Ali has been a most enthusiastic supporter of AfriKids ever since its humble beginnings. She has taken every opportunity to spread the AfriKids word where and whenever she can, inspiring her friends and colleagues to come on board. She has taken part in a couple of half marathons and awesomely defied the Three Peaks Challenge too, raising a fantastic amount of money for AfriKids. In the not too distant future, Ali hopes to return to Ghana for a second time where many of the beneficiaries, including Martin who she is linked with, will be eagerly awaiting her arrival and where she will be able to see how far the projects have come along, catch up with the team, and brush up on her dancing skills of course … if only it were that simple!
Ali has always been full of incredibly useful feedback on our communications material helping us to ensure that we always understand the donor needs as much as those of our beneficiaries and she has been very happy to report that despite the growth of the charity, the personal touches have not disappeared which makes it so easy to remain enthused and involved in the work AfriKids does.
“I will never be able to fully appreciate the resilience of that 9 year old boy. With my face turned away towards the sun to hide the tears that flowed freely…. it was only when Martin saw my sadness and with a knowing grin, tenderly touched my cheek, that I realised my energies would be better spent continuing my support to help these worthy recipients than just feeling pity at their plight and just a little smile appeared on this big face!”
(Following a visit to Martin's father's compound in 2005)
In 2007, when AfriKids’ home was in Stone House Court, Alistair popped into the office to introduce himself and view some Paul Apowida artwork on display at the time. After learning about AfriKids’ work he became more and more involved and in October 2008, to mark his 50th birthday, he lead 18 other business leaders up Mount Toubkal, which went on to raise over £150,000 for the projects in Ghana. This huge challenge took two years of planning, preparation, endless rounds of emails and meetings and a monumental fundraising effort that took on a life of its own, all driven by Alistair’s passion for AfriKids.
Alistair is one of the most experienced leadership coaches in the UK and founder of the Leadership Coaching Business. He and Georgie Fienberg have given a number of talks on leadership and charity fundraising expeditions and in 2008, they ran a Schroders Global Distribution Offsite together, with Alistair facilitating the workshop and Georgie doing a rousing after dinner speech. Schroders went on to raise over £23,000 for AfriKids!
In 2009, Alistair visited AfriKids Ghana to see the impact being made in the communities. The knock-on effects of his support over the years have been enormous and his enthusiasm for the organisation has spread far and wide; he has introduced us to numerous contacts and friends, who in turn have become huge AfriKids supporters.
"As a human being my trip to Ghana was a very moving week. As a leadership coach it was fascinating, reminding me yet again of how important the context is in making sense of the leadership challenge. For the AfriKids Leadership Team, listening, empowerment and sustainability are central to their success and I suspect there is much we could all learn from that."
Cyril was introduced to AfriKids before it was officially launched and the effect of his support over the years has been truly transformational for the organisation. Cyril took AfriKids from the small, well intentioned social project it once was to a professional charity, by funding core costs (including the entire marketing and branding bill), making some key introductions and giving regular and informed advice to the team. Very passionate and personally committed to Operation Mango Tree, Cyril is considered to be part of the family by Mama Laadi and her children and his extremely generous support since the project began has guaranteed Mama Laadi can continue to care for so many children so effectively. His name is lovingly engraved in the foster home’s veranda.
He continues to make introductions at every opportunity which is one of the best things anyone can do for us.
“Thank you so much for your letter and photos of the new dormitories in Sirigu... Seeing the projects develop is extremely rewarding and you must feel very proud of all that you have achieved..”
Dan was one of 18 individuals who braved snow, ice and altitude sickness in October 2008 whilst climbing Mount Toubkal, all in aid of AfriKids. He encouraged his colleagues to support him and the challenge raised a huge amount of money for AfriKids. Fortunately Toubkal didn’t scare him off and since then, Dan has been a wonderful and innovative AfriKids supporter.
He is one of the original founders of the AfriKids Social Investment Club, an initiative which has gone on to be hugely successful, he was the key to our partnership with the Barclaycard Marketing Department and most recently led a team of professionals from across London and Nottingham up Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in December 2010 (the 'Big Dreams Trek')!
