What's been happening over the Summer at AidCamps?


Its been several weeks since you've heard from me and been updated on what AidCamps has been up to over the UK summer - unless you've subscribed to one of our newsletters of course!

After the successful completion of the Sri Lanka project with Rookwood School we published a review of the project written by one of the teachers who participated in the project. It features some lovely feedback for us and some great comments from the students and we've added pretty much all the photo's we have in the accompanying gallery!

However, you're only as good as your next project and so we quickly moved on to preparing the volunteers heading off to Malawi for their departure on 6 September. Bill Edgar, our co-ordinator for the project has been in touch and has said everyone arrived safely and is now on site at the African Vision Malawi training village (now called Sam's Village) at M'Teza.

Malawi seems to be a country of firsts for AidCamps: when we went there in 2012 it was to build our first 'rammed earth' building. Now in 2014, we're going back to run our first AidCamp using tented accommodation (yes, I know ... despite our name!). I'll keep you updated with progress on the AidCamp as much as I am able to however Bill tells me that he only has access to the Internet in Lilongwe and then only sporadically.

Our next project is in Cameroon and we encountered another challenges here - the world of international development never runs smoothly! Unfortunately, the accommodation arranged for the project in Manjo fell through and so we had to relocate our project to the village of Mbveh, in the north west of the country.

Thankfully, our sister charity BSFA stepped in to take over the Manjo project and we took up a project that they'd been planning to carry out at the secondary school in Mbveh. It's a three-classroom build but I know our volunteers are up to the challenge and they'll be in safe hands with our amazing, local partner SHUMAS.

Sadly, it wasn't all good news over the Summer. Despite our best efforts we were unable to recruit sufficient volunteers for our planned project with CARD at the Sita Rajaram Polytechnic in Tamil Nadu, India scheduled for February 2015. The Trustees reluctantly took the decision to postpone the project and look for an alternative that might attract more support.

Alongside this work we've been looking at how we might be able to attract more corporate Groups to volunteer with AidCamps in the future so that we can build on the excellent support that we and our partners have already received from organizations such as AkzoNobel, Clymac and Sage. If you have any ideas or any contacts - perhaps you work for a company that you'd like to see take on a project overseas with us - then do get in touch by emailing info@aidcamps.org.

Alongside all of this there's been the slightly less interesting 'stuff' that just needs doing ... the writing of the annual report being at the top of the list. Still, though it can be a daunting task it does give us an opportunity to reflect on what's been achieved within the period covered by the report and it did unveil a milestone we almost didn't notice!

Since AidCamps International was founded in 2003 (though we did operate informally prior to this) the charity has helped to raise almost £1.25m for our partners (at the time of writing I calculated it to be £1,229,793 so if you'd like to make a donation to take us closer please do so...).

The Trustees were delighted to note this milestone and also to see that we were already on the way towards our second million!

So what now? Well, I'm working on the details of our next Group AidCamp in Nepal which we hope to publish in the next few days and which will run in November 2015. Alongside this, I'm also looking at what we might be able to achieve in Sri Lanka and possibly Malawi next year and when and if we can expand our portfolio to Ethiopia - I have a possible itinerary I'm working on and I'm carrying out the research to ensure the work is necessary, wanted by the community and will provide a rewarding experience for our volunteers.

There's plenty more but I'm thinking that by now your coffee is getting cold and you're thinking about a comfort break ...

If you have any comments or questions don't hesitate to get in touch and hopefully I'll write another blog soon updating everyone on progress in Malawi.




Matt Higgins
Very sorry I missed signing up for Tamil Nadu ; would be glad to next time

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