I had often thought about, but never quite got round to, sponsoring a child in need of support in Africa, and so it made total sense to add this to my list of ’40 before 40’ challenges and tasks.
I carried out some research online as I really wanted to find an organisation where the money I donated would go directly towards helping a child, rather than into a big pot of money which then got spent in different ways. This was just what felt right for me. After working my way through a long list of possibilities, I also decided that I wanted to support a smaller charity as opposed to one of the large organisations, as I felt that small ones often get overlooked as they don’t necessarily have the means to promote and publicise their work.
Eventually, I settled on an organisation called ‘Equipe’, whose aims revolve around partnership working in order to make a difference to the lives of people in East Africa. Their child sponsorship scheme is £15 per month, and Equipe promise that every penny of this money goes directly to a child in terms of assisting with their schooling, including books, stationery, uniform, school meals and any required medical care. In cases where children are resident at a school it also pays for additional food, clothing, bedding and other basic essentials like toilet paper and simple grass brooms.
Soon after applying to take part in the children sponsorhip scheme, I was contacted by email by John Gasston, who is based in Uganda and runs the programme, along with his wife Sue. John sent me a copy of their latest newsletter, and told me of a tiny six-year old girl (who I shall refer to as ‘C’) who is based at a school in Kampala and had recently lost her sponsor. He sent me a photo of C and gave me some brief details about her achievements at school. It was really lovely, and unexpected, to receive such a personal response and know that John and Sue are so well placed to provide updates, and to keep an eye on the various Equipe projects and how the children are doing.
I may be very slightly poorer money-wise each month, but I am certainly much richer for knowing that my contribution is directly supporting a child in need. If you are interested in finding out more about Equipe, you can visit their website, which is updated periodically due to internet availability. The best way for those out in Africa to keep people up-to-date is via their Facebook pages Maranatha Gateway and Equipe 1, so do have a look/like if you are on Facebook.
It has long been on my bucket list to travel to Africa myself to volunteer for a period of time, and Equipe organise for groups of sponsors/volunteers to go out each year. So, inadvertently, I have also managed to make a great new contact for the future. I am away next week on a trip that I may not have got round to booking had it not been for my ’40 before 40’ list, so there will of course be an update on that in a few weeks.
For now, love and very worthy causes
Links to previous blogs in this series
#1: Eat an oyster