Christina Dodwell is known as an explorer, she has spent 25 years travelling alone in remote and forgotten corners of the world including Africa, Asia, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. In the latter she set up a charity for children and family welfare which has changed the lives of thousands of young people.
Author of 9 travel books, she also made 40 radio documentaries for BBC Radio and 3 television films, winning a BAFTA TV award and a Gold Medal.
Her books have recently been re-published by Classic Travel books on http://www.classictravelbooks.com/authors/dodwell.htm
Her first journey was a 3-year African adventure (published as ‘Travels with Fortune’) travelling the wildest parts on horseback, by camel, and paddling a dugout canoe. She shared meals with witchdoctors, pygmies and hermits, was attacked by bandits and arrested as a spy.
For her second journey she went to Papua New Guinea, a 2-year epic which included 1000 miles on horseback and 4-months making the first descent by canoe of New Guinea’s largest river. She was initiated into honorary manhood through a blood ritual dedicated to crocodiles.
Other journeys and books followed, to Turkey and Iran, to China in her grandmother’s footsteps, to Kamchatka (beyond Siberia) where she spent a winter at minus 30 degrees and joined a Koryak dance group to go visiting remote tribes of reindeer herders. But it was in Madagascar with its ancestor cults, rituals of ‘turning the bones’, richness of unique wildlife yet devastating human poverty that Christina stopped to begin a new phase of her life.
She founded a British registered charity, The DODWELL TRUST, and began by creating the first radio drama serial ever broadcast nationally in Madagascar, to bring improvements to children’s health, family hygiene, education, and to help fight poverty issues. After training a team of local script-writers, actors and technicians funded by UNICEF, the serial was broadcast nationally and on 50 local radio stations throughout Madagascar. It ran for 5 years and won the hearts of 10 million faithful listeners. During this time she set up Madagascar’s first national feedback scheme for radio using donated wind-up radios.
Among her projects she built a primary school for children of a poor community in central Madagascar. Despite meagre resources, the Dodwell primary school’s results have been outstanding and each year every pupil has succeeded in passing the Ministry of Education’s exam. Beyond primary school, Christina runs a sponsorship scheme to cover the costs of the poorest and brightest into secondary school and college or into skills training. The Dodwell Trust’s aim is to empower young people through education to become able to take part in the development of their beautiful but little known island. There is still much to be done.
The project runs on a small budget and donations to the Dodwell Trust are very welcome.
Registered British Charity No 1030334