Dan continues to champion us in his new role at the world’s largest independent innovation company , ?WhatIf!, where he is CEO Europe.
"Personally, I feel really privileged to be a little involved in something that I think is genuinely transformational for Ghana, and potentially a model for perhaps how all aid will one day be conducted: locally lead, effective, and sustainable."
Well, where do we start with Dave! His work with AfriKids over recent years has been inspirational as well as transformational! A Director at graphic design agency, Ape Inc. Ltd , Dave carried out a comprehensive rebrand of the organisation in 2010, capturing the passion we have for our development work, as well as the professional corporate image we need to portray in a way we could never have imagined. His commitment to understanding AfriKids’ history, culture and philosophy is exceptional and his engagement with the team in both the UK and Ghana throughout the rebrand process was inclusive and sensitive.
In October 2010, Dave travelled to Ghana to visit the projects and take part in the 'Experience Challenge', working incredibly hard along the way to capture some amazing video footage and photography for us. Our media library has been dramatically enhanced since!
When he’s not providing photography and design services to AfriKids and his other clients, Dave stars in the British comedy show, ‘The Mighty Boosh’ as Bollo, the Gorilla; he has helped us in character at several fundraising events!
Dave is currently putting on a photographic exhibition called 'Tough Crowd' which will consist of portraits of some of the most popular and well known comedians. Tough Crowd will take place at The Strand Gallery from the 5th-16th December. All profits from sale of the limited edition, signed prints will go to AfriKids.
“AfriKids is an amazing charity doing incredibly impressive things in Ghana, and they’re so groundbreaking in the way they think about aid and the future of the beneficiaries.”
Diane was introduced to AfriKids by Patrick and Paula Grossman, also Ambassadors, and visited Ghana for the first time in 2007. As a Breast Care Nurse, Diane spent her time in Ghana providing health checks and running awareness raising sessions with young people across a number of the projects and communities, spending time with many on a one-to-one basis and providing emotional support where needed. She volunteered in Ghana again in April 2009, working closely with the Operation Fresh Start girls.
Having spent so much time in Ghana Diane is truly passionate about AfriKids’ work and the children and young people it helps. She is also an AfriKids benefactor.
“I was impressed by all the Operation Fresh Start team; spending time with the project and hearing firsthand some of the girls’ stories was not only a privilege but also confirmed how the project is making a difference and transforming individual lives.”
Emma attended the same school as AfriKids founder, Georgie Fienberg and so was part of Georgie’s first ever fundraising efforts for the organisation. Truly inspired by what she had heard, Emma and her friend, Annabel volunteered in Ghana in 2003 at The House of Restoration, originally a disused public latrine transformed by three local men into a transitional home for children living on the streets (now the Next Generation Home). They spent two months living alongside the home’s beneficiaries, experiencing just how hard life had been for them and how the home and support of AfriKids Ghana was helping to turn their lives around.
Since then Emma has been a wonderful AfriKids champion, always spreading the word and keeping her ear to the ground for us. She played a huge part in AfriKids securing funding from the Winton Charitable Foundation, which is helping Operation Smiles and Operation Sirigu reach out to vulnerable children in the Upper East Region. Thank you Emma!
“It was a unique opportunity for us. Spending literally all day every day with the boys gave us a real insight into the Ghanaian way of life """ we were treated as equals in every respect… It was a truly liberating experience and one which we miss every single day… It is true what they say, once Africa gets inside you it becomes part of you. Bolga became our home and although we were devastated to leave we can console ourselves with the knowledge that we will return in the near future!”
We’re not sure where we’d be without Fred! Not only does his company, Connected Worlds provide a huge amount of support with the UK office IT, mostly on a pro bono basis, but it developed and now maintains the AfriKids Medical Centre database, ensuring it operates as efficiently as possible for the AfriKids Ghana staff.
As Georgie’s brother, Fred’s first Bolgatanga experience was all the way back in 2000 when he was only 16 years old. Visiting Ghana annually since, Fred has been able to watch AfriKids grow from the single initiative it once was to the now groundbreaking child rights organisation it is today. Fred continues to support AfriKids at every opportunity, making regular donations to the projects and being linked with Ayingura at Mama Laadi’s Foster Home. He is well and truly a part of the family.
