Raining at home but the outlook for AidCamps is bright!!


It's been a couple of months since I posted a blog on what AidCamps International is up to and I thought, now the summer is well and truly over, that it was time for an update.

Late July and August may have been damp affairs but the future is definitely brighter at AidCamps!

We have a near-full project going to Cameroon in November to build classrooms at Rifem Mbiame and our project in Nepal in March 2016 with AkzoNobel has smashed all previous fundraising targets. In fact we hope to ultimately reach in excess of £80,000 and therefore have increased the size and scope of the project, expanding it beyond the original site at Shree Shakti LSS to Devi Raman school and possibly beyond!

Recruitment for our project in February at Andinet School in Ethiopia is slower than we would like. This is disappointing because of the number of volunteers who said that a project in Ethiopia would be a great addition to our portfolio.

A couple of people close to AidCamps have made suggestions as to why this might be the case: are potential volunteers put off by the camping or perhaps they worried about the weekend walking in the Simien Mountains?

I'm not sure if either of these things are issues but I'd like to take the opportunity here to try and reassure people about these particular aspects of the project.

Firstly, we are camping in the school grounds and this will bring all the fun that camping usually brings! However, our partners at Link Ethiopia are purchasing high quality tents that will provide more accommodation than is required so volunteers can live in relative comfort. We're also looking at good quality roll mats or camp beds to avoid the discomfort of sleeping on a hard floor. We'll have support from local people with our cooking and access to very good kitchen facilities at a neighbouring school supported by another UK charity.

At the weekends, we'll be in our usual bed and breakfast style, or affordable hotel accommodation to get a break from camping.

And for the Simien Mountains trek I hear you ask? Well this isn't about training you for Everest (you have that chance when you go to Nepal with us next time!). This is about seeing this amazing plateau for yourself with a modest degree of effort. The trail starts at around 2,600m and the highest point we reach is about 3,200m. The walk is undulating and not a climb and we circle the canyon below, walking around the rim rather than scaling its walls every five minutes! We'll be in the park for two days and probably walking for about 3 hours or thereabouts each day. In the evening we'll lodge at Sankaber Camp.

For those volunteers who really aren't able to walk, we can make arrangements for you to stay with the support vehicle so that you can enjoy some of the sights without all that strolling through the bush!

If there are other reasons why you think this project might not be attracting would-be volunteers (including yourself) then do let me know. The projects we advertise are always needed but we can't deliver them without volunteers and without your support.

Anyway, on to Sri Lanka in July 2016. This is a return to work with our usual partner in the country SERVE. They are really keen to put the finishing touches to their Home Away from Home Centre in Modera, Moratuwa.

This project is key not only because it provides valuable services to children and poor families in the area but because finishing it will allow SERVE to offer accommodation to other charities and NGOs working locally - allowing them to be based at the heart of this community whilst also bringing in much-needed revenue for SERVE, which will help them become more sustainable in the medium to long-term. If the volunteers enjoy this wonderful country and this great project too, then it will be a win-win-win opportunity all round!

And the future, well we hope to have something to advertise in India again in the not-too-distant future. We've longed to go back to our first ever partner SCAD for some years and we might just have found the project! The itinerary and work might be slightly different to our usual format but this only makes the project more exciting and interesting to old and new volunteers alike. So, as you have heard on many an occasion I'm sure, watch this space for more news!

And finally, some changes on our Trustee board. As you know we have appointed three new Trustees this year. Well our Chairman, Bryan Stevens also decided that after almost a decade, it's time to invite someone else to Chair the charity and the Trustees appointed Julie Vincent, our current Secretary and one of AidCamps' founding Trustees, as the new Chair.

Though Bryan remains a Trustee, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his hard work and dedication over the years and for the support and advice he has given each of us on occasion. I would also like to wish Julie Vincent well in her new role. She has some big shoes to fill (yes, this is an in joke!) but we know she is more than capable of fulfilling the role and taking AidCamps forward. Best of luck to you both!

And that's it from me for now. Feel free to leave any questions or comments and if the mood strikes you, email me at the usual address info@aidcamps.org


Ps. I knew I'd forget something. We have been lucky enough to secure a place in next year's London Marathon! If you would be interested in running on behalf of AidCamps and you are able to fundraise and make your way to London to participate please do get in touch. This is a great way to promote the charity and its work and to raise much needed funds.



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