Our Mission

Generating growth for African children and communities devastated by HIV-AIDS and poverty, through the goodwill of people in the UK and elsewhere


July 2017

1000 Hills Shows us why every donation is special...

1000 Hills Shows us why every donation is special...

We have a lovely story to share from the wonderful 1000 Hills Community Helpers this week...

'Today this little angel walked into our lives, only 4 weeks old and born prematurely she was in desparate need of clothing and food.

We dressed her up nice and warm in clean clothing and saw her off to our doctor for a check up.

This is why we emphasise the importance of donations for our babies.'

Well done to all at 1000 Hills for their amazing work and support of babies like this one. Huge thanks to all our donors and supporters who make their work possible. We are able to provide annual funding towards the running costs of their clinic, ensuring babies like this can access the treatment and care they need.

On her recent visit to South Africa, Sarah took out lots of knitted items which have been donated by various wonderful people here in the UK. Many of these donations were taken to 1000 Hills, to help little babies like this one.

Visit their website for further information.

Alan's News from Sierra Leone

Alan's News from Sierra Leone

GAGA Trustee Alan, continues his great work in supporting various schools in Sierra Leone. We've had news on the work at these schools - you can follow Alan on Twitter here, and download his newsletters. Alternatively, just get in touch to get his news straight to your inbox!

Rainwater harvesting systems have recently been installed at Liverpool Community School and as the rainy season begins the benefit of the systems is already being appreciated. The Headteacher of the school says 'Pure water is very difficult to access locally so people in our community are very happy for these facilities you have provided.' Handwash stations have also been added, thanks to fundraising at UK school Willesley Primary. The headteacher thanks everyone, stating: 'we regard it as a necessity...  Basic day to day hygiene is an issue for the school children and the rainy season is always associated with an increase in water borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. The provision of handwash stations will reduce the risks...'

At the Christian Hope School a new roof and ceilings have been completed after the rainy season created damage to the almost 20 year old building.

In the past 12 months Alan has raised over £27,000 for the projects he supports in Sierra Leone.

Sarah heading off on Annual Leave

Sarah heading off on Annual Leave

Sarah will be on annual leave next week, returning to the GAGA office on 17th July.

She will respond to any emails and calls as soon as possible on her return.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

June 2017

GAGA Email Issues

GAGA Email Issues

Sarah is currently experiencing difficulties accessing her GAGA emails. If you have contacted her she will try to be in touch as soon as possible, but in the mean time please do forward your emails to her on saralhodgson01@gmail.com

Sorry for any difficulties



Sarah is off...

Sarah is off...

GAGA's Sarah is, this Saturday, heading back to South Africa to visit the projects supported there by GAGA. She's excited to see what's been happening over the past few months as well as to find out more about what's coming up in the next year or so.

Sarah will visit each project and will also be joined by a group of self-funded volunteers from the University of Leeds. They are nutrition students and so will be helping with some healthy eating workshops and nutritional analyses, they're also going to get stuck in wherever needed. They're looking forward to learning lots throughout the trip.

Sarah will be out of the office from 16th June. She will be working with GAGA until 6th July and then will be on leave until 16th July. She'll aim to get back to any emails as quickly as possible, but please bear with us whilst she's gone. Thank you.

If you want to read all about her trip you can follow her blog here.

We've got a new Fundraiser!!

We've got a new Fundraiser!!

We've got a new fundraiser! And we're thrilled!

We hope you'll join us in giving Hana Smiddy a warm welcome to the GAGA family. GAGA director Sarah met Hana about a year ago and they got chatting about GAGA's work. It sparked Hana's interest, and through Take Flight Aviation we organised the Loop the Loop Challenge (take part here).

Next year, Hana will be visiting South Africa and spending some time at the projects GAGA supports there. She hopes to use many of her skills, particularly those she's gained working with children and at her local Beavers group, at various projects and in particular at First Step Right School.

In the run-up to her visit, she aims to raise £2,500! What a staggering target and we wish her all the best. She's going to undertake various challenges and we'll keep you updated along the way.

You can find out more about Hana's fundraising, and show your support, by clicking here.

