Private Thanda Island Expands Partnerships to Empower Entrepreneurs of Neighboring Mafia Island

Of the many experiences for guests at Thanda Island, visiting nearby Mafia Island provides cultural context to the private 20 acres speck of land about 24 nautical miles off the coast of Tanzania. Nestled in the largest protected marine area in the Indian Ocean, Mafia is home to myriad dive sites, as well as a Thanda Island partner that provides dive instruction and certification for guests to explore the deep. Stretching nearly 320 square miles, the marine park is home to an impressive diversity of coral, five species of turtles, and some 400 species of reef fish.

Mafia Island is also home to a population of 60,000, including some 20,000 youth whose futures are being brightened by social, educational, and economic uplift projects from Thanda Island. For instance, the private island has long been committed to furthering the understanding of Mafia Island youth about the importance of sustainable resource utilization, fish harvesting, and marine conservation, the better to ensure the longevity of their communities.

New Classrooms for Jimbo Primary School

Thanda Island has embarked on a two-year partnership sponsoring empowerment programs through public-private partnerships that bring in capital and activate programming on Mafia Island. One such partnership with a former guest saw the donation of new classrooms to the Jimbo Primary School on Mafia Island. The guest was Dr. Jörg Mosolf, a German entrepreneur who visited Mafia Island and was motivated to improve the conditions in which schoolchildren learn.Beyond the new classrooms, completed in 2021, Dr. Mosolf contributes to Star for Life, a non-profit founded by Christin and Dan Olofsson, owners of Thanda Island, that provides educational programming to boost self-esteem and motivate students to make wise educational and life decisions en route to responsible adulthood. Dr. Mosolf has also established Star for Life Germany, keeping his promise to his children on their first visit to South Africa by bringing together people from business and science to raise funds and offer German companies opportunities to partner with schools in southern Africa. In other words, a win-win!

Teaching & Mentoring Entrepreneurship

In 2021 Thanda Island partnered with non-profit Children’s Mission Africa and formed Devent, a non-profit focused on developing entrepreneurship skills in young people on Mafia Island. The program provides training to 100 youth after they demonstrate having a potentially viable business idea. Participants receive seed money to create profitable and sustainable businesses. Training took place across Mafia Island, with groups of 5 to 10 participants at a time creating businesses they could develop and work on together.

The eight startups established to date bought and sold various resources from Mafia Island – coconuts, water, cakes, fresh fish, juice and nuts, and more. Result? Smiles and hard work all around, with profits ranging from 10,000 to 48,000 Tanzanian shillings per group. Throughout, participants actively embraced entrepreneurship while learning valuable skills and lessons of collaboration.

The project aims to create 60 profitable and sustainable businesses from 200 empowered young men and women, encouraging them to run profitable and thriving enterprises.

Mentorship for the young entrepreneurs is provided by experts, including Thanda Island’s head chef, Ulrich Philander, who is supporting various startups involving food preparation.

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