The Team

David Gridley – Chairman

For a number of years David was a Trustee and the Deputy Chairman of the Canterbury Oast Trust (COT), a Kent based Charity. COT provides opportunities for people with learning difficulties.
David was involved in the setting up of the LEO Trust in 1992 – “Lifetime Equality and Opportunity” for adults with learning difficulties and was a Trustee and the Chairman of this Charity for many years until he retired from both positions.
This means that he has an insight into the running of Charities, how they can be organised, fund raising and he also gained valuable experience in dealing with the Charity Commission.

David also has experience in running a business as he is a Founder Member and Senior Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management.

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Simon Payne – Trustee

Born in Kenya and lived there for the first 6 years of his life. Simon’s mother was born and brought up in Uganda and his family still has strong connections with East Africa.

Between school and the end of his undergraduate degree he spent a significant amount of time working with NGOs in Central and Latin America including a gap year and 12 month placement which was part of his degree course.

Following his undergraduate course, Simon went on to complete a Masters Degree in Development Studies. Following this he worked for 15 months with a Christian Conservation Charity called “A Rocha International” doing a mixture of research, fundraising and project management both in the UK and overseas.

In 2004, Simon started a new company with his brother called Blue Forest of which Simon is Director. Blue Forest is a sustainable, design and construction company specialising in tree houses and raised structures. Blue Forest has developed close links with a number of charities including ASSETS in Kenya and ARK (Absolute Return for Kids).

Simon brings a good deal of experience in the charity field and has an in-depth knowledge of East Africa. As a Company Director, Simon brings with him business skills which are extremely important when running a Charity.

Simon - Kenya (2)

David Cole – Trustee

David has not been actively involved in the Charity sector before apart from raising many tens of thousands of pounds for various charities over the years.

He heads up a highly successful business as a Principal Partner of St. James’s Place Wealth Management and this brings a great wealth of business acumen, drive and determination which is absolutely required not only to run a successful business but also to help run a successful Charity.

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All three Trustees have business experience that is vital to running a successful Charity, all have raised many thousands of pounds for various Charities throughout the world and all have a great interest in Africa and, in particular, to helping disadvantaged children to be educated.

Bentry Kalanga – Director

Bentry is Country Director of the Tongole Foundation. He is passionate about improving education and conservation of the environment as well as wildlife. He believes in partnership between business in wild life reserve, government and the community so that all parties value and benefit from the symbiotic relationship.

He is also passionate about improving basic education around the reserve so that children can realize their right to education. Despite the many challenges children face in attaining their right to education, every intervention or assistance made makes a difference in their lives and contributes to their attaining the goal. Education  is key to opening the children’s better future.


Louise Cole-Miller – Projects Co-coordinator

Louise joined the Tongole Foundation in July 2012 as Projects Coordinator. Louise has had various jobs over the years from working at the London Dungeon as an actor to a Duty Manager/High Ropes Instructor at Go Ape. Louise worked for Voluntary Action within Kent (VAWK) a charity that works with young disabled people before committing her full time to the Tongole Foundation. Louise is based in Goudhurst, Kent.


 Maluza Banda – Community Liaison Officer

Our Tongole Foundation Community Liaison Officer Maluza Banda. Before joining us, Maluza worked with World Vision International for many years. Maluza is from Nkhotakota and understands the community where we work very well .


(Maluza in the middle of David Cole and Bentry Kalanga)