Veronika Tye is at a unique crossroads in her life – one in which she is embracing entrepreneurship while embarking on one of the biggest projects of her lifetime alongside Collective Calling: the Centre of Hope in Tanzania for children who are victims of abuse, neglect, poverty, or broken relationships.

The common thread that runs through both these ventures is the desire to help those in need. This passion is as much part of Veronika’s essence as is her love for her children. She is a busy mother-of-three and loving wife to her husband Martin, a businessman from the UK who has called Marbella home for many years (the couple previously lived in Cambridge).

Life 4U

Life 4U is the fitting name of Veronika’s business, founded with one essential aim: to make life easier for people relocating to the Coast. “Since I moved here myself, I know all the challenges involved – everything from locating the right home to finding a good veterinarian.” Life 4U guides newcomers to the area, with advice or referrals for visas and other permits, home searches, accountancy/tax advice, insurance, healthcare, kids (schools, clubs, etc.), pets, sports and lifestyle choices, and utilities. The company suits Veronika to a tee: “I completed my Law degree in the Czech Republic and although I cannot practise as a lawyer here, my business is the perfect avenue through which to exercise my legal skills,” she says. She understands that people coming to a new country can often feel ‘lost’. They wish to make their own discoveries, without feeling like they are missing out on ‘insider knowledge’ that can make a big difference to their lifestyle.

Heeding the Call for Change

Earlier this year, Veronika made a life-changing journey to Tanzania alongside Collective Calling. If you are a regular reader of , then you will know that this organisation was founded by hardworking couple, Paul and Gemma Carr. Indeed, this dynamic duo is the reason why Veronika was motivated to head directly to Tanzania: “They are such genuine people. They work personally on their projects and make real change happen and that inspired me to make a similar change in my own life. I have three children and I wanted them to understand how privileged they are compared to children in some other parts of the world. I wanted to do something they could see with their own eyes and this project gave me the chance to do that.” Three months after starting the round of vaccinations required, Veronika took the 36-hour journey (comprising four flights) to Tanzania.

What is Collective Calling?

Collective Calling is a Spanish registered NGO with international permissions that carries out ‘boots on the ground’ projects to accomplish its objectives. Currently, the charity is working on the Centre of Hope – a transitional rescue centre for street children. Veronika joined Paul, Gemma, and other volunteers to set it up, with three main aims: to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintegrate. The main goal is “to help get children back home.”

An Emotional Journey

Veronika had to prepare well for her journey; it would open her eyes to a level of suffering she (and indeed most people) could not imagine existed. “As our vehicle drove through the area, outside, there were so many children just walking or standing in the streets, without attending school, many without a home to go to.” What has propelled many of them to such a life is extreme poverty. “Sometimes, families are so poor that they can no longer afford to sustain the eldest child and the latter ends up on the street.”

Prostitution is also rife. At the Centre of Hope, four of the 15 children were pulled directly from child prostitution. Collective Calling’s Outreach Team works to build a relationship of trust with the children, equipping them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for long-term success at home with their families. Veronika is filled with emotion as she talks about how happy the children were to find a home in this rescue centre. “Some had never slept on a bed before.” Despite having nothing, she says, they were incredibly generous. “During my two-week stay, not once did the children fight over possessions.”

The Centre of Hope

The team at Collective Calling built everything from the ground-up, laying bricks, painting, and decorating the interiors. “There are two buildings – one for boys, one for girls. A matron sleeps in a room between both groups, to ensure safety and tranquillity prevails at all times.” Children are provided with new clothing, nutritious meals, and education. They are also assessed psychologically for induced trauma and signs of PTSD. Each child then has a personalised plan created for them and they are enrolled in an education programme that provides ‘accelerated learning’, so they can re-enter the school system. “Children who may have missed school for months or years may find it impossible to join the education system, since they may be very behind academically. The Centre of Hope, which currently has 32 beds for the children, seeks to bridge that gap, so they can start schooling once more when they are reunited with their families.”

Helping Families Generate Income

Collective Calling tries to help children and their families make a decent income, so that minors do not have to be sent out to earn money. They can make a living in many ways – for instance, by making soap and crafts and selling them at the local markets. Others can help by cleaning market stalls at the end of a busy day. “We have given some families chickens (from which they can obtain eggs), as well as seeds to grow. Many don’t have a businesslike way of thinking – for instance, they aren’t used to bargaining and negotiation. We are trying to teach them these vital skills,” notes Veronika.

The Work Continues Back Home

Veronika is already planning on going back to the Centre, stating, “Your mission truly starts when you get home because of how the trip affected you as a person.” She is working hard to do her best to raise awareness of the project, both at her children’s school (Aloha College, which pledged the proceeds from a ‘non-uniform day’ to Collective Calling and donated old uniforms) and on a wider scale. “The Centre still needs a playground and more animals such as pigs, goats, chickens, and rabbits. Another big issue is water; we need to build another well. The Centre also requires a mini-van, since at the moment, their only source of transport is the director’s motorbike. We additionally need to build accommodation for staff, because many live very far away and spend long hours commuting to and from the premises.”

How Can You Help?

Veronika is organising two fundraising events, with all proceeds going to Collective Calling’s Centre of Hope. The first is a Christmas Charity Gala on December 12 at excellent new restaurant, Boho Club, to sample cuisine by Michelin-starred Chef, Diego del Río. The night will include live entertainment, a welcome drink, and a three-course meal. This event is now sold-out. The second is a sporty beach event called He or She Who Dares Swims. This will take place on January 26 at 12 midday at San Pedro Beach. Swimmers will don wetsuits and brave the cold waters of the Mediterranean for a 100-metre swim. Each participant will be sponsored by family, friends, and local businesses, so whether you would like to swim, donate, or simply show your support, keep this event marked in your calendar.