Dear Advantage Africa Supporter,
I’m writing to enclose our latest newsletter with updates on some of our projects in Kenya and Uganda. I hope that you will be challenged, encouraged and inspired by what you read.
A real success for us in 2009 has been to see two of Advantage Africa’s first initiatives, the special units for disabled children at Mitaboni and Kisayani primary schools in Kenya, approach sustainability. Both are now being supported with staff and resources from the Kenyan government and the local community, and our assistance to them has become minimal. Our focus is shifting to ensure that the special unit in nearby Thinu and the inclusive primary school in Bombo, Uganda become similarly well established over the next few years.
Advantage Africa’s disability work is featured in our newsletter and also on a six-minute film now on YouTube. Just go to www.youtube.com and type ‘Advantage Africa in Kenya’ in the search box to find it. And if you’d like a high quality DVD of the film to show in your church, workplace, coffee morning on World Disability Day (3rd December) etc, please let me know.
We recently welcomed Ann Tennant and Munirat Ogunlayi to our board of Trustees and Liz Lynch joined our small staff as Finance Officer. We will soon be saying thank you and goodbye to Jacinta Sweeney, who has supported our partner organisations over the last two years, but is now leaving Olney to be closer to her family in Scotland. We’re currently seeking her replacement, as well as a part-time fundraiser to help us grow through and beyond the current financial situation. Full details are on our website: www.advantageafrica.org.
We enjoyed seeing Paul Lwanga from the Single Parents Association of Uganda (SPAU) and Jack Okoth from Obambo during their summer visits to the UK in the summer. I showed Pastor Jack the house in Olney where John Newton wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ and the church were it was first sung. Paul met with a donor who had supported a SPAU poultry initiative to update them on the good progress being made, and we had a fruitful meeting with Gingerbread, a charity for single parents in the UK.
Our Christmas catalogue is enclosed and I hope you will enjoy choosing from our new designs. This year we’ve included some cards handmade by a group of single parents in Uganda, many of whom are living with HIV. These cards are special in more ways than one; not only do they look great, but they provide these inspirational women with income so they and their children can celebrate Christmas too. I just can’t imagine you’ll find anything fairer trade than that on your local High Street!
Our newsletter shows how with your help, we are improving the lives of many disadvantaged people. To our practical support we add our prayers for those across East Africa suffering from the impact of a serious drought. Thank you for your partnership, in so many ways, in this life changing, and sometimes lifesaving, work.
Andrew Betts, Director