Welcome to our latest annual Newsletter; I hope you found the previous editions interesting and informative. This year our main focus has been to spend the wonderful legacy left to us by our founder Jack Hughes, and surprisingly difficult it has been. We have tried to balance donations to our many regular charities with some new ones that we felt that Jack would approve. During this process, which is still not complete, we have kept Jack’s family fully informed. We have also stressed to our charities that these larger-than-normal donations must be regarded as one-off events and that if possible, they should do something special with the money in recognition of Jack and Mary’s contribution. And I’m glad to report a number have been able to do so, the details of which you can see in the individual reports below.
Despite the continual chill financial wind blowing and thanks to everybody’s generosity, we still managed to raise a goodly sum for our charities this year and with your help, we will do so again in 2013. For those of you are up on such things, you can keep up-to-date with MAP events via our Facebook page – just search for Merstham Aid Project - to get information on our activities and see pictures of past events.
Projects supported in 2012
Tools for Self Reliance
Tools and haberdashery items continue to trickle in for us to pass on TFSR’s eager volunteers in Carshalton for them to work their magic on, although we seemed to have pretty much exhausted Merstham’s supply of the marvellous Singer sewing machines. We are of course happy to be proved wrong, so if you have an unwanted sewing machine (Singer or others), tools or haberdashery items, MAP secretary, John Phillips, is happy to take them off you so that this valuable work can continue. We have been able to make two cash donations of £1000 each this year from the legacy fund and have been assured that this money will help launch new training programmes to allow carpenters, blacksmiths and seamstresses to hone their skills and so improve the life of themselves, their families and their communities [John Phillips].
After a difficult year in 2011, Care-Co seems to be weathering the storm and under the direction of Paul Draper, who has been with the organisation for many years, gradually turning the corner. This year we have provided money from the legacy fund to allow a world-renown beekeeping expert, Gladstone Solomon, to visit Rodrigues to sort out problems in the apiaries. This he has done putting Care-Co back on track for a successful 2013. The construction of the new canteen and beekeeping training facility, shared with the Special Learning Centre is well on the way to completion having been supported by MAP and the Mauritius Ministry of Gender Equality. We have also put aside money to top-up a major grant application from the EU, which will be released when the grant is approved [Ted Aston].
Cheka School, Tanzania
Cheka school is a free nursery and pre-primary school in the Kiranyi area of Sakina in Tanzania at which Amy Lafferty, the daughter of a colleague of Lizzie is a volunteer teacher. The school, which has around 30 pupils from deprived backgrounds, aims to give these children a solid start in life. This year, we have been able to provide two donations from the legacy fund totalling £3000 which has helped transform a dreary basic structure into two colourful and attractive classrooms and provide the children with smart and practical school uniforms [Lizzie Webb-Martin].
Tuberculosis (TB) is a completely preventable and curable disease, but is the scourge of many of the poorest parts of the world. We are very pleased therefore that donations from the legacy fund have allowed Target TB to expand their work in the Lira district of Northern Uganda and to continue their work in India. We were also very pleased to receive a copy of their Autumn newsletter which contained an illustrated article thanking Jack Hughes and Merstham Aid Project for their recent donation, which had helped 700 people in Northern Uganda survive the scourge of TB. If you are a Facebook fan, look at MAP or Target TB’s page for the picture! We are proud to be a part of the worldwide effort to eradicate this disease and will be pleased to continue contributing to this organisation when we can so that they can pursue their aim of eradicating this terrible disease. [Joan Hodge]
We are pleased to be able to continue our long-standing support for the work of Azafady in Madagascar. Over the years this work in the South East corner of the country has resulted in a significant improvement in both rural sanitation and small-scale agriculture bringing health benefits as well as financial rewards to the local population. Using money from the legacy fund we have now contributed to Project Magnampy, which aims to eliminate unsanitary hygiene practices and thereby provide clean drinking water in the Mahatalaky rural district. Our funds have allowed pumps to be obtained for two new wells that the community are constructing and will support the community well maintenance and training programme which ensures that the key skills necessary to keep the wells functioning are retained locally [Ted Aston].
As a long-standing friend of Double Joy Children’s Farm, a home and school for children orphaned by AIDS in Bondo, Kenya, MAP continues to take a keen interest in developments there. We have recently been able to provide money for them to buy new tools for the farm and to upgrade their solar lighting system in the classrooms. Now, from the legacy fund, we have provided sufficient money for the construction of a water storage and distribution system. This has provided the whole compound with a reliable supply of clean water for the children and irrigation water for the dairy cows, which are the main source of the children’s milk. The system has been called the Jack & Mary Hughes project. With the water supply in place, their next project is to build a sanitation block and we have been happy agree funds to cover half of the total cost of £8000 [Ken Chapman].
