For reports from our projects and other news please download or view our most recent Newsletters.
FROM AUTUMN 2021 NEWSLETTER
THE ‘KAKAMEGA PROJECT’ (RUSH), KENYA
We have received greetings cards from the children we sponsor to attend the RUSH Academy School and have been kept in touch with developments there via Zoom meetings with the Kenyan staff. The feedback we have been getting has been effective via International Needs the charity that took over from the Surrey based school teachers who originally set up RUSH. As a consequence we have decided to sponsor another child at the school which will move our funding back to its level before the new charity took over.
SEURR SANG’HIDA TRUST – ENTASOPIA PRIMARY SCHOOL, NKURUMAN, KENYA
We have heard that, during periods of lockdown in Kenya, the project has been able to provide food aid to the families of the disabled children who we support to attend the school.
Mo Atkins has passed us money from “bucket collections” held in Walton to which we can add Gift Aid. In May we sent £1000 including money from the Walton collections to help with providing hearing aids and education for deaf children and adults in Nkuruman. They are hoping to help blind children as well in the future.
BREAD, BEREGA, TANZANIA
The Epilepsy Clinic we fund at Berega Hospital is continuing to expand its outreach programme to remote villages. The specially trained Epilepsy nurse, Charles, has been using the IT tablet that we helped to fund to keep records of his visits to the outlying villages and to produce useful reports to send back to the UK.
The Chair of the BREAD Trust Charity in the UK, who act as our link to Berega, has told us that there is a need for improvements in the water supply to the hospital and orphanage which they also support. The initial requirement is for a survey to identify the best place to dig a new well so that it will not just draw water from the same aquifer as the existing wells. We have sent £500 to initiate the new well project and have been in contact with OWG, another Surrey Overseas Aid Trust based in Oxted, who have told us that they would be interested in helping to contribute to the cost of constructing the well.
FISH EAGLE SCHOOL, TANZANIA
We funded materials for villagers to construct desks for a new local school which was expected to open this year. Unfortunately the impact of COVID on the local economy, which partly depends on tourism, has caused the project to be delayed. We are told that some vaccine is available locally but, unfortunately, the previous Tanzanian President’s anti-vaccination rhetoric has persuaded many of the rural population that they should not be vaccinated with “western made” medicine. It is hoped that the situation will improve over time so that teachers can be recruited. In the meanwhile our desks are being safely stored.
MTANDIKA TRADE SCHOOL, TANZANIA
In spite of COVID, lack of rain for crops and insufficient government funding, St. Agnes College is developing well. It is expanding its vocational courses to include hotel management as well as tailoring and electrical engineering. The graduating students are all getting very good jobs when they leave so that is very encouraging. We sponsor two teachers and six students and sent them some additional funding this year to assist them with COVID related extra cost.
CALCUTTA CATHEDRAL RELIEF SERVICE, INDIA
You will have read of the very difficult situation in India with respect to COVID. We sent an additional £1,000 to them this year for a project they are running to increase nutrition amongst the poorest families. We were delighted to hear that their Nari Dana Project, which we support, has continued to provide skills training to some of the most disadvantaged women and girls during the health emergency.
NEPALESE SCHOOL TEACHERS, KERUNG, NEPAL (in the foothills of Mt Everest)
Communications are difficult in the Himalayas but we did hear in August from our Sherpa friend that some people in the village were sick with COVID and several had died but still no vaccines were available. Many adults had no jobs because of lockdown so feeding people was a problem. The money we sent to pay for 2 x teachers had been collected so we suggested that some of it could be used immediately to buy food for impoverished families. Replacement funds to pay the teachers will be sent when the school is open again.
EMMANUEL SCHOOL, MYANMAR (BURMA)
During this year we managed to send extra funds so the school could increase the number of lunches they provide for refugee children to 4 per week. Sadly our most recent report revealed that COVID has reached the refugee camp where the school is located. Two of the five teachers have contracted the disease and the school is currently closed. We have told the project to use our funds to still provide food for the children if that is possible and to pay furlough type wages to the staff who normally provide the lunches.
