This week we celebrate Eradication of Poverty day by introducing you to one of the charities we work closely with: African Promise. We caught up with Charles, Founder of this wonderful charity and a close friend of ours, to discover more about their work in supporting education in East Africa and their goals for the future.
How did African Promise start?
It all started more than 15 years ago when I volunteered in the area in which African Promise
now works. I spent three months living and working alongside the community and fell in love
with the place and the people, who were so warm, welcoming and generous. A few years
later I returned and spent 6 months living with a local family and working with local people
to upgrade one of the village primary schools. Less than a year later African Promise was
born and as we head towards our 10th birthday in January we now work with seven partner
schools and more than 2,500 children.
You work towards spreading education in rural areas in Kenya. What are your goals for the incoming years?
As a small charity we have to be realistic about the number of schools we can work with;
there are more than 25,000 across Kenya so we will only ever scratch the surface. Instead we want to help those schools that we do support now and in the future to become the very
best they can be, and to be held up as an example of what primary schools in Kenya can, and should be. We are not there yet, not by a long way in some cases, but we are working
towards that goal!
Can you share with us one of your latest success stories?
Not necessarily our latest but one of our greatest success stories is our school meal
programme. Over the last four years we have delivered more than 1.5 million meals and we
currently provide a daily term-time lunch to more than 2,750 children. It is a relatively simple
intervention but one that has had a profound effect on pupils’ well-being and on their
learning, particularly over the last 18 months when a devastating drought has meant for
many pupils it is their only guaranteed meal of the day.
What is the part your job you enjoy the most?
The reality of my job running the charity with only a very small team in Kenya is that I spend
a lot of time in front of a computer screen sending emails, writing funding applications and
with my head in spreadsheets. But having the opportunity to spend time in our partner
schools – as I get to do regularly on my frequent trips to Kenya – makes all this work
worthwhile and extremely rewarding. There’s nothing I love more than being on the ground
designing and planning projects, and seeing with my own eyes the impact of our work!
In which ways can we all support the charity?
We are not a well-known, well-supported charity so every little thing that anyone can do to spread the word and help build our profile makes a difference to us: that could be as simple as engaging with us on social media. But, at the end of the day, we need funds to build
classrooms, to pay for teachers and to buy food, and people can help us achieve these things by making a donation, fundraising for us through a challenge event, or coming to our Christmas Carol Service in December.