Fred’s wife, Dr. Katie Walls, is also a keen AfriKids supporter, spending her medical elective in Bolgatanga and volunteering for us in October 2010 as the trip doctor for the ‘Experience Challenge’. She was an immense support to the 48 Deutsche Bank staff throughout the entire trip, ensuring they had all the healthcare advice they needed and were as comfortable as possible whilst staying with their host families.
Graham, now CEO at London’s Air Ambulance, was an AfriKids Champion within Deutsche Bank when we were the bank’s Charity of the Year in 2010. Committed and passionate about AfriKids’ work from day one, he supported us in driving forward a number of innovative, engaging and highly successful fundraising campaigns during the year-long partnership, which saw 2010 become the most successful charity partnership in Deutsche Bank’s history. Graham took part in the ‘Experience Challenge’ in October 2010, visiting Ghana for a week-long challenge and enhancing his belief in AfriKids’ work even further. He is currently a mentor to various members of the AfriKids (UK) team, did an inspirational speech about AfriKids and the ‘Experience Challenge’ at an Allen & Overy event (Drumming in the City) not long before we secured our two year global partnership with the firm, and continues to advise and support us during our growth and journey towards 2018.
Hugh has been part of the AfriKids family since day one, stepping down as a founding trustee after more than ten years at the end of March 2011. Without him, AfriKids would have been shaped very differently, and almost certainly not as effectively. For us he has been a model trustee, listening and immersing himself in our work and endeavours, never judging from the sidelines, engaging with us to tackle organisational challenges, and encouraging dynamism and out-of-the-box thinking rather than bureaucracy and restrictions.
He and his family have been committed fundraisers, throwing themselves wholeheartedly behind initiatives they believe will capture people’s imagination. Hugh has joined us for grant interviews, supported numerous challenges and events and sponsored children directly. AfriKids Ghana were thrilled to welcome Hugh and Liz to Bolgatanga in 2007.
We’re over the moon he is our founding AfriKids Ambassador.
"AfriKids is one of the most important happenings in my life... I am proud to have been along for the ride, and very proud to be an Ambassador for the future."
Thanks to James AfriKids has some fantastic systems in place to ensure we can keep track of all our magnificent donors and the beneficiaries we care for. James and Sam Witney (also an AfriKids ambassador) spent time assessing our needs as an NGO and advised on the most effective and efficient donor database for us, which we now couldn’t live without! In addition, following a trip to Ghana in 2008, James worked with Sam and the AfriKids Ghana team to design their very own beneficiary database, enabling them to closely monitor beneficiaries on a case-by-case basis, track a beneficiary’s individual needs and progress and ensure they receive the necessary care and support; another incredibly useful resource helping AfriKids Ghana to operate even more effectively.
As if this wasn’t enough, James also designed a bespoke silent auction system for AfriKids’ events on a completely pro-bono basis, which has made our fundraisers’ jobs at some of our biggest events a million times more manageable, helping to raise thousands of pounds for the projects in the process. In hindsight, we’re not sure how we coped without him!
"It's rare for me to have the opportunity to see a project through from beginning to end and get as close to the final users as I was able to with the beneficiary database. I thought I was well aware of the scale of services the AfriKids provides but to see the team in action in Ghana was something to behold. The professionalism, commitment and positivity is inspiring and my time there was educational and unforgettable in equal measure."
Jane was introduced to AfriKids when the organisation was launched in 2002 and has supported us ever since. Over the years she has been responsible for raising an incredible amount of money for AfriKids Ghana’s child rights projects, with the CVC Capital Partners (Jane’s current employers) Kilimanjaro Trek in 2010 which Jane organised raising an outstanding amount of money! First visiting Ghana in 2007, Jane was instrumental in the set-up of the now flourishing AfriKids IT Academy by introducing us to the Reed Cares giving scheme at her then employers, Reed Elsevier. She remains a regular donor and continuously engages her employers and colleagues in everything AfriKids. The AfriKids Family Tree shows just how many people Jane has introduced to us!
