The Origin Charity was founded in 2017 by Holly Ledson and Elizabeth Trudgeon who have been on an extraordinary journey together in East Africa through the rollercoaster ride of development work.
“We have lived with the Hamar Tribe in Ethiopia’s remote Omo Valley for over three years and have developed a practical insight into the changing needs and desires of one of the world’s remaining indigenous societies in Africa’s fastest developing country.
Hours of listening, and many calabashes of traditional coffee later, we have created a vision together with the Hamar community which focuses on providing new opportunities in education for young people and for the economic empowerment of women.
Origin was born from that vision, and we are committed to making a real and sustained difference to indigenous lives in Ethiopia for the years to come.
We hope you share our vision and want to support it too.”
Holly has taken every opportunity during her 15 year professional career as a Chartered Surveyor to support different people and organisations in both the UK and Africa. She has mentored special needs young people in London through a Special Olympics sport programme, spent countless holidays volunteering in East Africa, and used her management experience to coach women and girls in their careers.
Elizabeth first became engaged in issues facing rural communities whilst volunteering on a youth management group as a teenager. She’s since spent six years working at grassroots level in East Africa, organising volunteer projects which support the conservation of national parks and wellbeing of local people. Prior to Africa, she obtained a degree in Public Relations and worked in business and training roles.
David has worked in retail property for over 30 years and is the founding partner of a niche real estate agency in London. He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International College of Oriental Medicine and a member of the Court of Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors. He has mentored many graduates through professional examinations and is a strong supporter of youth development in the business world.
Kay has a degree in Geography and has always been passionate about environmental issues. Whilst at Edinburgh University she ran holiday camps for children as well as being involved in many other community projects. During her 38 year career as a Chartered Surveyor and Arbitrator, specialising in retail property, she has mentored many young people and has a particular interest in education and development for women and girls.
Origin is about creating opportunities for indigenous people by understanding different points of view, cultures, ambitions, community values, and coming up with solutions for the future together.
Our first project is in Ethiopia, famously regarded to be the Land of Origins. It is the country believed to be the origin of all mankind, where the earliest remains of human ancestors were found, and is home to one of Africa’s highest number of indigenous people.
The Origin Charity is an Incorporated Charitable Organisation registered in England (1178150) with a dedicated Board of Trustees who oversee our work relieving poverty and advancing education in developing countries.
An estimated 370 million indigenous people live across 90 countries around the world. They account for less than 5% of the world’s population but 15% of the poorest.
We take time to design projects carefully and look for ways to support existing systems as opposed to replacing them. Projects are planned, monitored and evaluated by the local community and focus on providing useful help to womenand young people.
Local people have been involved in shaping each stage of Origin’s creation and direction to date. Once registered in Ethiopia we will recruit a voluntary community representatives to guide and advise us through the project.
Increasing the capacity of local people to benefit from education and new economic opportunities is at the core of what we do. This is about helping people to improve their own lives gradually. Many of the people we will work with have never been to school before, do not speak the national language and are new to dealing with money. Our teaching fits around the level of experience of the participants accordingly.
The nature of capacity building is to create a lasting impact. If Origin stopped tomorrow, would people be able to continue their businesses, or access information to make career choices themselves? We believe so. Investing in people and skills needed for the future is a sustainable solution which can be passed down for future generations to come.
The Origin Charity identifies modern day challenges within indigenous communities and provides practical learning and support to the most vulnerable people.
As a small team working in a fragile local environment, we value transparency, trust and accountability. We are compliant with the laws governing Charities in England and operate within the regulations of the Charities and Societies Agency in Ethiopia. Here are some of our charity policies.
We believe that by investing in training, skills development and small enterprise, we can help to create more equitable conditions and opportunities for indigenous people. We are right at the beginning now and people who donate at this stage will be co-funding the launch of our first project in Ethiopia.