Preparing the lunches at Emmanuel school that are funded by TWOAT
AMBONDROMIFEHY WATER & NURSERY SCHOOL PROJECT, MADAGASCAR
Madagascar has experienced two major waves of COVID, with many confirmed cases and deaths. The larger second wave occurred in February to June 2021, probably caused by the Delta variant. Medical services & infrastructure in Madagascar are very limited and reported numbers probably understate the actual state. Ambondromifehy is in a rural mining area, so there has been less spread of the virus than in the towns and cities, but also fewer support facilities when infection does occur. After significant disruption throughout 2020-21, the new school year has just begun this September, and we are waiting to see how many parents are confident to send their children back to school. TWOAT has confirmed their previous level of support for the coming year, which meets over 50% of the school’s running costs. We have also offered a small amount of additional funding if this is required to meet additional COVID-related costs. The school have said that they will let us know if this is needed.
The school informs us of the progress of current and past students, and a number of these are now doing really well in senior schools, building on the foundation they received at Les Petits Saphirs. The village and the local MU group, through whom we channel TWOAT funds, are very grateful for the sustained support.
We have continued to support most of the projects that we helped in 2019/20 but have had less news from some due to COVID. We sent £1,000 as our contribution to a Rotary supported project to install 20 x wells in Sri Lanka. The funds we sent to Ludhiana Hospital in India allowed poorer patients with COVID to be treated by the hospital. In other cases, such as the summer camps we have supported in Albania, we will add our 2020/2021 support to next year’s donation. We took on a new project this year Let It Grow which has run small water pipelines to a village a few miles from Lake Malawi. Our funds will allow 8 new families to join the scheme which provides seeds and a plot of land as well as water to irrigate.
HISTORIC REPORTS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS
For those of you concerned about the school TWOAT supports in Sierra Leone, the mud slide was in a different area of the city although “our school” has had some damage from the rainfall.
I have been in touch with our contact Ruth and she will let us know what is happening with respect to repairs etc. In the meanwhile you can follow their progress via their Facebook page here:
The Home for orphans and abandoned children suffered some damage to the roof and childrens’ bedding as a result of torrential rains in the Spring which affected the town of Chosica very badly. The Home was also cut off from normal communications which meant that funds usually received from the UK were not forthcoming. This required Betty Attwell, who runs the Home, to obtain bank loans to keep the Home going. We have asked for details of the damage costs and the interest payable on the loans to see if we can help with these. In the meantime we sent our usual annual donation of £900 in February.
You can see a video showing the floods in Lima (but not our orphanage) here
COMUS, EL SALVADOR
Our support of COMUS has finished because they are now being funded by a Canadian charity. Through our ‘link’ man in Salvador, Jamie Coutts, who formerly worked for COMUS, we have been given details of a secondary school project which is endeavouring to educate pupils on the value of compost and its creation. We sent £500 to Jamie for the Project in February. We expect to have a report from Jamie in due course on how the project is going.
Here is a report of a meeting with Jamie
Meeting with Jamie Coutts on 25th September 2017
Present: John Allinson, Adrienne Elliott, Arely Rodriguez Coutts, Jamie Coutts
TWOAT’S funding now supports a project at the El Sauce State School in Sonsonate, Salvador. (sponsored by the Canadian Charity (www.rainbowofhopeforchildren.ca/project ). The project was set up by Brenda Carpio in 2004 and Jamie has been employed since 2010 It is called the “ El Sauce Mini Farm” This has worked in 3 other establishments in Sonsonate since this time and is now working with the primary and secondary schools as well.
The project is based on creating an organic produce-only i.e kitchen garden with compost and Bio ferments (liquid fertilisers) and making all the types of fertilisers and fungicides and insecticides in house. It then demonstrates its value by growing vegetables for the School kitchen ( the State provides only a limited amount of basic food, the School then having to provide the rest, as well as paying the cooks ) as well as for local markets and children’s parents.
The Project has been most successful. Our funding helps towards a salary for Francisco who looks after the vegetable plots in conjunction with the composting project. School children aged 7-17 work in the garden.
The success of the garden project has expanded into the local community and some produce is sold locally at a fair price. There are 18 crops in production without any use of chemicals.
A major focus is to educate the children, who are mostly urban, in growing crops. The children make the compost and dig it in ( double digging to improve the soil ), sow the plants and harvest the crops. The education of the children has been significant. As local gardens are small, Francisco is also encouraging the use of hanging gardens in them constructed from Coca Cola bottles to grow herbs and vegetables.
Jamie told us how the word spreads and the community now helps in the making of the compost. He has provided a breakdown of the quantity of the produce of the “Mini Farm” from 210 to date
El Sauce Mini Farm is now providing teaching to other schools and local people on composting and growing vegetables. Knowledge is spreading throughout the community.