The latest from Sierra Leone

The latest from Sierra Leone

We've received GAGA Trustee Alan's latest newsletter on his work in Sierra Leone, supported by GAGA UK.

Last year, the Woodstock & Kidlington Rotary group set up a 100 club and donated over £1,500 to GAGA UK for a rainwater harvesting system in Sierra Leone. This money, along with some match-funding, has now enabled Alan to help install rainwater harvesting systems on all 4 classrooms at the Banbury International Community School in Waterloo. They've also added a handwash station at the toilet block.

Alan is fundraising for other schools, and has much more going on. You can click here to view Alan's Twitter feed and download more news.

Alan ships donations to Zambia

Alan ships donations to Zambia

GAGA UK Trustee Alan Wolstencroft recently sent 70 boxes of donated childrens clothing, sports kit, knitted baby wear and knitted blankets to the Wye Valley Zambia Project, a project supported by the Rotary Club of Bourne End and Cookham and the Wye Valley Interact Club. They work with a charity called Operation Sunshie who support several communities in Zambia and regularly send shipping containers to the country.

All the items had been donated to Alan to support his work in Sierra Leone as well as elsewhere in Africa through GAGA UK. As there were no plans to ship to either South Africa or Sierra Leone (due to the high costs involved) we decided to support this fantastic project.

The container is still on the water and we hope to get some photos of the items once they have been distributed in country.

GAGA Director Sarah will soon be visiting South Africa and will be taking some knitted donations with her (as much as she can squeeze in her suitcase). If you've donated something to Sarah over the past few months, you should receive some photos in August but drop us an email if not (sarah@gaga-uk.org).

The Fight is not Over

The Fight is not Over

We recently received Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust's (HACT) monthly newsletter. Be sure to keep up with all their news by signing up to receive their updates here.

This year we have supported HACT through sponsoring a bed in their Respite Unit and we are often reminded of why this is so hugely important, and the impact it has on individuals' lives.

Despite so much busy-ness and positivity at the Centre, they have also recently been struck by tragic losses. Working with those affected by HIV/AIDS means that this is a struggle they are often faced with.

A 15 year old boy was recently brought to the Respite Unit, but sadly it was too late for him and he was so sick. His death his the team very hard. Despite the efforts at HACT, the boy's family refused to allow him to get tested and access life-saving ARV treatment which he so desperately needed. This was another reminder for the centre, and for all their supporters, that the fight against the ongoing transmission of HIV/AIDS, and also against the ignorance and stigma surrounding it, is a real one. No one should lose their life because they don't know their status and are denied treatment.

This sad story once again highlights the fragility of life in South Africa and why what GAGA does, along with our supporters and the organisations we partner with, is so important.

If you would like to find out more from Hillcrest AIDS Centre, please visit their website. We continue to be proud of their hard work and strength in such situations. They continue to have hope, and to fight this battle. Well done.

Volunteers Week

Volunteers Week

Today marks the start of Volunteers Week across the UK. This gives us a chance to showcase the amazing work of our volunteers, and of course another chance to say thank you.

To those who fundraise on our behalf, those who volunteer at events or in our office, those who give their time to help with our book-keeping, those who visit and help out at the projects we support in South Africa...

You all make a huge difference to our work in such varied ways, and we wouldn't be able to do what we do without you!

If you feel motivated to support us, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Don't hesitate to get in touch. Click here to visit our Facebook page and see photos of our recent volunteers and what they've been up to!

May 2017

Spirit of Africa continue the great work you started...

Spirit of Africa continue the great work you started...

Our agreed partnership with Spirit of Africa has now come to an end and this UK based charity will now be fully supporting Ithembalihle home and pre-school.

GAGA UK have supported this project for over 5 years, and in the past 2 years have begun an agreed transition with Spirit of Africa.

We're thrilled that Spirit of Africa can continue to provide funding and support to this amazing project. This charity is currently solely dedicated to Ithembalihle and we're sure their dedication will take the project from strength to strength.

We'll be sure to follow their progress and keep you updated. We wish Spirit of Africa and Ithembalihle all the best in the future, and this is not the end of our support for this project which helps so many children.

