In the 15 months since our inaugural meeting I am pleased to report that we have raised approximately £24,000 and through our trusted partners we have supported 6 deserving projects in 4 different developing countries (namely Zambia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal). These projects have already benefited an estimated 2000 people, most of them children, but whenever possible our interventions are designed to make a sustainable and lasting difference to the communities involved. The worldwide Covid pandemic has prevented us from doing any project visits but we have still managed to keep in close contact with our in-country partners and they have never been far from our thoughts. Foremost in our prayers have been our friends and colleagues in Myanmar, many of whom have had to flee across the border into India following the military coup on February 1st 2021.
We are extremely grateful to all our donors but particularly the Friends of Les Cotils, the Forest/Rondin School, the Sarnia Charitable Trust, WINGS and the pupils at Blanchelande College who adopted us as one of their charities for 2020/21 and went on to raise a magnificent £3,363. I was invited to take part in an assembly at the school and was able to show them a film about the Lake Clinic in Cambodia, where we will be using some of their money to provide needy families who live afloat on the Tonle Sap Lake with bio-sand water filters.
1) The Children’s Ward and SCBU at St Francis Hospital in Katete, Zambia where we participate in the bed sponsorship scheme,
2) The Jibon Tari Floating Hospital in Bangladesh where in conjunction with Impact we have funded a number of sight restoring cataract operations,
3) The Lake Clinic on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia where we continue to fund equipment for the clinic and bio-sand water filters for needy families living afloat on the lake,
4) Bani Bilas Secondary School in Kathmandu, Nepal where in conjunction with Action Aid we will be providing new equipment and books. The school was rebuilt with help from Guernsey after the earthquake in 2015,
5) Chindulu and Chikwanda villages in rural Eastern Zambia where in conjunction with Tikondane Community Centre we have installed two new boreholes,
6) Chak Chap primary school in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia. When completed this will be our biggest project to date. We are combining with United World Schools to build a brand new primary school and we will be funding all the infrastructure costs including the classrooms, the latrines, a well for clean water and a library. The children belong to the Tampuan ethnic minority community (see photo below) and they currently don’t have any access to formal education.
Following the inaugural meeting Guernsey Aid was officially registered as a charity at the Guernsey Registry (No.645) and we joined the Association of Guernsey Charities (No.479). This means we have access to ‘giving.gg’ the local online donations platform. After a very lengthy compliance process we finally managed to open a bank account at Natwest International only to find out a few months later that they are proposing to introduce charges for charity accounts!
Recently we introduced a scheme whereby regular donors can become ‘Friends of Guernsey Aid’ and this is something that we will be looking to further promote in the coming year. We will also be looking into the possibility of benefiting from the World Aid Walk and at other ways of fund-raising locally.
A final word of thanks must go to our hard working Treasurer and to all the members of the Committee who give so freely of their time and without whose help we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goal of ‘helping those most in need’.
Nick Paluch, Chairman.