The Global Concerns Trust (SC025640)
Newsletter, Issue 5, Dec 2014

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Christmas 2014!

GCT Christmas Message
Changing Lives in Malawi
Celebration of Children in India
Book Festival Cavalcade Kenya


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Global Concerns Trust would like to thank you for your support throughout the year, and wish you a happy festive season! 2014 has been a successful year for our projects in Malawi and India, and has brought a new partnership in Kenya. Our Global Gathering event in Edinburgh in May was a great success, and we raised £1,900 towards the Children’s Creativity Centre in Bangalore, India.

Changing Lives and Attitudes in Malawi

We are now half way through our 3 year project working with our partners, MACOHA and KODO, to provide vocational training and start up tools for 129 people with disabilities in Malawi. This August, Emma Duncan, GCT Malawi project manager, together with Warren Canham, supervisor at one of the four Scottish workshops where tools and machines are refurbished by volunteers with learning difficulties, visited Malawi to meet current and graduate trainees.

They were delighted to see the successful small businesses that graduate trainees have started up, and how these businesses are transforming the lives of the graduates and their families.
Emma and Owen
One of the graduates they met was Owen Banda. Owen is 26, lives in a remote village outside Nkhotakota, and is married with a son aged 2. Owen was able-bodied until 2008, when he had his leg bitten off by a crocodile whilst washing in a local river. As a disabled man, it was very hard for Owen to find paid work, and he and his family were supported by extended family. He grew cassava and maize, and had a very basic income of 2000 Malawi Kwacha (£3) per week.

After a year’s carpentry training in Nkhotakota, Owen received a start up kit of carpentry tools and materials. His training also included business skills, AIDS, reproductive health and gender awareness, as well as hands on knowledge as to how to run a carpentry business. However, starting a business back in his home village was not easy. People doubted that he, as a disabled man, would actually be a good carpenter. However, one of his neighbours gave him a chance, commissioning a coffee table. The whole community was impressed with Owen’s table, and orders have been coming in at a steady rate ever since, with customers travelling 5km to his workshop, built under a mango tree outside his house. 3 months after starting his business, Owen is making 10,000 Malawi Kwacha (£15) a week. He no longer needs support from his family, and is now financially independent. With the revenue from his business he has been able to purchase new iron sheets for the roof of his house, and a small solar panel. “If I want now, we can buy sugar every day”, he says! Owen is making savings with a village savings group, and has the ambition to start a grocery business for his wife. He is also passing on his carpentry skills to his cousin, who is working as his apprentice.

Owen’s story shows the impact that our project is having, not only on trainees’ lives, but on the attitude of whole communities in Malawi, towards people with disabilities.

Celebration of Children in India

Global Concerns India celebrated 20 years of CHILD Ashram in August this year. The Ashram, in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, provides education, shelter, and sense of belonging for street children. The children from the early days of the Ashram have grown up now but still see themselves as the brothers and sisters of the younger children who now call the Ashram home. Ashram boys are now working as a police inspector, government officer, research associate, and one is studying in America on a scholarship. Ashram girls have gone on to further education in nursing and teaching, and one has been awarded 2 acres of land by the Nellore government to start a home for senior citizens.

In Bangalore, Global Concerns India has expanded its assisted learning programme for first generation school children. Girls who Global Concerns has supported for the last ten years have completed their schooling and have been encouraged and assisted to continue their education at college, and are the first from their families to do so. The girls are also being trained to be mentors for the school children now going through the assisted learning programme.

The Global Walk for the Missing Girl Children of India
This year in October, Global Concerns India coordinated the Global Walk for the Missing Girl Children of India in Bangalore, with a record participation of 1,100.  Girls and young women go missing on an hourly basis in India; many are trafficked for labour and prostitution. School boys and girls took part in the Global Walk, expressing the views of the younger generation that violence against girls and children must end.

The Global Concerns Trust continues to fundraise for the Children’s Creativity Centre in Bangalore. We still have some way to go to raise the funds needed, and would appreciate any donations, however big or small!

Book Festival Cavalcade Kenya

Imagine a world where children of all backgrounds have the opportunity to engage, discuss, work alongside exceptional writers, artists and poets from around the world, broadening their horizons and creating works inspired from these conversations!
The Storymoja Book Festival in Nairobi is one of Africa’s largest book festivals, attracting world class authors, storytellers and poets from around the globe, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ben Okri and Jung Chang. With a view to widening the social impact of the festival, GCT has partnered with Storymoja to work more closely with new communities in a build up to the festival, to ensure that children from disadvantaged areas can participate in and take some ownership of the festival. We aim to work with 10 schools and communities from disadvantaged areas in and around Nairobi on our Cavalcade project.

The project will invite inspirational writers, thinkers, poets and artists to work within the selected schools, engaging them in conversation and encouraging them to think outside the box on themes relating to the festival. Following these workshops, the participants will work with artists using local materials to create a float for a cavalcade, which will navigate the streets of Nairobi to celebrate the opening of the festival. Other schools, communities and groups will be invited to participate in the cavalcade, making it larger and more inclusive. We aim to unite disparate groups in a collaborative cultural celebration.

This cavalcade will be a first for Kenya! Whilst taking inspiration from parades and cavalcades around the world, the Storymoja Book Festival cavalcade will draw on Kenyan culture and have a definitive Kenyan presence.

Global Concerns Trust is in the fortunate position to have Directors with a strong Kenyan connection and the expertise of a professional storyteller and Edinburgh Festival performer, Mara Menzies. In 2015, we will be holding fundraising events to support the Cavalcade project and engage with others who might see this project as a positive model for future collaborations. We look forward to updating you on our progress!
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