To the staff and children she has spent time with in Ghana, Jane is the real respect, compassion and fun of their supporters in the UK.
“As AfriKids grows from strength to strength and moves closer to achieving its overall aim of self-sustainability, I personally feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity of working with the charity and hopefully in playing a small part in helping it achieve its aims. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor AfriKids’ amazing journey and help out in as many ways that I can.”
Jim and his family have been incredibly generous and engaged supporters since 2005 when they first approached Georgie to learn more about AfriKids following her inspirational talk at Petworth Church. As well as making several donations to AfriKids’ projects, the family have also been linked to Kofi at Mama Laadi's Foster Home since 2006. They have remained closely in touch with him over the years, watching him grow into the determined, hard working young man that he is today. Jim’s son, Marcus, did this amazing painting of Kofi which now takes pride of place in his dormitory.
Jim is truly passionate about AfriKids and has generously supported many of AfriKids Ghana's projects over the years, as well as providing a grant for the AfriKids documentary 'How to make a difference in Africa’ and playing an essential part in the build of Mama Laadi’s Guest House.
"I thought I should tell you that the whole Rice family is absolutely bowled over by Kofi's most recent photo and letters... The letters are wonderful and the impression we are getting is that he is an amazing boy. Thank you all so much for your help in keeping the link alive!"
Jo Coles (nee Grimshaw)
Jo epitomises the perfect AfriKids champion, always supporting the UK team at fundraising events, engaging and inspiring her friends and colleagues to get involved and taking part in challenges to raise money for AfriKids Ghana’s projects. She has been linked with AfriKids’ Operation Zuarungu beneficiary Elijah since 2005, helping him to receive an education and his family receive healthcare under the National Health Insurance Scheme, as well as goats for rearing.
Jo had a fantastic trip to Ghana in 2008 when she was finally able to meet the AfriKids Ghana team and many of the beneficiaries, not forgetting Elijah too, and visit the projects she had learnt so much about. Mama Laadi’s children are reminded of Jo each day thanks to her marvellous paintings of cartoon characters on the walls of the Angus Dormitories.
"I was surprised and humbled by how happy all of AfriKids' beneficiaries were. After hearing some horrific stories I did feel very sad. However it was really encouraging to see how many lives had been significantly improved through the hard work and dedication of AfriKids staff."
As Head of Corporate Citizenship UK at Deutsche Bank, we’re so grateful to Kate for her amazing contribution to the AfriKids-Deutsche Bank partnership in 2010. She continuously motivated numerous colleagues throughout the bank to get involved in all of AfriKids’ fundraising events, including Colin Grassie, Deutsche Bank UK's CEO who Kate inspired to come on board the 'Experience Challenge' in October 2010. She even took part herself, living with AfriKids Ghana Fieldworker, Joe Asakibeem, and visiting Ghana once before this to see how the incredible money raised through the partnership was impacting local communities.
Moved and inspired during her first Ghana trip Kate has very generously personally supported AfriKids’ core project, The School of Night Rabbits, ever since. She even introduced us to her partner, Mike Wakely, a freelance journalist who came to Ghana in October 2010 to capture the eye-opening journeys of the 'Experience Challenge' participants for us.
"The passion and empathy of the AfriKids staff absolutely blew me away. Their dedication to each individual child and adult they support, and their persistence to solve their complex issues, is why this works."
Laura has been an essential member of the AfriKids team since 2004; she volunteered in the UK office for an amazing five years before working as a full-time member of staff for a further two years as the Finance and Administration Manager. The AfriKids teams use many of the processes she put in place to this very day! Laura may not be in the office quite so much these days but she helps out at every possible opportunity and has visited AfriKids Ghana on numerous occasions, as well as independently.
Laura has supported a number of AfriKids’ beneficiaries, helping to completely turn their lives around for the better. One of AfriKids Ghana’s drivers, Peter, even named his niece after her! Thank you for everything Laura!
"You’re going to be sadly missed in the AfriKids office. On a personal note, you’re a star, so much fun and so lovely... on a professional note, you’ve made such a massive impact in making AfriKids the organisation it is today."
