Wild Frontiers Annual Report 2023
Projects and Initiatives Supported
- Baleygon Community School, Pakistan
- Lone Buffalo English Development Centre, Laos
- Gondar Girls Football Team, Ethiopia
- Tsisatkela Children’s Centre, Georgia
- Camara Education, Ethiopia
- University Scholarship, Pakistan
- Earthquake Relief, Afghanistan
Fundraising revenue amounting to just over £17,000 came via a number of channels including:
- A donation of £5 from Wild Frontiers on behalf of every travelling client
- The generosity of Wild Frontiers clients, who made individual donations
- A campaign to raise funds to re-install a computer lab at Lalibela high school, Ethiopia
- Ticket proceeds from a client events at the Uzbekistan Embassy & British Omani Society, London
Baleygon Community School – Pakistan
It was a successful year at Baleygon Community School, with progress going from strength to strength under the management of the Felix Foundation, who we partnered with in 2019.
During the 2023 academic year 117 students were enrolled at the school, including 59 girls, from nursery to Year 6. In all there are now six teachers, with four teaching staff funded by the Wild Frontiers Foundation (two female and 2 male), and a further two funded by the government.
Highlights of the year included a 5-day summer teacher training programme funded by our foundation. This year the training programme was also extended to teaching staff from other schools across the region, with 15 teachers in all taking part.
A Community Education Awareness Day, which included a poetry competition, was hosted at Baleygon School. All students and many parents from the Baleygon School community attended the event in July, along with 20 students from another four district schools, who participated in the poetry competition.
With the school closed over the long winter, a winter camp was also organised and attended by some of the students.
The Felix Foundation has been working hard on enrolment, through community and parent engagement to highlight the importance of education, with good results.
Pictured: End of year results day at Baleygon Community School
Spanning over 10 years, the building and funding of the primary school in the isolated mountain village of Baleygon is the Wild Frontiers Foundation's most significant ongoing project to date.
Recognising the needs of the village and the students, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s first major project was initiated in 2010 and the school was officially opened to students in 2012.
Becoming increasingly challenging to run the school, the Wild Frontiers Foundation began talks in 2019 with the Felix Foundation Baltistan, a locally based non-profit organisation working for education and development of the people of the Hushe Valley.
With success in running other schools in the valley, the Wild Frontiers Foundation’s board of trustees made the decision to transfer the management of the school to the Felix Foundation. With the blessing of the community, the school management was officially transferred in February 2020.
Class Sponsorship - Lone Buffalo English Development Centre - Laos
The Wild Frontiers Foundation continued to support the class sponsorship programme at the Lone Buffalo English Development Centre in northern Laos, marking the 9th year of our partnership.
Co-founded by Wild Frontiers tour leader, Mark Steadman, Lone Buffalo creates opportunities for 180 - 220 young beneficiaries in rural Laos through free English classes.
Sponsoring a class guarantees 4.5 - 5 hours of quality English tuition per week for a class of between 20 and 30 young people, who are also able to join in with Lone Buffalo’s extra-curricular activities including football coaching, media and film making, life skills workshops, the Green Buffalo environmental team and the Student Coffee Co-operative.
The majority of Lone Buffalo alumni go on to further their studies at colleges and universities in Laos, with some receiving scholarships to study in Vietnam, China, Japan or Korea. In 2023 87% of High School graduates went on to tertiary education, outperforming the national figure of 13%.
Gondar Girls’ Football Team – Ethiopia
The Wild Frontiers Foundation continued to support the Gondar Girls’ Football Team, an initiative that was first kicked off with charity partner, Together We Learn Ethiopia, in 2020. The initiative supports a team of 20 girls from low-income families annually, promoting gender equality and building self-confidence through football.
The team-mates, aged between 13 and 16, are coached twice a week, offering them the opportunity to learn new skills and develop their health and fitness, while having fun within a supportive network. Post training, the girls also enjoy a meal together and participate in regular sessions about women's health.
