You will remember the three Big Brew events we had during Fairtrade Fortnight. At each one you all gave most generously I was able to send a cheque to the Traidcraft charity for £780. I received a most appreciative letter thanking us for our “latest generous gift”. The letter went on to give further news of the Tea project in Bangladesh, transforming the lives of families there. This time the news is of Jakaria who like Rosina, whom I wrote about in April, now has a tea garden. He says “|Life has changed beautifully and I dream to continue my work. My tea garden will be a security for my children.” The letter ends “On behalf of everyone at Traidcraft, and those with whom we work, please extend our thanks to everyone involved in sending this gift. Your support means that together we can help more families like Jakaria's to break the cycle of poverty for good.”
It is always useful to find out more about one’s own area – often things that remain undiscovered – and our talk today certainly opened our eyes to a Cotswold treasure just 4 miles distant, namely the mysterious Woodchester mansion.
In the past couple of months I have told you about a Traidcraft project in Bangladesh helping small holders to transform their lives by having their own tea gardens.
Another project funded by the 'Let it grow' campaign is training small holders in Eastern India to grow cotton.
This year seems to be quieter compared to our activities in our Centenary year. However, the meetings go on as usual!
May 10th is our Resolutions meeting. Germaine Ballinger will lead the discussion on “Appropriate care in hospital for people with dementia”. Germaine does an excellent job of leading these discussions for us and we appreciate her help. Our competition for May is to bring along any item beginning with D.
Fairtrade fortnight is just ending, and, as you will remember from the last magazine, we have had three Big Brew events. I do hope you have been able to be at one of them. Some people have been to all three! Each one has been very special in its own way.
We started with the Fairtrade service on Fairtrade Sunday. Jackie Natt gave a most interesting presentation explaining about Fairtrade and giving a brief history. It was made vivid by colourful pictures and was much enjoyed by all. This service was followed by the first Big Brew in the porch room. The Porch room was full with most of the congregation coming to enjoy coffee and buy from the stall and some people came who had not been at the service. There was much talk and a real sense of occasion. Raffle tickets were sold for a Traidcraft hamper.
The Dementia Friends Initiative Talk by Jim MacLeod was a great success. It was very cleverly done with lots of audience participation. We played Dementia Bingo, which had us all a bit apprehensive about us showing early signs of dementia!
On the 12th April Janice Cole spoke to us on the work of the ACWW (Associated Country Women of the World). Virtually all the money raised for their charity goes directly to a very wide range of projects associated with the relief of poverty, sickness, the preservation of health and advancement of education.
At their meeting on 5th April Members were sorry to hear that Mrs Ros Jennings had been taken ill when she was away and is currently in the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The speaker at the last meeting was Ms Judy Anderson who told us about the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Her illustrated talk was excellent and she explained the history of the hospital and its work from the start up until the present day.
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 4th May at 2 p.m. in the Library. The speaker will be Mr Ray Cranham and he will be talking about Woodchester Mansion. All visitors welcome to attend.
Now that all students at secondary schools in Tanzania do not have to pay fees to attend school, the Link has decided that the money received from sponsors will be used to buy each student educational materials and equipment – stationary and books – and to help towards providing their school uniform.
Following such a successful year with its projects in 2015, especially the bicycle loan scheme, mosquito nets, solar lights and the sinking of the new borehole, the Link is now looking to the future.
In consultation with Stima, our local representative in Nkokoto and Urambo, and now knowing that school fees for students in secondary schools in Tanzania have been abolished, we have decided that our sponsorship of the students at Vumilia Secondary School which serves Nkokoto village should take the form of supporting the students with educational equipment and materials to help them with their learning – books and stationary – as well as providing school uniform.
Despite the hail and snow flurries in the morning there was a very healthy attendance at our afternoon meeting on 2 March and they were definitely not disappointed.
Our speaker was Dry Simon Trapnell from the unique museum at Twigworth near Gloucester called ‘Nature in Art.’ Simon was instrumental in creating this collection back in the 1980’s, armed only with ideas, enthusiasm, hard work and encouragement from Sir Peter Scott, now famed around the globe for his concern about the world’s wetlands.
The seating for our February meeting was a surprise for our members, but especially appropriate for getting a good view of the demonstration that was the meeting’s focus. We were there to learn more about the contemporary craft of needle felting. Facing us was an enchanting array of lifelike animals, some 3D examples – a sleepy fox, and inquisitive badger -- and one 2D example – beautiful butterflies with intricate markings.