(Liam Nolan, AfriKids UK)
The wonderful Lissa spent four years working at AfriKids, joining us in August 2008 as a Fundraising Assistant and sadly moving on to pastures new in May 2013. It wasn’t long before Lissa outgrew her initial role with the organisation as the Fundraising Assistant; her creativity and innovation saw her swiftly climb up to lead AfriKids’ annual events calendar, where she managed and delivered a huge array of fundraising events year-on-year. Her portfolio includes an annual Burns Night Supper (in collaboration with the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust headed up by AfriKids Ambassador, Nick Lawson), football tournaments, numerous AfriKids pub quizzes, a masquerade ball and a fashion show. Her events management at AfriKids culminated with a bang with the AfriKids Ten Year Anniversary Ball at the Natural History Museum in September 2012, where she worked alongside Joanna Stewart and Beata Bishop McCarthy to entertain over 500 guests at AfriKids (UK)’s anniversary celebration which raised over £170,000! Not long before this, Lissa’s focus expanded from events to communications and among numerous other things, she led AfriKids through its re-brand in 2010 (working closely with AfriKids Ambassador, Dave Brown) and helped us to define and strengthen the ‘AfriKids voice’ and continue to spread the word and enhance our donor base in new and innovative ways. Lissa left to set up her own business, an exciting new venture with potential for partnership with AfriKids down the line, so we look forward to working with Lissa again in the not so distant future.
We have Nick's incredible passion for AfriKids to thank for so much. Introduced to Georgie by founding AfriKids trustee, John Hickman, we met Nick whilst he was in the process of setting up the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust (ALMT) with his wife Kara. As founder of this charitable trust, which is committed to mitigating the suffering of the world's most marginalised children regardless of geography, ethnic background, class or religion, Nick became inspired by what AfriKids was achieving in the Upper East Region of Ghana and he is now one of our most committed supporters.
AfriKids is a regular partner in ALMT's annual Burns Night Supper fundraising event. Incredibly, since 2008 the amount raised for AfriKids through this event is over £250,000, funds which have been fundamental to the development of AfriKids projects, Operation Sirigu and Operation Sunlight.
Nick nominated AfriKids for one of two Deutsche Bank Charities of the Year in 2009 and following a competitive process of shortlisting and a staff vote conducted across the UK over two weeks, we were successful! Our partnership with Deutsche Bank went onto raise over £1,000,000 for AfriKids.
Nina is a true AfriKids hero! Following her wedding in 2008, did she jet off to a deserted island for her honeymoon? Oh no. Instead, Nina spent three months volunteering in the AfriKids Ghana Head Office with her husband, Duncan Spencer (an associate member of the AfriKids’ trustees board) on AfriKids’ sustainability projects. They spent long hours each day training staff on financial analysis, income projections, risk analysis, change control, process evaluation and business plans. Not a conventional honeymoon then!
Nina’s work and knowledge transference whilst in Ghana will have a huge, long-term impact on AfriKids Ghana. Now heading up CSR at Alpha FMC, Nina has volunteered her time to training AfriKids Ghana staff, Didas and Solo in business planning and is working on a salary-benchmarking project for AfriKids (UK). She and Duncan are returning to Ghana in August 2011 where Assibi, who they linked with, will be eagerly awaiting their arrival at Mama Laadi’s Foster Home.
“We have learnt a huge amount during our time in Bolga. One thing that has probably struck us most is the misconception we had about what help and assistance AfriKids Ghana would need from us. They have developed to the stage where they now perceive the most valuable volunteer assistance to be around developing management and financial planning skills, rather than needing additional pairs of hands to help in the field. This is perhaps the biggest indicator of just have far AfriKids Ghana has already come in their journey to independence.”
Patrick and Paula Grossman
Patrick and Paula first got in touch with us in 2007, having heard about AfriKids through friends and AfriKids supporters, Maggie and Tony Fletcher. As a Harley Street dentist, Patrick was really keen to visit the Ghana projects and use his skills to help in some way so, in October 2007, he and Paula travelled to northern Ghana where they set up dental clinics across a number of the projects and rural communities, providing dental education and advice to dozens of children and adults. The AfriKids Ghana staff jumped at the opportunity too! Patrick volunteered even more of his time in April 2009, visiting Ghana for a second time to provide dental health checks to the Operation Fresh Start beneficiaries.
