The last twelve months have been both busy and emotional for the family of British pilot Roger Gower who was killed on the 29 January last year after being shot by an elephant poacher he was tracking, while flying a helicopter over the Mwiba game reserve in Tanzania.
Since his death, Roger’s family have been building the foundations to continue the former Tropic Air Kenya pilot’s mission, establishing a charity focused on saving Africa’s wildlife through education.
In Roger’s memory, they have founded the charity ‘Born to Fly’, with the ambition that African children and wildlife can realise their full potential, much as the pilot realised his dream to fly.
Born to Fly will initially focus on two education projects, one at Kipsing Secondary School in Kenya and another school in Tanzania.
During a visit to Kenya towards the end of October last year, Roger’s family visited the Kenyan school where the 250 students gave them a warm welcome.
They used their time on site to discuss plans to develop the school further including new dormitories, a kitchen and dining area as well as boys and girls sanitation blocks.
By developing schools in troubled areas, Born to Fly aims help children gain the education and skills they need to earn a livelihood and realise their potential. Just as importantly, these projects will help build stronger communities focused on protecting their wildlife and able to thrive without resorting to poaching.
So far, over £250,000 has been raised to fund these projects and the family say they have been “humbled” by the support they have received so far. However, to complete both projects, further funds are needed.
To help raise awareness of Born to fly, a new website and Facebook page have been launched which have more information about Roger and the kind of person that he was, the family’s trip to see the school in Kenya, their meetings with Prince William and Bear Grylls at the Tusk Conservation Awards Dinner, as well as how they chose the name of the charity and further details about the projects they are working on.