The Momella Foundation
The MomellaFoundation was initiated in 2008 by its directors, Marlies and Jörg Gabriel, the proprietors of the Hatari Lodge in Momella and the Shu’mata Camp in the Maasai Steppe. They fulfilled their dream of creating a luxury safari experience for travellers worldwide, but soon realized that while they and their clients enjoyed the idyllic and stunning Mt Meru and Kilimanjaro regions, the local population suffered from a lack of basic infrastructure, as well as insufficient educational and vocational training opportunities. That is why the Gabriels created the MomellaFoundation – in order to give back ! _ to the community which in turn provides the source of their passion, love and livelihood. A small child of the village Momella died because of a protracted pneumonia. The parents were not familiar with the symptoms of the disease and we decided to do educational work. Donyo, the son of Marlies and Joerg, had to go to school. This was quite difficult to organize in the midst of the bush. A private teacher was hired and more and more children of the village joined the class on the property of Hatari Lodge. The prototype of the Watoto Momella Preschool was born. Together with the ambitious support of the Rotary Club Bruchhausen-Vilsen we decided to build the Watoto Momella Preschool in the village of Momella. The Mama Momella fashion project developed in quite a similar way. First we requested for some women from the village to do embroidery work on our beddings for the Shu'mata Camp. We found two mamas from our staff. Thereupon more and more women arrived on the property of Hatari Lodge requesting for an opportunity to join the circle of embroiders. Among them were some prostitutes whom we could offer another life through joining the mamas. The women became more self – confident and Mama Momella became a powerful voice in the village. The continuous growth of each of the single projects finally built the basis of the MomellaFoundation in 2008. The MomellaFoundation is a non-profit organization seeking to support the region through various creative programs. Under its umbrella the projects focus on educational development, empowerment of women, sustainable agronomy and conservation. The projects are set up to develop the region and improve local living conditions. The principal goal is awareness through education and comfort through individual income. Marlies and Jörg cooperate closely with a selected Momella village council, project specific consultants and the project’s partners onsite and abroad on the organization and management of the Foundation. Long-term experience in many countries show that nature and environmental protection are only possible when the region’s population are willing to get involved and are not forced into consent. Therefore, the Momella population has to be involved in all projects right from the start, and must realise their own personal advantages in doing so.
“Momella” means “shine” or “sparkle” of the moon or the sun in the local Maasai language. The MomellaFoundation aims to contribute towards the positive development of the region to enable it to consciously and proudly carry the name Momella.