When they're not in Bolga helping to make the smiles there even bigger, Patrick and Paula are on hand to help AfriKids in any way they can, introducing us to new supporters and very kindly donating to our projects on a regular basis. Their son, Ben was so inspired by their enthusiasm he took part in the extraordinary ski mountaineering race, Patrouille des Glaciers in 2010, the hardest Alpine ski race in the world, raising a fantastic amount of money for AfriKids in the process.
Thanks so much to Paula and Patrick
Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock
So many projects, activities and children’s lives have been impacted across the whole of northern Ghana thanks to the generosity of Paul and Jill. All in all, their support has benefitted over 20,500 people across the Upper East Region.
Paul has been instrumental in encouraging his colleagues to donate collectively to a wide variety of AfriKids’ projects over recent years including Operation Bolgatanga (the Next Generation Home), football strips for four AfriKids children’s centres, the AfriKids Outreach Vehicle and the AfriKids Blue Sky Lodge. In addition, Paul played a key part in the procurement of the AfriKids Medical Centre and remains engaged with and committed to the project to this day.
Paul and Jill’s financial support has been flexible around AfriKids’ most urgent needs at the time and heavily weighted on the long-term sustainability of our programmes and AfriKids Ghana as a whole. They have without exception responded quickly and generously to last minute requests for funding in areas which many other donors shy away from, trusting our instincts and encouraging new initiatives.
Paul and Jill have spring-boarded AfriKids across the city with their introductions and across the Atlantic with their air miles: they helped us to secure our incredible partnerships with Deutsche Bank, the Execution Charitable Trust and The Big Give and have saved us thousands of pounds worth of international flights to Ghana, funds which we have instead been able to feed into AfriKids’ projects.
Their daughter, Sophie has volunteered in the UK office and visited Ghana twice, the first time with her dad in February 2007. The family have welcomed Mama Laadi into their home and the children even let Laadi loose in their wardrobes she took pretty much everything she could for her 30+ children in Bolga!
“I have seen the tremendous difference AfriKids is making to improving the lives of street children and orphans as well as the significant enhancement they have brought to the well being of the general community with the Medical Centre they operate. I cannot emphasise how impressed I was by the quality of work they are doing there.”
Paul was an official AfriKids Champion within Deutsche Bank in 2010, and a fantastic one at that! Always attending meetings with the AfriKids staff full of enthusiasm and new ideas, he was a huge support throughout the year and joined his colleagues, Amy Parker and Kate Cavelle, on two eye opening Ghana trips, including the 'Experience Challenge' when Paul inspired a classroom of over 60 children with his newfound teaching skills.
Paul was incredibly moved by The School of Night Rabbits whilst in Ghana and has been a wonderful support to the project ever since, helping to change life for street children in Bolgatanga through his financial support and brilliant fundraising efforts. Throughout 2010 he personally sought support from colleagues throughout the bank and attended many of AfriKids' fundraising events, for which we are forever grateful.
"AfriKids listens. What hits you as you tour their projects is how long it must have taken to penetrate the complexity of the issues faced down to simple, workable levels."
Paul was introduced to AfriKids in 2009 and we can safely say that the AfriKids Medical Centre wouldn’t be what it is today without him. Paul is passionate and committed to the project, a dynamic social enterprise which he and his wife, Diana, have grown to love. He has made a number of incredibly generous donations to the centre and has dedicated a huge amount of time and energy into really understanding how it works. As a result the expansion of the Medical Centre in 2010 was made possible, with three new wards constructed and opened to the public at the end of the year, including the ‘Dr Bryce Curtis Ward’ named after Diana’s father, alongside a new administration area which enables the centre’s back office work to keep pace with the growth in patient services.
