News blog

“Women don’t have enough say in normal life”

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in News | 0 comments

“Women don’t have enough say in normal life”

One of the things I like most about ActionAid is that they are trying to put themselves out of a job. If there was no more poverty, discrimination or inequality in the world everyone at ActionAid could take a permanent holiday. Unfortunately they may have to wait for a while yet. However by constantly fostering self-empowerment amongst the people they work with, enabling the poor to take control of their lives, the seeds of lasting change are sown. Asking the poor and disenfranchised themselves what they need is the first step. Providing the resources that enable them to solve...

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Things are looking up….the kids are back

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Things are looking up….the kids are back

  After months without a blog things are looking up. The eerie silence caused by Ebola is gradually giving way to the noise of normal life. Communication from Freetown is improving. After being closed for 8 months the schools in Sierra Leone opened again this week. One of them, in the village of Gollu in the Bo region, is the fifth Millione has funded. The official opening was on Monday. It should have been last year but Ebola put it on hold. For the children who now have a decent school to go to it’s quite definitely a case...

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No roars this Christmas

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in News | 0 comments

No roars this Christmas

In 1462 Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra sailed down the West African coast. Seeing the long mountain range above the bay where Freetown stands today he called it “Lion Mountain”. Now the Leone of the Sierra lies silent. According to the World Health Organisation, Sierra Leone has now overtaken Liberia as the country with the highest number of Ebola cases. Despite increased media attention, promises of aid, and activity on the ground, the official number of deaths in Sierra Leone is now over 2,000. The true figure is said to be much higher. In an attempt to stop the...

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No Smiles Now

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in News | 0 comments

No Smiles Now

“There are no smiles from the children now” says Kelfa Katgbo, Sierra Leone Director of the charity Street Child. Kelfa describes children whose parents and adult family members have died of Ebola as “having no hope. Some of them think death is better than living”. His mission is to change their situation and bring back their hope. He needs help. Some Ebola orphans are just three or four years old. A nine year old may find themselves responsible for looking after younger siblings. When someone dies of Ebola the house is disinfected and the contents burnt. Young children can’t...

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Help Stop Ebola Killing in Sierra Leone

Posted by on Jul 11, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Help Stop Ebola Killing in Sierra Leone

I have received an urgent email from Action Aid in London about the rapidly spreading deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. The epidemic started in Guinea and has spread to neighbouring states Sierra Leone and Liberia. Once infected with Ebola there is no known cure. The only way to stop this emergency from worsening is by preventing people from becoming infected. The email said: ” Patients quickly develop nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; and liver and kidney functions start to shut down, often followed by haemorrhaging. It is spread by human contact and kills up to 90 per cent of...

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The Books Arrive

Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 in News | 0 comments

The Books Arrive

Patience is a virtue I am not overly endowed with. But I am learning just how necessary it is. We launched our appeal for schoolbooks to send to Sierra Leone in January this year. The Millione funded school in the village of Bumpetoke on the south coast had asked us for 300 books to create a mini library. They were hugely grateful for the school building, equipment and training but a lack of reading books would limit the kids learning. Our aim was to send a selection of different levels and types to cater for the wide range of...

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Call My Wine Bluff passes £1Million!

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Call My Wine Bluff passes £1Million!

Call My Wine Bluff 2014 aimed to raise enough to pass £1 million since the first event 6 years ago. Thanks to the generosity and spirit of the 180 people who laughed, listened, chatted and drank their way through the evening the objective was achieved – by some way. The audience in London’s Gibson Hall roared at the unbelievable and hilarious wine tales spun by panellists Josie Lawrence, Fay Ripley and Hardeep Kohli Singh, voting gleefully for the one they guessed to be true. They were finger pointingly delighted when the two volunteer wine experts sitting bravely in the...

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A Millione Marathon Miles

Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in News | 0 comments

A Millione Marathon Miles

It was hot, it was crowded and we were utterly exhausted… but our smiles at the end tell the story. Thanks to the many people who gave so generously. Ben and I raised over £5000 (including Gift Aid) towards the cost of building the fifth Millione school in Sierra Leone. Tankee, Tankee as the Sierra Leoneans say. Running the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon is an unforgettable experience. Being amongst 36,000 people in the glorious sunshine running from Greenwich to The Mall through some of London’s most memorable places is an extraordinary feeling. Past the Cutty Sark, on...

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Books for Bumpetoke

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Books for Bumpetoke

As 2014 gets underway we are launching a new initiative. To get the most out of education children need many things – most essentially a building to learn in, desks and chairs to work at, teachers to teach and books to learn from. The primary schools we build are supported by the Government of Sierra Leone though a per pupil overhead grant and, if all goes well, qualified teachers on the state pay roll. Currently just under half the primary school teachers in Sierra Leone have some kind of training, the rest are community volunteers. The money we provide...

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Fifth School Funded

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in News | 1 comment

Fifth School Funded

I got the news this week- we have raised the £68,254 needed to finance the building of the fifth Millione school in Bo, Sierra Leone’s second city in the south of the country. Construction will begin in January 2014 with the aim of having it completed within six months before the rainy season starts in earnest. It will open for classes in October. The money is being transferred to Action Aid’s office in Sierra Leone as I write and the tendering process is under way. As always every detail of design, construction and expenditure is carefully monitored and accounted...

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