Friday, 21 October 2011

Reflections Fundraising - what next?

A personal view

It's 5.30am and I'm up with my 2 year old watching BBC One World. The programme is about Kenyan teenagers visited by two teenagers from the UK. The Kenyan children run 2 hours to get to school and live in a small mud hut with an oil lamp to study by. The Kenyan boy got his first pair of shoes when he was 15 years old.

Twenty-five years ago I spent 6 months living in Kenya - the people were astonishing.  Warm, friendly, welcoming, modest, kind, intelligent and hardworking. They had so little but shared everything they had with me. I came home humbled and inspired - and then did nothing about it. A very typical story.

In 2007 we chose to focus our fundraising at Reflections Nursery on raising £20,000 to build a school in Ghana through Plan UK, an international charity.  We looked for an African project which would make a difference to children's lives.  We believed that education was a good place to start.  Three years later the school was built and we are now looking for our next fundraising challenge.

In the spirit of democracy we have provided families and staff at the nursery with three choices - the winning charity will be the focus of our fundraising efforts over the next two years. Of course, it is also in the spirit of pragmatism, as the families and staff will spearhead and contribute to our fundraising.

The choices are: Plan UK - sponsoring as many children as we can, probably in Africa; and two local charities; one of which is a charity Reflections would set up in Worthing to support children's creativity, the other is Ferring Country Centre, providing education for children about real food.

My view though is that we have so much in this country, and the developed countries in general.  The 'Skip Lunch, Save A Life' campaign of Save the Children sums it up for me - we wouldn't really miss a few calories at midday but the cost of our lunch could buy say, a fishing net for someone in a developing country which may mean the difference between life and death.

I completely understand why most people choose to fundraise locally - it must feel meaningful, especially if the benefits are visible. However, my vote (and I only have one) will be going to Plan UK this time. For me, in a global society, we should care for those who need it most.  And the results can be very visible - you just need to get up at 5.30am and watch BBC. :)  

Martin Pace


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