Paul and Diana visited Ghana for the first time in 2010 to see the projects in action, meet the staff at the forefront and see the Medical Centre in all its glory. They even hosted three AfriKids Ghana staff, Nich Kumah, Lena Naaso and Raymond Ayinne, at their home in London for two weeks in 2010. This was Lena and Ray's first ever UK visit and thanks to Paul and Diana, it was an incredibly welcoming and comfortable one.
"We had a wonderful experience with you in Ghana and we're so glad we came. We now know so much more about the fantastic work you do and have nothing but admiration for the organisation, commitment and compassion of AfriKids and the dedicated and intelligent way it is applied."
AfriKids' founder Georgie's parents have been wonderful ambassadors for the charity since before it even began. Their belief in and support of Georgie was instrumental in the charity’s establishment and their support over its first decade of operation continued to truly exceed any expectations.
Very sadly, in December 2011 Peter passed away, having contributed to the charity in innumerable ways both financially and as a mentor to Georgie. Carole continues as a committed ambassador through activities in the UK and hopes to visit Ghana again very soon.
The AfriKids Family Tree shows just how many contacts and organisations the Cohens have engaged; as examples, they’re responsible for the majority of the original UK trustee board members and Carole played a key part in AfriKids Ethical Trade teaming up with Human Kind and Topshop.
Sam’s support has been invaluable to AfriKids. He teamed up with colleague and friend, James Ball (also an ambassador), to examine how best we could track and monitor our UK donor base, ensuring we provide relevant project feedback to each and every one. He visited Ghana in 2008 to see the projects and worked alongside James and the AfriKids Ghana team to develop their own beneficiary database, helping them to track vital information for each and every beneficiary. When he’s not helping to ensure we’re 100% efficient through these fantastic systems, Sam is capturing lots of wonderful moments for us by camera at our fundraising events, on a completely voluntary basis, saving us hundreds of pounds! Thanks to him our media library is full of some brilliant snapshots and we’ve been able to provide some great feedback to our donors. His photos taken in Ghana in 2008 feature in many of our newly branded resources too.
“Visiting the AfriKids Ghana operations and meeting many of the children and families benefiting from the projects really opened my eyes to the amazing scale and impact of the organisation in the region. This work is only possible because of the boundless enthusiasm and professionalism of AfriKids staff on the ground in Ghana who deliver the projects, so it's a privilege to have played a part in conveying the impact and effectiveness of their work both with the beneficiary database and also my photography. Back at home, helping capture and convey the great work of the UK team and the many, many generous donors at fundraising events is a privilege.....and also great fun.”
Simon Wooller is a long-term AfriKids supporter and sponsored challenger extraordinaire. Having climbed Mount Toubkal in 2008, Mount Kili in 2010 and leading a Simien Mountain trek in March 2013, he has raised significant funds for AfriKids over the years. Perhaps helping to fuel his stamina and drive is his visit to AfriKids Ghana in October 2009 with fellow AfriKids Ambassador, Alistair Turner, when he spent a week directly witnessing the impact of his support. As the Asset Management Director at Telereal Trillium, with a background in property, Simon was absolutely integral to us securing our office space here in Holborn at a fantastic rate, and was with us at every step of the way during the entire process. We simply couldn’t have done it without him and with many of our donors and partners practically now our next-door neighbours, we’ll be forever grateful. We were over the moon to invite Simon to become an Ambassador in 2012 and are so pleased he said yes!
"I just wanted to thank you all again for an amazing week which really brought to life the great work you and the team are undertaking in and around Bolga. I’ve been asked a lot in the last week about how I found things in Ghana and what exactly you do. The great thing is that I can now talk from personal experience and it is amazing how much difference that makes to the level of people’s interest."
(Following his trip to AfriKids Ghana in 2009)
In December 2010, The Venture Partnership Foundation (VPF) awarded AfriKids a grant over four years and introduced us to our charity contact point, Stephen, one of VPF’s trustees and, until recently, MD of Hellman & Friedman. Since then, Stephen has been working closely with us on a pro-bono, advisory basis and has been incredibly helpful, supporting us with the development of a number of organisational strategies. He brings with him fresh insight and new ideas for how we can really drive AfriKids into the future and we’re incredibly excited to continue working with him.
