Monday, 14 April 2014

A Project Visit

Last month, my family and I were in Tanzania and had a chance to visit with Margaret and the Step by Step Learning Centre, which has been supported by some of you through Give Aid Direct.  The school itself is a rather nondescript building off the beaten track in Arusha (see the photo below) with a small garden and workshop, however there are little miracles happening there regularly.  Some of the children who are there or have graduated, came unable to speak and function, however with some initial love, care, and nutritious meals, they came alive.
Photo of Step by Step learning school in Arusha

Together we were able to provide tuition, meals, and transportation for Goddie, which struggles with autism and possible emotional and psychological trauma, however in many ways Goddie is lucky as he has an amazing younger brother.  While we visited, Goddie was still adjusting to coming to the Step by Step Learning centre, which takes a while, but improvements brought about nutritious meals were already visible.  Margaret, who runs the school, was very optimistic about the future for Goddie because of his supportive brother who is receiving support from the Foundation for Tomorrow as the family home situation is quite difficult.  Below is a video made by the school to show a bit more of what happens there.

We were excited and impressed by what we saw at the school and hope to continue to support them in various ways.  We hope you'll join us - click here to see the current opportunity to support the school on Give Aid Direct.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Where Cash is Used in Aid

One of the questions we often get asked is why do we give people cash and not "stuff".  There are lots of different reasons for this, but I thought it might be interesting for people to be aware of some of the places and organisations besides Give Aid Direct who use cash.

The Cash Atlas is an interactive global mapping tool aiming to visually represent cash transfer programmes at a global level and show the different sectors and contexts in which cash is used.

Don't forget this Sunday is the London Marathon where Ben is running on our behalf.  Send him some words of encouragement on Facebook or through his donation page here.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The happenings of the week

There is a lot going on at the moment - a couple getting married decided to ask people to give to us rather than presents and so did another couple who were christening their child.  I find this amazing and get excited each time it happens.

Another one of our projects - the Daylight Project providing simple lights in informal settlements - has been completely funded.  In conversations with the Daylight Project founder we discussed how we can continue to work together - in the near future you will be able to see a few new projects linked with them - one focusing on lighting again, one around micro-business development, and potentially one about a business plan competition focusing on utilising rubbish in new ways.  It was encouraging for me to see how our partnership can continue to develop.

This week I also had the privilege of having a few long email exchanges with one you.  It was great to hear the ideas for how we could improve and the concerns.  We have been fortunate to have people who are interested, not only in what we are doing, but also in how to make it better.  We can always improve on building trust with our donors and recipients and I recognise that we have not always done the best at this so far.  We also need to continually balance the need or desire of our donors to hear feedback regarding the impact their donations have had and the desire to have as much of the donation as possible get into the hands of the recipients.  I've been reminded this week about the importance of consistency and being transparent.  Feedback and comments are fabulous, please keep them coming.

Of course, this is also a big week as Sunday is the London Marathon where Ben is running on our behalf.  Send him some words of encouragement on Facebook or through his donation page here.