika launched as a UK charity in 2007.  By building on the partnership between experienced members of the local community in Tanzania and their friends in the UK, and drawing on the strengths of both, Shika has steadily expanded.  Fundraising largely takes place in the UK under direction from their UK trustees, while the funds are carefully channeled to the educational support programmes, run by Shika staff and partners in Tanzania.

By working together, listening to school teachers and members of the local community, knowledge and experiences are shared to generate valuable educational opportunities for some of the poorest and most vulnerable children.

Since setting up Shika in 2007, we have secured schooling for nearly 100 disadvantaged children through the educational sponsorship programme, and in 2009 established a holistic educational support programme, the Watoto Wanaweza After School Programme (ASP) to provide vital packages of assistance to these and many more vulnerable children from local schools.  We have also provided a vital income for disadvantaged communities across Tanzania, through our fair trade business ‘Shika Fashion Label’.