Stephen is a member of VPF’s board of trustees. He has recently stepped down as a Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman, the global investment firm, but continues to be a Director or IRIS Software Group Limited, SSP Holdings plc and Web Reservations International. He has spent the past 17 years investing in software and Internet companies and has been involved at board level with over 50 companies during the course of his career.
Stuart and Erica Peters
Stuart and Erica joined the AfriKids family in 2003, introduced by Carole and Peter Cohen (Georgie's parents). They have believed in Georgie's vision and everything AfriKids is trying to achieve since day one and have provided huge support and encouragement over the years. They are two of the first AfriKids benefactors and their generosity has helped many of our projects become what they are today.
Stuart is founder of Stuart Peters Ltd, a UK based fashion importer which he manages alongside wife, Erica, a fashion industry expert. Their wealth of experience and contacts have been invaluable for AfriKids Ethical Trade and they continuously seek ways to develop the business. They even introduced us to Topshop which lead to a range of beach wear produced by the Operation Fresh Start beneficiaries being sold in-store in 2008!
Stuart and his family’s remarkable generosity over the years has completely transformed a number of AfriKids’ projects: Operation Bolgatanga (the Next Generation Home/NGH), the AfriKids Medical Centre and the AfriKids Blue Sky Lodge to name but a few. All in all their support has benefitted over 20,500 people across the region, giving them the opportunities in life that they deserve. This includes 62 children who have lived or live at the NGH, 260 family members of those children who have been provided with goats for rearing, 40 children supported through education or vocational training, 400 family members of those children provided with goats for rearing and health insurance and 20,000 people who have attended or taken part in annual awareness raising football tournaments.
Stuart has funded a number of our key promotional resources over the years, providing valuable advice along the way and enabling us to communicate AfriKids’ model more widely. This has not only been a huge benefit to AfriKids but also to other organisations in the sector who are able to learn from our work.
Stuart’s son and daughter, Nat and Rebecca, inspired by their dad’s enthusiasm for AfriKids have both visited Ghana, supporting the AfriKids Ghana staff across the projects and making a number of life-long friends along the way.
Stuart continues to be a very passionate and engaged AfriKids supporter and we’ll be forever grateful for everything he and his family have done.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for having me on the trip. I really did have the most amazing time. It was an eye opening trip that really put things into perspective for me... I cannot stop thinking about the major difference you have made to so many lives. All the work you do and how dedicated you are is really inspirational.”
(Nat Roden following a trip to Ghana, 2008)
Trevor Pears is the Executive Chair of the Pears Foundation, the family foundation he set up in 1992 with his two brothers, Mark and David. Trevor has been one of AfriKids’ most committed and valued partners since 2003. It is not only the scale of the Pears Foundation’s support which has been significant for AfriKids, but their enlightened and flexible approach. Their funding has enabled AfriKids to make pilot investments in challenging projects, and to invest strategically in our core activities.
Pears Foundation’s work is rooted in Jewish values. It is concerned with positive identity and citizenship and seeks to build respect and understanding between different backgrounds and faiths. Trevor oversees the strategic direction of the Foundation. He is passionate about the role and responsibility of private philanthropy to help address social issues, and wants to see an even stronger culture of giving developed in the UK.
Trevor visited AfriKids Ghana in 2006 with the Foundation’s Director Charles Keidan, when they were both able to meet some of the hundreds of children and families benefiting from their long-standing support.
Vidya has been a real life saver over the years, giving up her free time to help AfriKids at every possible opportunity. She volunteered in the UK office between mid-summer and March 2008 and left her mark by establishing a brilliant and long over-due donor database. Since then, Vidya has been on hand to help out at all our fundraising events and has continued to spread the word about AfriKids and inspire others to get involved. What a star!
"For me, volunteering at AfriKids' UK office was an extremely valuable and rewarding experience. Through working in a friendly environment alongside managers and other volunteers alike, I was able to gain an insight into the operations of an ethical and effective Charity and witnessed firsthand the benefits that AfriKids’ work brings to communities in Northern Ghana. Without a doubt, AfriKids gave me the perfect foundation with which to pursue a career in international development."