GIVING BEGINS AT HOME
THE HEART OF NAIROBI
"Comfort the Children hold a monthly clean-up day. It feels like a festival, with the whole town invited to participate in cleaning the streets. Last time 400 people showed up.”
When extremes of wealth and poverty are so apparent at every turn, no luxury hotel in Africa in 2012 can function successfully without a social conscience. Tribe is no exception; the hotel may be charging from US$285 a night, but it does what it can to channel support back into communities that need it most, as well as raise standards of living in the immediate neighborhood by providing jobs. “In terms of our philanthropic work, we change the beneficiaries pretty regularly,” says Shamim Ehsani. “You have to be careful about just throwing money at a single project in Kenya, because the money is so easily misused.”
Tribe’s initiatives are therefore varied. They include support for Cura Orphanage, which is located in the Cura neighborhood of Nairobi, and Nest, a remand home for children whose mothers have been imprisoned. The organization runs a well-respected adoption program and tries, when possible, to rehabilitate the children’s mothers. One of his favorite organizations is Comfort the Children in Maai Mahiu—a truck stop about 35 minutes drive from Tribe with a population of 10,000 and one of the highest AIDS rates in the country.
What inspires Ehsani the most, though, is CTC’s work to rehabilitate children with disabilities. “In Kenya, disabled children are often kept in the dark; it is considered a disgrace to have them,” says Ehsani. “That has to change. At Tribe we will continue to support that [rehabilitation] process as much as we can.”