Asilia is proud to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world, and especially in East Africa, for International Women’s Day on 8 March. Throughout the month of March, we’ll be sharing stories from across our camps, offices and Positive Impact partners of inspirational women who have made a difference in their community. Be sure to follow along on the Asilia blog for a new story each week.
In February this year, we hosted our 5th annual guide training course which takes place in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. This year, Lailatu Winnifred is among the class of guides writing their final exams. Lailatu’s story is a special one – in 2016, she was the first-ever recipient of Asilia’s Scholarship Fund and has grown from strength to strength since then.
Asilia caused quite a stir in the industry a few years ago when an advert was posted in the local newspaper asking women to apply for the Guide Training program. In 2014, one female guide qualified. The next year two women qualified and today, we are incredibly proud to have six upcoming female guides in our family.
This year, Lailatu is among the class of guides writing their final exams. Lailatu won a place at ILA Vocational College on a one-year Hotel & Tourism Management course that provides a starting point for bright youngsters from poor backgrounds to start their careers in tourism. On completion of her course, she joined the incredible team at Dunia, originally as a waiter and now as a chef. However, guiding was always her passion and last year she completed stage one of the training. She says training is demanding, but she is up for the challenge.
“Every day there is something new to learn about the environment and about myself,” Lailatu says. “The most valuable lesson I have learned from the training is the responsibility of being the link between our guests and our environment. I hope to teach people from all around the world about my country and the beautiful environment that we have and how important it is that we do whatever we can to preserve it.”
Lailatu has spent the past year as a trainee guide at Sayari and, on completion of her exams this month, she will be designated as a fully qualified Junior guide! Lailatu serves as a shining example for many young, local women who are interested in guiding, or simply working in the safari industry, and want to pursue their dreams.
‘Going forward, I hope to grow more in my guiding position and have recently been inspired by my mentor, Erasto, to apply for the walking training. I hope one day to complete the walking training and become the first woman lead walking guide in Tanzania and possibly even the whole of East Africa.’