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

News

November 2017

Fundraiser Hana hits £2,000 target

Fundraiser Hana hits £2,000 target

Take Flight Aviation's Hana Smiddy set herself a £2,000 fundraising target back in June. She's now raised this to £2,500 due to her fundraising success!

She will be joining GAGA's Sarah in South Africa in March, visiting First Step Right and other projects that we support there. Prior to her visit, she wanted to raise funds to support our work.

Last week, she smashed her target after a successful Wine Tasting Evening with Seven Springs wine which raised almost £500 alone.

Hana has also taken on the Windemere 21 Kayaking Challenge, and more recently the Wolf Run with her husband Simon, as well as GAGA friend Alan and GAGA's Sarah.

Throughout December, she'll be wearing a different Christmas jumper each day to help raise further funds for GAGA UK.

Huge thanks to Hana and all those who have supported her this far. She has already helped to make a huge difference!

Show your support here.

Boy of 10 assisted by 1000 Hills

Boy of 10 assisted by 1000 Hills

We're so proud that we're able to continue supporting 1000 Hills Community Helpers and their Clinic.

We send quarterly funding, made possible only through your donations and support, which helps run their clinic. Thousands of individuals are supported throughout the year, from the neighbouring rural communities. They would otherwise, have to travel far and spend much more time and money to access medical support.

Recently a small boy of just 10 years old visited the clinic. He was alone, and had a bloody hand covered by a dirty cloth. He had been diggining in a pile of rubbish when he injured himself. He lived at home with his grandmother, but she had been out when the incident occured. The boy said that he knew if he came to the community centre, someone would be able to help him as he had come many times for food after school. His would was washed and cleaned, and he was given a tetanus jab.

He was taken home and left in the care of nearby neighbours. The young boy returned until the sutures were removed.

The clinic not only provided him with medical help but also a place of comfort and care, knowing that at any time help was available.

You are saving lives

You are saving lives

'Your work is saving lives and I wish God can bless you with more facilities to accept more people.'

These are the words from Thabani, a patient at Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust's Respite Unit. We were able to sponsor one bed this year, thanks to your support, and help people like Thabani access treatment, love and care.

You can read more about the difference you've helped to make, from the team who helped Thabani improve his health in the HACT annual report. Click here.

If you would like to donate to support HACT, simply click here and reference HACT.

Thank you.

October 2017

We urgently need your help

We urgently need your help

We really need your help to fix damage caused by a recent storm in South Africa, at First Step Right School.

Please visit our crowdfunder page here, to find out more.

A huge strom recently battered Durban and ares of Kwa Zulu Natal. FSR didn't escape and there was flooding inside and out. There were leaks where the roof and ceiling boards have been damaged.

We urgently need your help to help fix the roof, before the rains return.

The work has begun, but there's a lot to be done!

Thank you for your support.

Australian Friends

Australian Friends

We were thrilled yesterday when we had an email from Julie. She is visiting the UK with her family and were in Stratford to see some Shakespeare. Around 3 weeks ago, they were researching what else they could do in Stratford and news of GAGA's Remembering Tree popped up!

They were inspired and Julie and her 12 year old daughter Hannah, learnt to crochet in that short time, and this morning have brought in some squares for our tree!!

Julie is originally from Zimbabwe and they used to call her grandma 'Gaga', and so they really couldn't resist supporting us in this way.

It's always wonderful to meet people with a passion for our cause. Our Remembering Tree is becoming truly global, as there will be squares on there from all over the UK, as well as South Africa and now Australia.

Huge thanks to Julie and Hannah, and all our supporters of the Remembering Tree. Find out more here.

September 2017

Full house at HOLAH

Full house at HOLAH

HOLAH are having a busy time at the moment and have a (more than) full house.

HOLAH is the main project of Likhon iThemba, a great organisation in Durban, South Africa. HOLAH is a safe-have that exists to provide love and care for abandoned, neglected or orphaned babies until they can be placed with adoptive families.

They currently have a volunteer visiting. You can read about Mike's experiences here on our blog.

