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Eve Branson Foundation

Eve Branson outlines the evolution of her foundation’s connection with polo

“I established the Eve Branson Foundation in 2005 to support education, employment and healthcare initiatives in the rural villages of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Since the beginning, the Foundation has been dedicated to enhancing living standards in some of the most impoverished communities. Very often these villages lack even the most basic amenities, illiteracy can be as high as 98% and girls often leave school at 13, with little prospects for their futures. My aim is to create positive opportunities, working in partnership with each village, to bring about economical and social transformation.

Today the Foundation’s initiatives include the provision of community craft houses and vocational training programmes for young women in the villages of Tansghart, Imskar, Tiwizi, Tamgounssi, Tifaouine and Asni. Women are trained by professional tutors to speak English and French, to embroider and knit and to create high-quality artisan products, for which we then try to establish a marketplace. I’ve seen entire communities transformed, through the provision of facilities and through the income-generating initiatives we’ve established. The major source of funding comes in the form of the annual polo fundraiser held at the Jnan Amar Polo Estate. You must be somewhat perplexed as to what part polo plays in the Eve Branson Foundation? Well, in April 2013 I brazenly contacted Amar Abdelhadi to appeal for his support. We met at Jnan Amar to discuss my mad idea to raise money through polo for my Foundation, I said ‘But Amar, can I trust you?’ Amar looked me in the eye and said ‘But Eve, can I trust you?’ We shook hands on it and we’ve been working together ever since! Against all the odds, that first polo tournament made £30,000 for the Eve Branson Foundation and in 2014, working in tri-partnership with British Polo Day at the Jnan Amar Polo Estate again, we raised an astonishing £130,000. We aim to continue to build on these successes and raise another record-breaking amount on 25th April, 2015. All funds raised allow us to maintain and expand the number and skills of the women in our educational and vocational programmes, as well as to research and develop exciting future projects within the communities.”

Posted 26 January, 2015

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