The orphanage at Ben Doree farm continues to flourish. Sadly however, Dizzie Bostock is no longer as fit as she was and so feels that she can no longer take in as many new young children as she would like. Knowing Dizzie, this won’t interfere with her plans and her (UK-based) sister tells us that she is actively seeking other local charities to help her out. Our donation this year of £500 has been much appreciated. [Jan Dungay]
St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital
Support for organisations dedicated to saving the sight of people around the world was one of Jack & Mary Hughes guiding principles when setting up MAP, so our help to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, whose mission is to provide eye care to all in the Holy Land who need it, regardless of ability to pay, would, we are sure meet with Jack & Mary’s approval. The money we have sent from the legacy fund will be used to fund corneal grafts and related operations, thus returning the precious gift of sight and thereby economic security to many people whose access to specialist healthcare is non-existant. Providing funds to allow the work of the Hospital to continue despite the political situation in the region is so important. Through regular news updates via our local contact in Oxted, we can be sure that our contributions are being put to good use. [John Dungay]
Jack & Mary Hughes were keen to spread the work of MAP as far and wide as possible, and as they had a particular interest in India we have been happy to use some of the legacy fund to support work aimed at tackling the causes of avoidable blindness in the subcontinent. To this end we have contributed funds to Sightsavers/Vision India, a charity which works in a number of areas of India. This charity, working in partnership with local organisations provides sight-restoring cataract operations, trains local staff to deliver primary eye care to diagnose and treat eye problems and provides treatment for ‘neglected’ diseases such as river blindness and trachoma,. We have also responded to a request from Sightsavers to provide equipment to a new eye hospital which has been built in Nampula, Northern Mozambique but still needed various items of equipment. Our money has supported the purchase of a glaucoma kit, chair and optometer [Jan Dungay].
Kids 4 Kids
Patricia Parker, a Dorking resident who runs this inspirational charity in Darfur (Southern Sudan) helping displaced refugee families to integrate back into village life, told us that it only costs about £550 to set-up one new family in a village. This money allowed the village to pay for the essentials to support the new family, including fruit trees and animals as well as contributing to the extra costs the village occurs as it grows. We have been able to send a total of £7,500 from the legacy fund to pay the set-up costs of around 8 new families and to help provide some of the equipment and training necessary to ensure the continued survival of these isolated communities.
Over the years MAP has supported many charities in the developing world with small donations as and when funds allowed.
Although the legacy fund has allowed us to be more generous at this time, providing larger sums of money to some charities with specific needs, we have also tried to be more generous to some of our regulars that have not indicated any specific need at this time. Thus we have sent larger-than-usual donations to the Zimbabwean charity ZANE (£2000), to SCRIPT, the charity providing education and employment to impoverished children in India (£1000), and to INTERCARE, the charity collecting and distributing surplus-to-requirement drugs and medical equipment to the developing world (£2000).
We have also taken the opportunity to support some other charities that have local connections or for whom money at this particular time would be particularly effective. The catholic relief charity CAFOD is an example of the latter, as money donated during lent 2012 would be matched by the government pound for pound. We were happy therefore to provide £1000 to CAFOD at this time, particularly as the project was to do with providing clean drinking water, an area Jack Hughes was very keen on. As to the former, the local Tadworth –based charity TWOAT (Tadworth and Walton Overseas Aid Trust) appealed, at Christmas 2012, for support for two school projects they were helping in Africa. One was in Ambrondromifehy village, Madagascar and the other was in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In both places the needs were basic; in Madagascar our donation of £500 paid for a toilet block for adults and children, shelving for the school room and a swing for the playground and in Sierra Leone a similar amount helped to pay for toilets, school desks, a water tank and remuneration for 3 staff – so much for so little!
At the AGM, held free-of-charge once again thanks to the generosity of St Teresa’s church, chairperson Lizzie was able to reveal that the legacy left by our founders, Jack & Mary Hughes, amounted to approximately £74,000 and that a special committee consisting of both present and past committee members had been set up to decide how to spend this wonderfully generous windfall.
At this stage of the year about half of the legacy had been allocated with donations of varying amounts, depending on their immediate needs, going to organisations we regularly support and to some new ones with local connections that we felt sure would meet with Jack and Mary’s approval. Lizzie reported that we have had the most amazing response from these organisations in their thanks for our help, through personal letters, drawings, certificates and responses on Face-book. Lizzie also noted that MAP continues its ‘normal business’, with successful events such as the jumble sales, Harvest Fair and Quiz, and particularly food-related events – coffee mornings, bacon butties, pancakes etc. The treasurer’s accounts showed that income for the year had been similar to last year, and that MAP had now raised over £146,000 since its founding in 1982.
The speaker was Mal Mitchell, the UK education and funding coordinator for AZAFADY, a charity working in one of the poorest parts of Mozambique, which we have been able to support for a number of years. Mal spoke at length about past projects, current work and future plans, thanking MAP for all the support we have been able to provide.