Wild Frontiers Founder and Wild Frontiers Foundation Chairman, Jonny Bealby, had the opportunity to spend some time with the team during a training session when he was in Northern Ethiopia in February. Read about his visit.
Pictured: Wild Frontiers founder and Wild Frontiers Foundation Chairman, Jonny Bealby, joined the team during a training session.
Since then, the security situation has again deteriorated in the region. Checking in on the team, our partners at Together We Learn Ethiopia reported:
‘The football team's activities are continuing, which is testament to the girls' commitment to and enjoyment of the activities, and we hope it is providing some much-needed normality and joy for the girls at a time when so much is uncertain for them.’
During these times of adversity, the Wild Frontiers Foundation has committed to support the team with further funding in 2024.
Tsisatkela Children’s Centre – Georgia
We partnered with Visit Georgia (Wild Frontiers tourism partner in Georgia) to fund the purchase and installation of a pottery kiln for the Tsisatkela Children’s Centre. The community initiative, based in Telavi, supports early childhood development, and provides therapy programs for children with special needs, including pottery making.
With the new kiln installed and the ability to now fire and glaze the pottery, Tsisatkela has entered into an agreement with the ESKI Social Concept Store in Tbilisi, where they will be able to sell pieces crafted by the children and help raise funds for the centre.
Camera Education – Lalibela School Computer Lab - Ethiopia
We kicked off a fundraising campaign to help re-install a computer lab in the high school in Lalibela after it was looted in 2021 during the armed conflict in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia.
Sadly at that time all 50 computers where either stolen or damaged, leaving just one usable computer.
While in Ethiopia Jonny visited the co-ed school, where he met with teachers and members of Camara Education, a charitable organisation that recycles and refurbishes computer equipment to install in schools in Africa.
The Wild Frontiers Foundation has a long-standing relationship with Camara Education, having worked with the charity to fund and install computers within three Ethiopian schools since 2012.
Our aim is to raise £5000 to equip a new computer lab for the students of the Lalibela High School, which we hope to be installed in mid-2024.
University Scholarship – Pakistan
The Wild Frontiers Foundation continued to provide university scholarship funding for a student from the Kalash, a minority Pagan community in the Kalash Valleys of northern Pakistan. The student is studying for a degree in business and tourism, which we will support until completion in 2024.
Afghanaid – Earthquake relief in Afghanistan
Support was given to long-term charitable partner, Afghanaid, to help with its emergency response to the earthquakes near Herat in October.
‘On behalf of Afghanaid and all the people we work with, thank you so much for your generous donation of £1,000. Right now, your support is more vital than ever. The recent devastating earthquakes that hit western Afghanistan in October has struck communities already facing multi-layered challenges.’ -Kate Arthur, Head of Communications and Giving, Afghanaid
2024 – Marking 15 years of the Wild Frontiers Foundation
While the foundation has consolidated and continued to largely support existing projects since the COVID19 pandemic, we have ambitious plans for 2024, which marks our 15-year anniversary, to elevate the foundation, its funding and the community projects we support.
To help achieve this, Wild Frontiers is increasing the donation made on behalf of all travelling clients from £5 to £10 per person in 2024. We are also planning a fundraising event later in the year.
More funding will of course allow us to continue to support existing projects as well as provide the opportunity to invest in potential new projects.
As agreed at the Wild Frontiers Foundation Trustee meeting in December, we have increased the Baleygon Community School budget to provide for a fifth teacher and increase the teaching staff wages. We will again fund a teacher training programme and school community events, as well as supply new teaching equipment.
Plans are also underway to develop our partnership with Access Development Services, the non-profit that established the Pink City Rickshaw Company, which Wild Frontiers and the foundation have supported for five years. The Pink City Rickshaw Company offers employment opportunities for women from low-income families to be trained as driver/guides, hosting tourists on electric rickshaw tours in Jaipur. As an initiative which empowers women through tourism, we aim to help expand the social enterprise model to other cities across India.