Our Strawberry Promise means that part of the tips given on all our tours will be donated by the guide to a local charity. In each city that we operate we choose carefully a charity that in our opinion is doing great work to help local communities where they’re struggling most. But why do we do it?
Strawberry Tours and Responsible Tourism
At Strawberry Tours we believe in Responsible Tourism. We believe that tourism can be an activity which is beneficial not just for our customers but for every local community in which we operate.
Responsible tourism has two main aspects:
- Enhancing local cultures throughout the world
- Having a positive impact on local communities
The very nature of our work takes care of the first aspect, as on our tours you will get a deep understanding of the culture that you are visiting. Our tours highlight the cultural eccentricities of each individual city that make unique, and thus we help it’s preservation.
As for the second aspect partially the nature of our company takes care for it. As we provide a platform for local guides to be able to to show the city that they grew up in and love. Not only that, we provide them with a business infrastructure through helping them create their own Strawberry Tours franchise. That way every time you go on a Strawberry Tour, regardless where you are in the world, you will be supporting a local enterprise.
However, that only takes care of it partially, as we want to have an even bigger positive impact in the local communities where we operate. For this part we needed to be more proactive, so that’s why we decided to create the Strawberry Promise, to take our commitment that little bit further.
Our Current Charity in Cairo: The Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCHE)
The Children’s Cancer Hospital (CCHE) is a unique healthcare institution and a good example of what people can achieve when they work together on a good cause. The people of Egypt, and people from all over the world have happily donated to establish this state-of-the-art pediatric oncology hospital to help children with cancer have a happier life.
Inspired by St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in the U.S, the CCHE is the largest hospital in the world in terms of capacity (320 beds). The CCHE, a completely free hospital in 2007, provides the best, comprehensive, family-centered quality care and a chance for a cure to all children with cancer without any discrimination whatsoever.
The CCHE offers its patients a wide range of the most updated diagnostics and treatment services including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, bone marrow transplant, multi-disciplinary clinics, physical rehabilitation, socio-psychological care, palliative care, survivorship care and in-house schooling. Since its inception, the CCHE has realized that research in medical and non-medical areas of hospital operations is a pre-requisite to cure children with cancer. The CCHE uses the most advanced health informatics system of Cerner which supports the complete digitalization of hospital operations, its acquisition of a strong data base, and its transformation into a paperless hospital.
The CCHE doesn't only try to increase childhood cancer survival rate in Egypt from less than an estimated 40% to the western rates of 75-80% overall survival, but it also seeks to create a new system of healthcare where management and treatment utilize the most scientific approach practiced today. Currently the CCHE achieves a 74.7% cancer survival rate, setting an example of a leading healthcare hospital, a change agent and a comprehensive institution for curing and preventing childhood cancer.
In the early 1980s at the National Cancer Institute of Egypt (NCI), pediatric oncology physicians were too frustrated to see 13 young children out of 16 having cancer, sadly pass away. At that time the survival rate of cancer in North America was around 65-70%, making physicians and scientists believe that children's cancer could be cured. In the 1980s the Egyptian economy was starting to flourish and communicable and life threatening diseases such as cancer were coming under control. In the late 1970s the National Cancer Institute had already opened a new pediatric oncology school.
The pediatric oncology physicians, devastated by what was happening to the children, made a vow to (do their best) to better the precarious conditions of the pediatric oncology school. However, they lacked the necessary resources, the up-to-date methods and equipment and a safe environment to work in. The persistent physicians got the religious leadership in Egypt as well as business men to give donations, setting an example for the Egyptian people to follow. Over the next 10 years more and more donors joined in, and the pediatric oncology program went from a one-room ward with 8 beds and a tiny outpatient clinic to a 120-bed department and a modern outpatient clinic that would receive 150 patients a day and 1200 new patients every year.
The first Clinical Pharmacy in Egypt and the first Coordinated Volunteer Blood Donor Program were initiated at the NCI. Virology, microbiology, and cytogenetics labs were established to provide a better diagnostic service. Better medical services and expertise increased cancer survival rates resulting in receiving more and more children with cancer.
Physicians and families were beginning to see some hopes for a cure of cancer. Everybody was hoping to build a high standard hospital. The Media joined in, trying to raise the level of awareness of the Egyptian people and encourage them to donate. Egyptian businessmen put 250,000 Egyptian pounds into a campaign trying to raise funds necessary to build the hospital. The campaign was successful. Eight Million pounds were raised and the Egyptian government established 10 regional cancer centers all over the country. The idea of a-state-of-the-art hospital for children with cancer was beginning to take root.
In 1995 the Dean of the NCI decided to build a separate hospital which would be instrumental in increasing survival cancer rates. Four Egyptian women, famous for raising charity funds, agreed to spearhead the drive to build the hospital. The President of Cairo University provided a permission to build the hospital. In 2007 a completely free hospital was built, providing the best, comprehensive, family-centered quality care and a chance for a cure to all children with cancer without any discrimination whatsoever.