Singita’s employees and the local communities they come from are important partners in Singita’s 100 year purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. Assisting these communities to prosper, both economically and socially, is a key part of how Singita addresses its long-term conservation goals. The Singita Serengeti School of Cooking (SSSC) located at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania is just one of the projects that ensures that the existence of the reserve benefit those living in and around it.
Yasinta Gabriel Kasogota
We recently welcomed three new faces from the first graduating SSSC class to the lodge kitchens, and star students no less! Awarded “Best Overall Student” at last month’s graduation ceremony, 26-year-old Yasinta Gabriel Kasogota who, although soft-spoken in class, achieved top marks in her theory and practical evaluations. Keen to improve on her culinary know-how, Yasinta applied for a bursary at the SSSC after completing some rudimentary chef’s training at vocational school, and thrived in the structured environment at the SSSC. 18 months on Yasinta graduated top of the class and as a result of her hard work and dedication, she recently accepted a full-time position at Singita Faru Faru Lodge.
“Most Improved Student”, Kamanda Metera, is honing his craft at Singita Explore, an exclusive private-use tented camp in the Serengeti. Now employed as a commis chef, Kamanda’s journey began in nearby Issenye, the village just outside the Grumeti reserve in which he grew up. He describes his experience at the SSSC as having transformed his outlook on life, making him more motivated than ever before. “It was my goal and dream [to be a chef] and the SSSC helped me to reach my dreams. Every day, I can’t wait to go to work.” Kamanda’s next dream? To be a well-known Tanzanian chef and, one day, open up his very own business.
Kamanda and Yasinta’s classmate, Mrigo Thomas, was awarded “Best Pastry Student” and his new skills and months of hard work are now on display every day during afternoon tea at Singita Sasakwa Lodge. Also hailing from Issenye, 25-year-old Mrigo finds the more challenging, technical recipes to be the most enjoyable. He also enjoyed the more practical aspects of the course; classes like entrepreneurship and computer skills which will equip him with the kind of business acumen that will serve him well throughout his life. “I have built a lot of confidence over the last 18 months, and also learned how to work with a lot of chefs in a team – I really like it. I now earn a salary and can provide not only for me but also for my family.”
Mrigo Thomas getting his certificate from Singita pastry chef, Louise Heyns
The families of these students and the others in the class couldn’t be more thrilled about their success. Mrigo says: “[My parents] are so happy to see how well I have done – especially when I won the best pastry student in my class. They were very proud. They have given me good advice – they tell me that if I work hard I will get what I want.”
** Apart from providing scholarships to SSSC students through a partnership with the Grumeti Fund, Singita also purchases fresh produce from local enterprises. In this way, Singita plays a role in strengthening the local economy and helping community members to develop business skills for future employment. You can read more about the work of the Grumeti Fund here, and take a look back at last month’s SSSC graduation ceremony in this recent blog post.