The latest development in the Link’s work in Nkokoto is to set up the new micro-finance scheme for villagers in Nkokoto village. Stima, our local representative, is working with the Co-operative Officer from Urambo and the village chairman to agree a structure of agreeing which applicants from the village will be the first to receive a loan, to a maximum of 10,000 Tanzanian Shillings (£40) in order to set up a business or enterprise which will benefit the village and give opportunities to improve the lives of the applicant. For example, we are hoping that some of those Nkokoto students who we have sponsored through their two years at the Urambo Folk Development College will return home and set up a business using their skills learnt during their two years at the college, perhaps, designing and making school uniforms, or providing a mobile phone charging service with a solar panel purchased through the scheme, or clothes for selling in the market at Urambo or even perhaps a bicycle business maintaining and repairing the bicycles we have provided for the Students attending Vumilia Secondary School. We will keep you all informed of how this exciting scheme develops.
Although it was one of the few warm, sunny days that we have had lately the meeting the meeting was well attended.
The meeting began with notices being given out. Our president, Diana, then welcomed 3 new members onto the committee. Our group prides itself on offering a wide variety of activities. The most recent outing was a visit to Nature in Art in Twigworth, this was very successful - those who attended appreciated the splendour of the Jacobean museum building that is surrounded by fields, hard to believe that it is just two miles from Gloucester. They also enjoyed the wide variety of art work on display as well as the delicious afternoon tea that followed. Members were also reminded to sign up for the summer lunch on 4th August and to choose what they were going to bring. On September 19th there will be the Group meeting at Nailsworth. The big fund raiser for the year will be the Dragon's Tears evening on 9th September, tickets are available from some of the committee. The guest speaker will also be selling her beautiful jewellery that she designs and makes.
At our meeting on May 10th we discussed the two resolutions for 2017 – “The right of carers to support dementia patients in hospital” and “Avoidance of food waste by applying pressure on supermarkets”. After an excellent presentation by Germaine Ballinger and an animated discussion by our members, both campaigns were given unanimous support, even though we had reservations about the wording!
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.
Our meeting in July on “Locals and Strangers – Tales behind the names on the Wayside Cross” by Jane Bethell was very interesting especially to those who had done research into their own family history.
Stima with Jo Smith in Nailsworth
Members, sponsors and supporters of the Link were thrilled that Stima, the Link’s representative in Nkokoto and Urambo, was able to spend ten days with us in Minchinhampton and Woodchester last month. Readers will remember that the cost of Stima’s visit was covered by donations from supporters of the Link and for this we are very grateful indeed. Stima travelled by bus from Urambo to Dar es Salaam, an 18 hour journey, then flew by Kenya Airways to Heathrow where Rod met him on May 9th.
There is very good news about the future of Traidcraft in Minchinhampton. Jackie Natt, Sylvie Thomas and Deborah Smith have agreed to run the Traidcraft team between them from the start of 2017. Each will be responsible for a different area of the work. We would like to invite anyone interested in Traidcraft to have coffee with us on Thursday July 14th at 10.30 at 16 Ricardo Road. Do come if you are already a member of the Traidcraft team, if you would like to join the team, or if you are interested in Traidcraft and would like to hear the plans for the future. We look forward to seeing you.
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.