We are absolutely thrilled to have the support of the incredibly inspirational TV presenter, adventurer, world-traveller and entrepreneur Amar Latif OBE and so very proud to announce that Amar has agreed to be our patron!
Working with Amar on our BBC Radio 4 Appeal (in February 2022), it became clear to us that with his inspirational story, his personal connection to our work and the emotional affinity he feels with the scholars we support, Amar would be a perfect patron for Rafiki Thabo Foundation. We could not have been more excited and grateful therefore when we asked Amar and he said yes! As our patron Amar will help raise awareness for our important work, be a role model to our scholars and graduates and significantly raise the profile of our charity.
Amar lost his sight at 18 years old, but with his determination not to let his perceived disability stand in his way and with the support of his family, he went on to fulfil his dreams: first becoming an accountant and eventually Head of Commercial Finance for British Telecom, despite people’s disbelief that a blind person could become an accountant, and then in his quest for adventure. Now a TV presenter who travels the world, Amar caught the travel bug while studying in Canada. The experience showed Amar that being blind didn’t mean never seeing the world, but independent travel as a blind person was not easily accommodated. Determined to travel and empower thousands of other visually impaired to do the same, Amar set up his own award-winning travel company, Traveleyes.
The more we learn about Amar and the more we get to know him, we celebrate his determination, his positive, genuine and curious nature, and his ability to pursue and achieve his goals and dreams despite his blindness, which he simply refused to let limit his life and ambitions. His desire to help us support vulnerable young lives in Kenya, Uganda, and Lesotho to access education so that they too can have the opportunity of a limitless future, along with his true affinity with our work, meant that Amar whole-heartedly embraced the opportunity to become Rafiki Thabo Foundation’s patron. In Amar’s own words:
“I think Rafiki Thabo Foundation is simply incredible. The story of young Praise who lost her sight at 8 years old and whose father abandoned her as a result, leaving her without money to pay for school, touched my heart deeply. I dread to think what my own life would have been like had I grown up in Pakistan without the support of my family and the British education system. Rafiki Thabo Foundation makes sure that vulnerable young children like Praise can have the best possible start in life by enabling their access to education. I full heartedly support the work of Rafiki Thabo Foundation and I am proud to be their patron.” Amar Latif 24.02.22
Amar’s passion for what we do, the impact Praise had on him and how her story resonates with him is felt throughout his emotional delivery of our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, in which he tells Praise’s story. If you have not yet heard our appeal you can listen to it on the BBC Radio 4 Appeals website (please note however, that you can no longer donate to Rafiki Thabo Foundation there, that will go to the current charity appeal). Amar also recorded a very touching, unscripted message for us, where he talks specifically about why Praise touched his heart so deeply and why our work resonates so strongly with him.
As Amar Latif joins Harry Baker and Bob Bhania as our patrons, we couldn’t be prouder of the integrity of their patronage and the positive impact they will have on our work and more than anything, the inspiration and courage they both provide to our scholars and graduates. We were incredibly proud and honoured to hear them both speak to Danny Cox on BBC Radio Oxford about our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, about their own journeys to success despite living with disabilities and why they both feel so strongly about supporting Rafiki Thabo Foundation. Listen to their interview.
Having followed our BBC Radio 4 Appeal campaign closely from his home in Kenya, Rafiki Thabo graduate Ayiesa was deeply moved and encouraged by Amar’s story. Upon hearing the amazing news that Amar is now our patron, Ayiesa sent us this message underlining the importance of Amar as an inspiring role model for our scholars and graduates:
“… In Kenya, despite efforts to promote inclusivity in education and careers, the reality is that people living with sensory impairments face challenges in pursuing education even if they do not have school fees as a barrier. This is especially so for education that leads to professions such as engineering, accounting, actuarial science, and statistics among others.
After listening to and following Amar Latif, I am convinced that the notion that people with sensory impairment cannot pursue certain careers is just a perception. Amar Latif’s story is an indication that with enabling environment and support, inclusivity can be a reality.
Since Rafiki Thabo Foundation has taken on the challenge of touching the hearts of children living with disability through education empowerment, I am sure we will celebrate many future Amars in Africa!”
You can read more about how Ayiesa battled against all the odds to get an education and how he went from stigma, malnutrition, and poverty to holding a senior position at Kenya Institute of Special Education, owning several small businesses, and working as a volunteer supporting children living with cerebral palsy.
We are so excited that Amar and Ayiesa will soon meet in person: both are taking part in our Kilimanjaro Trek and Safari in August! In taking on this challenge Amar is yet again in the most inspirational way demonstrating his passion to prove to the world that living with a disability does not prevent you having limitless dreams and aspirations! He is doing this to help us raise awareness and funding for our scholars, including those living with a disability, and education programmes. To read more about our trek, and find out how you can be part of it head to our dedicated page.
We feel so privileged and so honoured to have Amar’s patronage, and we can’t wait to continue our work with his passionate support!
Read more about Amar’s own inspirational journey on his website and find out how you can have the most incredible experience travelling with his company Traveleyes. Amar’s unique travel company offers blind and sighted travellers the opportunity to explore the world together, and see it through each other’s eyes.
In recognition of his services to the visually impaired and to entrepreneurship, Amar was honoured with an OBE in 2023!
Transforming lives of disabled kids in developing countries, @RafikiThabo you are simply incredible! huge honour to present the #r4appeal today at 9.25pm. And you can make a big difference by making a small donation, only cost £350 per child to go to school for a year! pic.twitter.com/OTGPEmfS33
— Amar Latif (@AmarLatif_) February 6, 2022
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