BAGS OF HOPE; HOW RECYCLING
MATERIAL CAN MAKE FOR A BETTERWORLD
An article by Anne Jenkins and Charlotte Nelderwood
Anne Jenkins and Charlotte Nelderwood have worked together helping families and children in a very impoverished area in the Busia District of Kenya since 2012 and together they run a charitable cause called the "Bags of Hope". In 2014 and 2016 Anne and Charlotte visited the families, children and schools they support. The Bags of Hope charitable cause, work with a Kenyan government registered community based organisation called "The Ring of Hope" (reg number 202022).
This proactive committee cares for the needy in a community which is affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty and disease. Many of the community are widows and orphans living in appalling conditions. The Bags of Hope support with school fees, medical needs, clothes and food. They also deliver the maize and other items for the feeding programs. School fees for Secondary/ High School education is very expensive and most high schools are boarding. Not only do the families have to pay fees, they also have to pay for the food and all personal needs of the child which include bedding, toiletries, clothes, and uniform. Without our help these children would not have the opportunity to reach their full potential, attain a good job, or be able to help their families. Most of the children we support are orphans or have sick parents, and as such they live with grandparents or other relatives who are unable to pay the fees. Some children have no family to take care of them and so are required to stay with a committee member.
The Ring of Hope committee send us the school reports and keeps us informed as to any issues or needs of the children. It is so wonderful to see the progress the children are making. Two children we have supported are now in University and another boy has passed his driving test. The Bags of Hope have also funded other projects aimed at helping the community, including tree planting, fish ponds, and providing water filters that give the children access to cleaner and safer drinking water. The support has also helped to purchase a motorbike to help a young man start his own business, and in turn, this young man now supports two orphans himself.
There are no admin fees deducted in the UK, meaning that all proceeds are able to help our Ring of Hope Committee, care for the children and families in need. Our latest project with the help of a group called Heal to Heel (which was started by a supporter) aims to provide each of the children we support and their family with "shoes that grow". Without shoes, children are especially vulnerable to soil-transmitted diseases and parasites capable of causing illness and even death. Since childrens' feet grow so quickly, they often outgrow donated shoes within a year, leaving them once again susceptible to illness and disease. The shoe is tough, well-made and can extend up to five sizes. When Anne visits Kenya next March she will be taking 100 pairs of these shoes with her. The Bags of Hope & Heal to Heel are hoping to provide a pair of shoes for up to as many as 350 children which they currently support. Children from a school in Brixham are making items and baking cakes to help support this cause. A cub pack are also fundraising on our behalf, and it's lovely to see children helping disadvantaged children. The shoes cost around £13/pair (including shipping costs) and a fundraising page representing this charitable cause can be found here. You can also visit our facebook page here. Every £1.00 raised helps to feed a child for one month, and we are currently helping more than 240 children receive a breakfast every day.
HOW WE RAISE FUNDS:
When Anne and Charlotte visit Kenya they bring back material that they use to make bags, bunting, quilts etc to sell on their craft stalls. The linings of the bags are made from old clean sheet and the quilts and bunting from the left over pieces, thus saving them from landfill. They are also making re-usable sanitary pads for the girls they support, and dresses from pillow cases. When fruit is in season, lots of jars of homemade jam and chutney are made to sell. They give talks and hold events. They also have supporters who sponsor a child and help with some of the costs of school fees. When they visit Kenya, they take out good re-usable items, such as toys, footballs kits and school uniforms that have been donated rather than discarded.
Anne will be at EdFest along with Karen, Donna and Nikki, where they'll be representing their amazing 'Bags of Hope'. They'll be available to chat about the absolutely incredible work they are doing to help make a difference and I have a feeling there may even be a bag or two for sale... at least I'm certainly hoping so :)