Thank you for your support of Ithembalihle over the years, particularly to those who have been heavily involved with the building projects there. Over the past few years you have helped build a dormitory block and a pre-school building as well as provided for the chidlren living and being educated at the project. It wouldn't have been possible without you.

You can find out more about Spirit of Africa by clicking here.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch ( info@gaga-uk.org ) if you've any questions.

Thank you.

Want to be the next 'Biggles'?

Want to be the next 'Biggles'?

Ian Hodgson (a.k.a 'Biggles') recently took part in the Loop The Loop Challenge and raised almost £500 for GAGA UK. Huge thanks to Ian, for his support and bravery!

Would you like to go loopy for GAGA? You could be the reason that 170 children in South Africa are able to go to school next week, helping to raise money for the school's running costs. You could be the reason a young mum can access medical care and support.

What's stopping you? Take a watch of our video (click here), to find out what you're letting yourself in for. You'll also see links on our You Tube Channel to videos of GAGA's Sarah 'going loopy' and of Ian's flight - we wouldn't ask  you to do something that we wouldn't do!

Click here to find out more.

Philani's Story

Philani's Story

Dawn, founder and Director at 1000 Hills, has recently shared a story of hope coming from the centre. It reminds us how important the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre is...

Philani arrived at 1000 Hills over a month ago. He was severely malnourished and under-weight. Philani tragically lost both his parents who had been shot when he was only a few months old.

With no other family, a neighbour took him under her care. She brought his to the centre to visit the clinic. At the age of 2 years old he weighed just 6kg.

1000 Hills decided that they would care for him for the week so they could monitor his health. He is in Rosie's class, in the toddlers section at the school. Since he has been at the centre his health has improved drastically and his weight has increased to 9.1kg.

He absolutely loves his food and of course his wonderful teacher.

We're so grateful that 1000 Hills is working hard and supporting people within the surrounding communities. Each year we provide funding for their clinic, enabling them to continue supporting all ages have access to health care and support. Thanks to your support and donations, this funding can continue.

Baking a Difference

Baking a Difference

Last week, GAGA volunteer Vicki organised and hosted a fundraising coffee morning, in aid of GAGA. 
We all had a lovely morning, with cake as well as a raffle and African crafts on sale.

A staggering total of £313 was raised in just a couple of hours!! Huge thanks to Vicki - what an amazing total to reach.

£300 could help to pay for 300 clinic visits, helping people in rural South Africa access the health care they need.

The following day, Vicki sent the following message...

'I'm so pleased and very surprised that we made such an amazing amount of money! It was a real pleasure to do it for you, I really enjoyed the whole thing and am so happy it's going to such a good cause.'

Thanks again to Vicki, and Marissa for her assistance as well as all those who came along!

Why we do what we do - In Tutu's Words

Why we do what we do - In Tutu's Words

This week we want to once again, show case one of the amazing students who we sponsored through university (thanks to your support, and that of Sangobeg Development Ltd). We'll let Tutu share her story, and help her to tell you why we do what we do.

"I am one of the luckiest girls who had the opportunity to go to varsity to study and become something in this world because of GAGA.

I have always wanted to do something in the medical field because I enjoy working with people... and always wanted to give back to my community through something that's medical related.

After four years of hard work, I am now a qualifed Physiotherapist. Something I have always wished for but back then didn't seem possible due to certain circumstances but because of the support received from GAGA, it was possible.

In SA,  almost each semester there are strikes in Universities relating to Financial exclusion. Students get excluded because they are unable to pay university fee's. It is such a sad thing to witness but thanks to GAGA, my fees were always paid on time and I never had to face financial exclusion.

I am now employed by the Kwa-Zulu Natal department of Health  as a Junior Physiotherapist working at  a Tertiary Hospital in Durban. I am still hoping to get more deeper into the medical field and actually become a doctor, some day.

I am really really thankful to GAGA. I don't know where I'd be in life it it wasn't for them. Thank you for the commitment, the dedication, the passion that they have in helping this country (SA). It is truly appreciated. There are  no words that could express how thankful I am."