My charity of the year

Writing this post excites me more than anything I’ve written this year.

I feel like I almost had a secret for the past few months. It started when I went to the annual Citizens Advice conference and I met an amazing lady, Sue Hayes. We were chatting when she told me the Charity Commission had just registered the charity she and her husband had started. My interest was sparked immediately because she mentioned Kilimanjaro. As a fundraiser, Kilimanjaro is synonymous for me with intrepid supporters trekking for days up a mountain and raising thousands of pounds. I have never been, and I had never really thought about the place itself or the situation in which these fundraising treks take place. I should have.

When Sue explained more about what the charity does, I was hooked. Here was someone who had never intended to become the founder of a charity but along with her husband Ron, they had seen an urgent need and they couldn’t ignore it. You can read their full story here, which shows how much effort they have put into it and also their passion for education as a way out of poverty.

We spoke and I loved how Sue described the children she had helped over the years, a couple of whom had come over to the UK to visit when they had reached school leaving age. This charity had clearly been a labour of love for Sue and Ron for many years, but only recently had they got the official stamp of approval from the Charity Commission. Being a techie geek, I was mad keen to visit their Facebook page, Twitter feed and website. They didn’t have them. I said to Sue that they really must get a website up and running, and last week, it went live.

For me, this charity shows the positive and joyful side of Africa. Sure, newsletters and fundraising appeals make clear the desperate circumstances of some of the children (otherwise there wouldn’t be the need for a charity), but the focus is optimistic and forward-looking. Just look at the photos and tell me you don’t want to be part of that!

This is a charity that belongs to the people it helps, it is a charity that is not patronising those it helps but letting them lead the way. It is a charity that is doing something really sustainable and long term, in difficult circumstances. It is a charity where the link between donor and beneficiary is made clear, where you can really see how your support helps, and what a massive difference a small regular gift can make.

My charity of the year is Africa’s Children in Education and I think they really are ACE! Please visit their website, have a look at the work they are doing to change lives for good. And look at the impact you can have with incredibly small donations. If you can spare some money, consider donating to their Buy a Breakfast Appeal.

I hope they inspire you as much as they inspired me this year!

ACE Charity

PS: They are new to the world of social media, so show them your support on Twitter 

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One Response to My charity of the year

  1. Pauline Brown says:

    Very upbeat and positive piece of writing Nick. It’s so important to show happy smiling children and not focus on misery and deprivation. I work for KiCS a Leeds based NGO and took volunteers to the school in Sanya Juu this summer. As the ethos of the school is equality I was able to contribute school uniforms for the children whose families couldn’t afford to buy them. I was so impressed with the school that I decided to take all my volunteers there and we were able to play games with the children and also run a medical dispensary for the local community. We intend to partner with ACE in the future

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