The end of 2011….
MUCH has happened since the last time we updated this blog and I do apologise for my lack of alacrity in this matter but as a one man band, I inevitably lose track of something! But I am back on it now and 2012 is going to be a year when you all know what is going on and are kept up to date with the very exciting progress we are making!
The last few months of 2011 brought about the registering of The Foundations Project Trust with thanks to Clare Peech who very kindly assisted us in that process. Once that was done, it seemed that we had a very real project on our hands and suddenly this was no longer a fun school girl idea but it was ACTUALLY happening! And many more things brought me to this conclusion as the year came to an end. We had designed for us a very cool logo by Christine Seaman at Simply Creative:
Having this logo has meant we now have a presence and we parade it around like no man’s business!
We had two great fundraising events/awareness campaigns, one after another, to end the year off with a bang and make sure that the project was able to continue into 2012. Our first was a wonderful art exhibition showing the works of Brennan Seward who worked tirelessly with me to pull the whole thing off (who would have thought fundraising would be such hard work? And now I realise that it is never going to stop either – but we did have lots of fun planning it and on the night!!) The evening was held at Amanzi Lodge in Harare and people were invited by invitation only. We had a raffle of beautiful prizes donated by amazing friends and an auction of the main piece at the exhibition. We managed to pull off a wonderful evening with no glitches and a good celebration afterwards!
The second event we took part in last year was the 20 mile run from the Enterprise Sports Club on the Shamva Road to OGs sports club in town (for those who know Harare!) 32kms of gruelling running, much of it UPHILL but we were wearing our Foundations Project t shirts and were ‘running for a reason’ which made it all worth it! Our incredibly faithful volunteers were up bright and VERY early that Sunday morning setting up the waterpoint. They handed out cokes and water to those on their last legs who still had 3km to go until the finish line. But their motivation and support kept us all going and I wish to thank everyone who helped at both of these initial events for our project.
The beginning of 2012….
This year has started off with a bang with us moving into our new offices at 14 Aintree Road where we can now run all our administration from. It is central and has a fabulous coffee shop so meetings are a delight! (Cake is also on offer so if anyone wants to come and ‘see me’, you know where to come!) We have now got the cash to start building the first school but are waiting on the finalisation of land which is proving to be a little more complicated that initially envisioned!
We have met some absolutely AMAZING people throughout this whole experience including a gentleman who owns a great piece of land next door to the JCF centre in Old Snake Park. He and his family of about 32 members live on this 8.5 acre plot, grow mealies and other crops and live day by day, hand to mouth. He, however, seemed very on the ball when we spoke to him and so I asked him what he did. He was a lecturer in motor mechanics at the university in town and then went to work for an NGO. He knew all the lingo and when I kept reiterating that I was NOT going to hand out cash in any way but was going to provide them with income generating projects and help them that way, he said ‘Ah, so you are not giving us the fish, you are giving us the rod!’ – he CLEARLY went to preschool! His children and their ten or so cousins living on the property will be some of the first students we have at our school. They are, like their father/uncle, incredibly intelligent, polite and hardworking from what we have seen in the visits we have made there. The older of the preschool aged children spend their days looking after the babies while the caregivers work the fields and it is precisely these children and those like them that we want to give the opportunity to go to school, to play like children should, to be given the attention and mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stimulation that every child needs.
We do not think that we will use their land for the school but would like to set up some income generating projects there as they have a great chicken run already built and a perfect spot for mushroom farming. I am learning all about agriculture and how it works in the African culture as well as considering the possibility of buying a brick making machine. These are things no degree could ever have talk me and I am incredibly grateful for my experience on the ground and my time spent with the people and the children whom I have grown to love so much.