LATEST TRUST UPDATE as of 18th JUNE 2010.
It has been far too long since our last newsletter. Since the sad death of our founder and friend Simon Channing Williams the last 12 months has been a testing time for the Trust – we have taken some time to look closely at our projects, to carefully discuss our aims and to decide where our support will best be utilised in the future.
We’re delighted to say we have a very clear view for the coming year – the fifth year our Trust has been in operation – here’s a round -up of what we’ve been up to since our last newsletter:
2009 saw us holding four of our regular medical camps in the slums of Kibera, more than we had hoped we would achieve. The beauty of these clinics is that people who would otherwise not be in a position to obtain medical help are able to be seen by qualified, supportive doctors who can refer the patients on to hospital.
We cannot thank enough the doctors, nurses and pharmacists, led by the wonderful Dr Lawrence Mugambi, who give up long weekends in order to treat, support and care for hundreds of patients in Kibera.
Each medical camp costs us almost £5,000 and approximately 3,500 patients are treated over a two day period. We aim to hold 3 each year at regular intervals. We are always looking for partners to join us in continuing with these now well established camps which we know are such a lifeline to the people living in Kibera. Last year we partnered with International Medical Corps, who kindly donated money towards one of the camps.
If your company would be prepared to partner with us, or you know someone, or a charity, who would like to make a donation towards a medical camp, please contact us.
Loiyangalani Secondary School continues to grow with 83 pupils at present, 18 girls and 64 boys.
In 2009 we built the final building required for the school curriculum to be covered fully – the science laboratory. The pupils can now engage in fully equipped science lessons in safety. We have also provided full equipment, from Bunsen burners to chemicals and reference books, so that the pupils have no excuse not to get the best marks in the country!
Most exciting of all for us and for the school, earlier this year we installed a top of the range solar powered water pump. This means that at long last the school is fully “plumbed up”, no more need to carry water! The showers, the laboratory, the kitchen all have running water, and the teachers and pupils are delighted.
Our Kenyan coordinator, Neto Agostinho, was quoted as saying “the water has brought the school to life” – we couldn’t hope for more.
We could not have imagined being in a position to provide this water pump this year without the incredibly kind support of Strellson AG, a Swiss men’s clothing company who have supported us before. Our enormous thanks to everyone at Strellson – and the new “We Are Africa!” range, profits from the sale of which have made up the amazing donation from Strellson.
Now that the school build is completed, the biggest task is to attract more pupils, in order to gain more money for qualified teachers, and more Government support. During 2009/2010 we have provided beginning and end of term transport for pupils, alongside the funding for a pupil outreach programme which enabled the headmaster and a teacher to visit primary schools and advertise Loiyangalani Secondary School to them. Consequently the pupil numbers have grown from 43 to 83, (Jan 2010) and 31 of those pupils are in the first form, the highest intake of pupils so far. We hope very much that the completion of the laboratory will attract even more pupils in the next intake, Jan 2011.
Our final hope for the practical running of the school is to be able to provide solar electricity in order that the pupils can study and enjoy after school activities after dark (which falls at exactly 6pm every night in Kenya!). This of course is a costly project – we need to raise at least £11,000 in order to provide the lighting, solar panels, equipment and training to ensure the system is kept in full working order. We hope to partner with the government and other NGOs to do this – please let us know if you know of any potential partners.
During September 2009, Loiyangalani suffered a severe outbreak of cholera. We were asked to partner with the Red Cross in order to provide emergency drugs and transport across the area, which of course we did. Thankfully the emergency aid worked.
Our intention now is to build a small community centre in Loiyangalani, firstly in memory of Simon, who was determined the people of Loiyangalani would benefit from such a centre, and secondly because, having spoken at length with the community, they need somewhere to hold evening classes, run a library, enjoy internet access and our hope is that the women’s groups can use this as a small business. We would hope to be in a position to be able to provide expert advice and training covering many aspects of life in Loiyangalani - health awareness such as how to prevent cholera, dealing with AIDS, business workshops etc. We strongly believe that, given the opportunity and the education, the community will go from strength to strength and become healthier, wealthier and happier.
LONG TERM PLANS FOR THE CONSTANT GARDENER TRUST
We set up The Constant Gardener Trust five years ago – and what a roller coaster it has been! From the beginning, our intention was to work with the communities for five years, and then slowly pass the daily running of the Trust over to Kenyan Trustees, who would then ensure financial support of various projects, with the UK arm of the Trust supporting financially as and when it could.
It seems to us now that we are in the position to make a start with this plan – we are slowly gathering potential Kenyan trustees, and planning the way forward. It goes without saying that the UK Trust will keep close contact with the Kenyan Trust – in fact two UK trustees will be on the Kenyan board – but ultimately the Kenyan Trust will be the active one, with the UK Trust collaborating on major decisions and hopefully fundraising for activities.
More on this as we progress.
DONORS and FUNDRAISERS
We have already mentioned STRELLSON AG – who have been extremely supportive of our Trust over the last few years. We are delighted that they continue to support us so generously. Thank you Strellson.
Another major contributor to The Constant Gardener Trust is Cartier, who, through their Love Charity initiative and our fabulous patron, Rachel Weisz, have supported us very generously for the last five years. Thank you so much Cartier.
Our wonderful patrons continue to support us in so many ways – our huge thanks to John le Carré, Ralph Fiennes, Fernando Meirelles and Rachel Weisz, as well as to our (slightly smaller this year) board of trustees.
Thanks go too to the last two Mike Leigh films – sales of props/costumes to the crew at the end of each production have all been donated to The Constant Gardener Trust – what a great way to raise funds! Many thanks to the crews who have very generously bought props and given us their money! If you yourself are a member of a film crew or any sort of project that is able to raise funds in a similar way do get in touch.
Finally our thanks to our website builders at Planet Interactive Arts who built and maintained our website over the last 5 years. We will now be ably assisted by ImagesDesign.co.uk who will continue to maintain our online identity.
The biggest THANK YOU goes to you, our supporter, for your patience, generosity and support.
Whether a £2 monthly direct debit through Just Giving, or the purchase of a diamond necklace donated by Rachel, every single penny makes such a difference to what we are able to achieve.
THANK YOU from us all at The Constant Gardener Trust.
John le Carré's
novel 'The Constant Gardener' was made into a film of the same
name in 2004 starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz.
The film was shot predominantly in Kenya and during filming the cast and crew decided to set up The Constant Gardener Trust, an organization that, initially, would help specifically the communities they had met and worked with during the shoot.
Our aim is to help improve basic sanitation and education for those that are most in need of our help.
We are a small organization, hoping to achieve big things and a new ethos of responsible filmmaking along the way, but we know that the best and most lasting change comes through careful thought and collaboration with the people we are trying to help.
You can help, today, by giving a small donation and knowing that it will go directly to the people who need it. We have minimal overheads and direct links with those that we are helping. We know that small amounts of money can make a great deal of difference if used wisely.
Please take a look at the projects we have already funded and those that we are continuing with, as well as our future plans, and if you need any more information, please contact us.
Thank you for helping.