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الثلاثاء, 28th أكتوبر 2014

‘Build a Future’ for vulnerable children in Swaziland

Our team heads out to Africa to aid a charity construction project

On Sunday 2 November 2014 six of our trainees/students/younger staff depart on a two week trip to Swaziland to carry out building work on a local community project.  The trip is Company funded but in part contributed to by the charitable endeavours of the staff involved. This is the first year we have run this scheme and the first of our lucky attendees are Adam Rohan, Andrew Millis, Charlie Saunders, Megan Forster, Scott Ward and Zoe Wickins. Erica Denman, as a seasoned veteran of this trip, will accompany the group as team leader.

The scheme is called “Build a Future” and is run by a charity called All Out Africa which organises a number of volunteer led projects in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland.  Volunteers can assist with building, teaching, community work, sports development and conservation work.  In Swaziland a lot of the focus is on orphaned or vulnerable children who are an unfortunate result of increasingly high HIV infection rates.   Latest estimates are that 26% of the population are carriers (as a comparison, in the UK the reported figure is 0.2%)

The building work is tough as everything is done by hand from levelling the ground with a pickaxe, mixing up mortar with a spade and making bricks one by one using your body weight to compress the blocks and the sun to dry it all.  As an example the deluxe classroom & kitchen unit in the pictures below was made with the following tools:  3 happy volunteers, 1 local builder, 2 wheelbarrows, 2 trowels, 2 spades, 2 rakes, 1 machete, 1 pickaxe, 1 bit of mesh, 1 hammer, 2 sponges, 2 oil drums for access to up to the roof and wood used variously as scaffold, props, levellers, roof supports and beams.

Through Build a Future, volunteers have helped to build  a community centre, a classroom, several toilets and a shop unit amongst other equally venerable structures.  It is an extremely rewarding venture for both parties.  The children obviously have somewhere to eat, shelter, use a loo and learn but they also benefit a great deal from interaction with English speakers, be it a simple hug and hello or teaching them how to read the time.  As for the volunteers…well that’s simple….one can never appreciate how fortunate we are in the west until one sees these children, without anything  in the world, still smile, still play, still be happy.…and all because they now have a classroom in which to learn the alphabet.

All the very best to Adam, Andrew, Charlie, Erica, Megan, Scott and Zoe for the trip.

There is a computer at their hostel so will do our best to keep you updated on their adventure!


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