CO-OWNER, COLE SIMMS DESIGN BUILD
When Don went to Malawi in 2010 with then-faculty member Beverly Winterscheid and five students in the MBA program, he knew they were going to work on a sustainability internship at the Toleza Farm, located in Balaka. What he didn’t know was that the visit would change his life immeasurably, and his participation would in turn alter the lives of several children in the village. While they explored sustainable agriculture and business strategies on Toleza Farm, the group also learned from villagers about the power of educating girls to raise the local standard of living.
“At the end of an amazing trip our group formed the concept and seed-funded the Daughters of Toleza scholarship, a nonprofit that empowers one Malawian girl at a time with expanded life choices, by supporting her secondary education,” said Don, a building contractor who lives in western Massachusetts. Don’s capstone was a feasibility study for emerging organic or specialty markets, enabling the Toleza Farm management to positively address critical business practices and assure its sustained economic vitality.
“After five years of fund raising, the Daughters of Toleza supports eight Malawian girls who go to the Bakhita Secondary School, a boarding school located in Balaka,” said Don. One of the founding members of the scholarship fund, he is focused on giving back and serving the greater good by being a very active fundraiser, the Facebook page manager, and a primary contact with the Malawian team and the Bakhita School. Learn more at www.daughtersoftoleza.org.