“El Hobo”, a local cooperative, provides manure free to the “Mini Farm”.
Brenda Carpio Brooks is the local co-ordinator of Rainbow of Hope in El Salvador which receives sponsorship of the project from Canada.
Brenda is the contact with Mrs Clara Qualizza and Mr Don Shaeren who started the garden project in 2004, In 2014 help came from McCains of Canada ( a soil renovation and land regeneration business arising from the oil industry ) which has been donating $US35.000 pa to the Charity through Canadian Tax relief.
The current slump in oil has meant that from June this year McCains cannot continue to fund the school. As a result, TWOAT may be asked to help more towards Francisco’s salary. At present, he receives $325 a month from the Rainbow Trust but funding towards his salary will stop in December.
There are 1568 pupils in school – half attend in the morning and half in the afternoon. The school was originally built with German funding. A PTA oversees the running of the school.
Mrs Clara Qualizza has now approached the Alberta Provincial government for funding and her request has been co written by Brenda Brooks with help from the technical team from the school.
John suggested that funding from TWOAT can be split between a salary increase for Francisco and any other compost project costs. Jamie will keep us posted as to how funding could best be used.
ST JOHN SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, GAMBIA
The School has had major problems with the ‘ageing’ buses it uses to bring pupils to School. The vast majority of pupils have to be brought in by bus because otherwise they would simply not be able to reach the School. Ideally the School needs new or good condition second hand buses, a very costly exercise! As last year, we sent £1000 in February towards the expense of operating the buses but this can only go so far in meeting the transport costs. Other needs have been considered by us but we don’t feel able to meet them.
THE ‘HELWEL’ TRUST, Kwa Zulu, Natal, SOUTH AFRICA
The development programme for Practitioners who provide Training and Resources in Early Education (TREE) for young children in Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa continues and we support it with £900 per year. We will be having a representative from the charity speaking at our Annual Social Meeting in October.
Elizabeth Noble, a former school teacher in Reigate, and her friend Joan, continue to be very active in helping the village of Kakamega and the area around it. Elizabeth gave us a very good update on the project at last year’s AGM. From the donations given at the meeting, together with our usual annual donation, we sent the Project £1500 in January to be used for another “Jigger” flea medical camp and other needs as determined by Elizabeth and Joan.
The Trust aims to rehabilitate children who are suffering from disabilities of various kinds in the area around the village of Entasopia, about 50 km SW of Nairobi. This year the Trust has been improving the accommodation at its school in the village and we sent a donation of £750 in June towards this.
We are continuing to support the teachers’ salaries and are receiving feedback through the web site WWW.SWATS.CO.UK which is the fund raising UK operation and the charity’s Facebook page. Whilst the school itself was fortunately not directly impacted by the disastrous recent mud-slide, some relatives of teachers and children were not so lucky. The school has suffered damage to its roof from the heavy rain and we are waiting to hear from the project what extra help might be needed.
RAINBOW AFRICA, ZAMBIA
The Rainbow Africa Operations’ centre is based in Livingstone, Zambia close to the beautiful Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. The King’s Primary School on this site currently provides high quality education for over 400 children in 9 grades of 2-form entry and has been running for 15 years. The school, is consistently achieving some of the highest results in the Southern province, and so it comes as no surprise that there is great demand for places. TWOAT is sponsoring 2 girls, Zangi and Blessing, who attend the school. As well as an education they get a meal a day and health care. We receive regular reports on the children’s progress
CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL, LUDHIANA, INDIA
CMC is one of the top medical colleges in India. Patients who can afford it are able to access a wide range of specialities. But the very poor soon find that the bill for investigation and treatment is far beyond their means. The doctors can then apply for help to their Good Samaritan Fund, to which TWOAT contributes £500 a year.
CALCUTTA CATHEDRAL RELIEF SERVICE
As in many of the poorer parts of the world, knowledge and self-confidence help people to use the services that are available in their country. CRS works with women in some of the slums of Kolkata. Courses in tailoring, and in beautician training, include business management so that women can set up their own small business with confidence. Health sessions include safe sanitation, spotting signs of TB or breast cancer, children’s immunizations, etc., as well as how to access government services when needed. TWOAT sends £1000 a year to CRS towards this work.
