Our Team

Our team at Lesedi continues to expand year on year. The image above shows our teachers with Fiona and Graeme in late 2018. Our team at Lesedi has now grown to 37 employees, including teachers, nurses and support staff.

We are fortunate to have an exceptional headteacher at Lesedi Primary School. Mrs Mutori is highly experienced and very ambitious for the educational standards at the school. She has a wonderful nature and we are thankful that she has adopted the school and children as her own. She is very ably assisted by her deputy, Cathy Ncube.

With Lesedi Secondary School opening for Form 1 students in early 2022, we welcomed four additional teachers to the Lesedi team. More will be needed as the school expands. More recently a special needs teacher has joined the team, to assist those of our learners with educational challenges.

Lesedi Clinic is in the capable hands of our matron-in-charge, Sister Irene, who leads a small team including the effervescent Sister Monica and a couple of nurse-aides from the local community.

The trustees of the Ngoko Charitable Trust, which established and continues to fund Lesedi School & Clinic, are Fiona & Graeme Thompson and Benson Siyawareva. Fiona and Graeme are married and are based in the United Kingdom and Benson lives in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The three of them met on safari in Botswana in 2001 and have remained firm friends ever since.

Fiona Thompson
Trained as chartered accountant with Coopers & Lybrand and spent 10 years working in the financial sector post-qualification. Her final role in corporate life was Assistant Director at UBS Wealth Management UK. In 2005, Fiona co-founded Ngoko Safaris with Benson, specializing in bespoke privately guided safaris throughout Southern Africa. They continue to run the safari company together, with Fiona handling bookings from the UK.

Fiona is the main contact for donors and she also handles the administration of our child sponsorship program.

Graeme Thompson
Also a chartered accountant, Graeme spent 15 years working in the Energy Industry before becoming Chief Financial Officer at HS1 Ltd for several years. He now splits his time between various roles, including honorary treasurer and trustee of a wildlife trust and trustee of a £6bn pension fund. Graeme looks after all the finances of the charity, including the sponsorship program. He is also personally a major donor to the charity.

Benson Siyawareva
Benson rarely needs an introduction as most people seem to know of him, even if they haven't actually met him. He has been involved in the safari industry for many years, and is an exceptional pro safari guide. Co-founder of Ngoko Safaris, Benson has become a role model and mentor to many younger guides in the industry. Benson had the foresight and drive to start the Lesedi project, and has personally project-managed all of the development, from dealing with officials and the local community, negotiating with suppliers, transporting materials to site, overseeing construction and being the "go-to" person for any problems at the school or clinic. In any country this would have been a challenge; in Zimbabwe it has required a super-human effort, particularly as he continues to guide safaris as well. In the process of doing all this, Benson has saved the charity a fortune by ensuring all materials are bought at the very best prices, whether from Victoria Falls, Harare, Zambia or Botswana, and by project managing all the work himself, employing and training locals for the construction projects. He has ruined his own Toyota Hilux - not once but twice - ferrying all the construction materials around (along with an occasional baobab tree being re-homed at Lesedi). He views the damage to his vehicles as a personal contribution to the charity. Given that Benson has dedicated every waking moment to Lesedi in recent years (when not guiding safaris), missing out on valuable family-time and shouldering levels of stress most of us would not survive, that fact that he still feels he needs to make a contribution to the charity says everything that needs to be said about him. Benson is an inspiration to us all!

When we first started Lesedi, none of the trustees had any idea how big the project would become. To a large extent it has taken over all our lives, and will continue to do so for many years to come. We are all committed to the future of Lesedi and feel an immense privilege to have such an opportunity to make a difference.

Most of the Lesedi team are shown below: