Slice of pizza profit handed over to help Tanzanian families

Vito Alongi and nephew Vito Vickers of the Jolly restaurant in Elm Row donate money from their pizzas to a charity run by John and Christine Carney. Picture: Alistair Linford
Vito Alongi and nephew Vito Vickers of the Jolly restaurant in Elm Row donate money from their pizzas to a charity run by John and Christine Carney. Picture: Alistair Linford
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An Edinburgh Italian restaurant has pledged to make a small donation from every sale of its best selling pizza to help feed children in Tanzania.

Pizza Aid is a new scheme of Busega Scotland - a charity that supports people in Tanzania through a range of projects including a children’s home and family support.

The charity was co-founded by Leith-born Christine Carney, 62, and husband John, 64, in 2015 following a trip to Mayega Children’s Centre while volunteering in Tanzania the previous year.

John said: “Most people who go to Africa will tell you it gets in their blood. The volunteering suited us but we felt like we could do more to fulfil the locals’ needs.

“The Mayega Children’s Centre had bed bug infested mattresses, no medical treatment, no water and no education. We just felt, after seeing this, we had to do something about it.”

Since the charity was launched, it has replaced the mattresses and installed a solar power system while a fresh water supply has been set up in the centre and in the village, meaning residents do not have to walk to collect contaminated water from Lake Victoria.

The children’s centre is home to 19 youngsters from a range of backgrounds. The aim is to make them safe and give them an education.

Learning English is key for the children to learn to enable them to apply for different vocational roles in Mwanza, the nearest city around 85 miles away.

John, who formerly worked in children’s services, added: “The children go to school, have medical treatment and get bulk supplies of food from Busega Scotland.

“We have had people in the children’s centre from a variety of backgrounds. One girl was found wandering in the Serengeti National Park, one child’s parents had died and another had been abused by members of their family.

“Our job is to make them feel safe and secure first and foremost. Then we try help them with their education to help them be the best they can be.”

Busega Scotland has seven volunteers who have flown out to offer their services in addition to the 10 members of staff overlooking the projects in Tanzania.

The charity is able to continue its work through regular donations and fundraising efforts. The latest method was a brainchild of Jolly Ristorante owner Vito Longi, who was approached by the couple.

He agreed to make a donation from every sale of its best selling dish, The Jolly Pizza, and he has handed over the first cheque to support residents in Busega.

Pizza Aid has gone international after Bituro Kazeri, the proprietor of Kuleana Pizzeria in Mwanza, also confirmed his support for the charity.

John said: “We are absolutely delighted with the donation. We approached Vito and he was on board straight away.

“It was his idea for the donation of every pizza sold too and we’re looking for anyone who can help us. If you can then please get in touch.”

To help Busega Scotland call 07936 383800 or go online to http://bit.ly/2E5haFt