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Maui computers will help African villager go to college

By Staff | Oct 21, 2010

Through Bonnie Nelson and the Cheetah Alliance, refurbished computers from Maui will help Tanzania native Emmanuel Michael and his village.

LAHAINA — Two discarded computers from Maui loaded up with new software will soon be traveling 10,000 miles to help a student of Tanzania’s College of African Wildlife Management.

The student, Emmanuel Michael, plans to start a new business in Tanzania, the country best known as the home of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Spearheaded by Lahaina’s Bonnie Nelson, founder of the Cheetah Alliance, the computers will assist in launching a micro-business for this student, so that he can purchase food during his field assignments and not have to go hungry while learning about how to preserve the country’s wild animals.

Nelson’s organization, created to connect animals and children around the world, has been helping natives start micro-businesses, including beekeeping in the impoverished East African nation.

The Cheetah Alliance founder has developed close relationships with many African natives during two safaris to East Africa, where she met Emmanuel Michael, who now will rent computer time to villagers to pay for college courses he is taking.

These powerful tools will also help Emmanuel’s village, as he has been asked to be the voice of his village.

“The magic happened when the African native stopped asking for money and instead requested computers,” Nelson said. “The Cheetah Alliance doesn’t deal with money. It encourages self-help. We are grateful to the man who refurbished these computers (also a Cheetah Alliance member) and turned one person’s trash into treasure for an entire village.”

Nelson is planning her third safari to East Africa and has developed a custom tour for up to ten women starting in May 2011. Learn more about Nelson, the Cheetah Alliance and the custom safari at www.cheetahalliance.com.