Watch this 3 minute video about the Askinosie Chocolate University Tanzania trip. Be inspired, and share it with your friends.
This past July Askinosie Chocolate founder, Shawn Askinosie, took a group of carefully selected Springfield, MO high school students to remote Tenende, Tanzania. Before the 10-day trip, the students stayed at Drury University to take part in a weeklong immersion with classes about social business, entrepreneurship, cacao agronomy, Tanzanian culture, Swahili and more. While in Tenende, the students met with farmers and worked on projects involved with Mwaya Secondary School, with which Askinosie Chocolate has developed a relationship for over two years. The projects at Mwaya were: (1) implementation of a 100% self-sustaining school lunch program to address malnutrition (the 1,100 students now eat only one meal per day) so they can study and (2) assisted the Headmaster in execution of a Khan video learning program on laptops and projectors throughout the school that has no electricity. Through a generous donation, Chocolate University has also funded the school’s first and only computer teacher to manage the new video-learning program. Also, our CU students facilitated discussions with the Empowered Girls club at the school, a program funded by CU that aims to increase the retention and graduation rate of female students.
Shawn Askinosie also took 13 high school students to Tenende, Tanzania in summer of 2010. Students specifically sought a woman led cocoa farmer group and Mama Kyeja – now pictured on the front of the chocolate bar package -- left an indelible impression on them all. This marked the first time that a chocolate maker has traded directly with a Tanzanian cocoa farmer group. During that program, CU students and Askinosie Chocolate raised money for math, science and English textbooks for Mwaya and also funded a deep water well to provide clean water to the 2,000 villagers of Tenende, which is something the new crop of student travelers got to see.
At Askinosie, we believe that exposing young people to the developing world on short-term trips has the potential to change the world. The success of the trip can best be summed up by the text message that one student sent to his mother during the trip: “This is the best day of my life.”
Special thanks to Bob Linder who traveled with the group this summer for his photo and video artistry.
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