Much has been accomplished in the last year in bringing this old hospital back to life. Drs. Shubhro and Elisabeth Mullick (both of whom have worked at CMC Ludhiana) are still only able to do out-patient work, because of lack of permanent staffing. However, an eye team from Malda Medical College has offered to come and hold ‘eye camps’ about twice a month. The surgeons will bring their own instruments and do examinations and operations, with OPD follow-up by their technicians. This work cannot start until suitable rooms have been repaired and re-roofed, and TWOAT has sent £1000 for this work. The roof is now water-tight so work can be done on the inside of the buildings.
For the last 7 years via Papua Partners TWOAT has been paying the salary of Yepina Matuan. She started her career as a midwife but is now responsible for a wide range of health programmes in Yasumat, a locally established charity whose name stands for Social Foundation for Isolated Peoples. The Papua Partners project is run by a couple, one of whose family home was in Westcott Surrey. In addition to healthcare and education the project is heavily involved in developing social cohesion amongst peoples who have only recently moved on from Stone Age technology. You can read more about their work on their web site
AMBONDROMIFEHY WATER & NURSERY SCHOOL PROJECT, MADAGASCAR
Ambondromifehy is a small village whose adults mostly work in a nearby sapphire mine in the north of Madagascar. In 2010 TWOAT helped the local Mothers’ Union to establish a small nursery school. The community continued to press for the school to take on more children and extend education into later years. TWOAT increased its annual support to £1,500 to help this to happen. However, as described in the opening section of this newsletter, a disaster at the local mine has put the school’s continuing existence in its present form in doubt. We are waiting for further news of the mine’s likely future so that we can review with our MU contact how best to preserve some educational capability in the village.
NEPALESE SCHOOL TEACHER, KERUNG, NEPAL (in the foothills of Mt Everest)
Our Nepalese school suffered another setback this year when the central government told them that previously promised money to replace TWOAT funding of an extra year group teacher could not be provided as national earthquake costs had consumed all their spare resources. The extra teacher saves a whole class of 11 year olds from having to trek several miles every day through the mountains to the nearest secondary school. Providentially a trust administered by a Tadworth family has very generously provided us with a donation of £2,000 which will fund the additional teacher for at least another year by which time the Nepalese government might be in a better position to take on this responsibility.
The Government of Tanzania has recently failed to send the wages for Berega Hospital staff. They have said this situation will be rectified but the money is still awaited and the UK Charity BREAD which helps the hospital has only limited resources to cover this shortfall. We have asked them to keep us in touch with the situation – our own ability to help is not great but we continue to send £500 per year.
We regularly send £750 pa to help with running costs that include providing a sewing machine for each graduate to give them a start in life. The school, run by nuns, previously focused on education for girls but a new government policy requiring co-education has resulted in their expanding their teaching so that in future boys can learn electrical engineering and building construction. In future we will send additional funds to help the school achieve this.
PROJECT TO SUPPORT BURMESE REFUGEES EMMANUEL SCHOOL
This school with 192 children and 7 teachers is located in Thailand near the border with Myanmar. The children are those of Karen refugees who have been displaced from Myanmar as a result of a continuous conflict with the Myanmar central Government that dates back to WW2 when the Karen were allies of the British fighting both the Japanese and the then central Government of Burma. The organisation we work through is called H4FA which means Help for Forgotten Allies. They fund the school which costs £7,500 per year, as well as giving small stipends to those pensioners who fought with British forces in WW2. We currently provide £500 per year which is about the cost of one of the teachers. Unfortunately the situation of the refugees has not improved despite the new regime in Myanmar and if anything is even more uncertain as the Thai Government would prefer the camps to be removed.
This year we made a small contribution to a school party from Sussex visiting and working at a school in Moldova. We provided £55 towards the cost of a children’s summer camp in Albania via Light Force International. We have continued to send tools (electric or hand) for renovation and despatch to poor countries – please contact John Allinson if you have any such tools. The majority of our projects now entail some degree of ongoing commitment of financial support into future years as this helps the project leaders to plan ahead. The current commitment list into 2018 has identified expenditure of nearly £20,000 but as mentioned previously we may have to adjust this upwards if the pound’s exchange rate falls.
In order to plan for these future commitments it greatly assists us if regular donations are provided by means of Standing Orders – forms for this can be obtained from John Tedder. It also helps us if we can communicate with supporters via email. If you now have access to an email address, please let us know via the chairman’s email below.
Finally we are always interested in welcoming new people onto our committee especially if you live in Walton or Kingswood as our current committee is rather centred on Tadworth.