Mike, along with Leanne, Jodie-Lee and other HOLAH volunteers recently went to a homeless shelter in Durban. As well as caring for babies in need, Likhon iThemba try to assist others who are struggling. They get donations of food and clothing, and share whatever they can't use to help the babies. At this shelter recently they found a 6 year old girl and her baby brother who were being severely neglected. With the police's permission, they took the two children to hospital and are now caring for them at home to ensure they get fit and healthy. They will work with social services to reach the best outcome for these children.

This week (after just a week of being at HOLAH), the little girl has started school and is blossoming. HOLAH say: 'yesterday I was leaving and out of nowhere I got a "bye, thank you, love you"... so incredible having this child blossom so much in 1 week, watching her absorb things like a child should, and being so loved by everyone around her. She has an incredibly bright future ahead and we are so lucky to be apart of this journey.'

If you are able, please make a donation here to help care for this little girl and the others at HOLAH. It costs just £65 a month to care for one child at HOLAH.

HOLAH Volunteer Visits Shelter...

HOLAH Volunteer Visits Shelter...

We wanted to share an incredibly honest and open account from Jodie-Lee Donnison, who volunteers at HOLAH, in South Africa.

This organisation support a wide variety of projects. Mainly, they provide a house of love for abandoned or orphaned babies, hunting for forever homes for them. They also support creches and individuals in need in the local area. You can click here to read Jodie-Lee's account of a recent visit to a homeless shelter.

It is a tough read, but reflects the reality for many in Durban and beyond, and provides one of the many reasons for why we continue to fundraise to support projects doing great things in South Africa.

We're proud that we were able to support HOLAH with a loan at the end of last year, thanks to you, to set up their Charity Hop Shop. We hope we can continue to support them in to the future.

 

 

Hana passes £1,000 mark...

Hana passes £1,000 mark...

Hana Smiddy has recently joined the GAGA fundraising 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). Sarah also went along to the Beaver's Group which Hana works with, to talk to them about First Step Right. Hana decided she wanted to go to the school for herself, and see what life is like in South Africa.

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 at her local Beavers group, at various projects including First Step Right.

In the run- up to her visit, she aims to raise £2,500! And she's already well on her way, having recently surpassed £1,000!! Wow! What an achievement, thank you Hana!

Hana recently kayaked over 21 miles, circum-navigating Lake Windemere. She will also be taking on the Winter Wolf Run.

We'll keep you updated along the way. You can find out more about Hana's fundraising, and show your support, by clicking here.

Did you miss it?

Did you miss it?

Did you receive your quarterly news email straight to your inbox on Friday? We certainly hope so!!

There was news from 1000 Hills, Ithembalihle, and Hillcrest AIDS Centre as well as updates from some of our fundraisers.

If you missed out however, don't do that again! You can sign up to our newsletter by clicking here. We send out quarterly updates on our projects and fundraising work, sharing with you our wonderful news from South Africa and elsewhere. We may occassionally also send other emails throughout the year, with regards to events and news we think you'd be really interested in (and when we're just so excited we don't want to wait for the next quarterly update to tell you the news!). You can unsubscribe at any time. We will not pass your contact details on to any other parties.

Click here to sign up now!

August 2017

Fancy a Challenge?

Fancy a Challenge?

There are loads of great, fun and challenging ways to raise money for charity these days.

Want to try something different whilst raising funds for your favourite cause? Why not take a look at our events page where you can find out more about Going Loopy or becoming a Wolf!

Click here to find out more.

Tragedy hits in Sierra Leone

Tragedy hits in Sierra Leone

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the recent mudslide in Sierra Leone. 499 people so far have lost their lives, with 600 still missing and more than 3,000 who have lost their homes. As Alan says: 'It is such a tragedy, especially after the ebola situation, and it seems so unfair that a country that has so little has to ensure so much.'

GAGA Trustee Alan supports 4 schools in the Freetown are of Sierra Leone. We are sad to have heard that 8 children attending these schools, lost their lives in the recent emergency. 6 of the children had attended the Liverpool School and 2 the Banbury International School. These children were visiting family in the area where the mudslide took place. When the schools return in September, there may be more sad news to share.

Our thoughts are with the families and schools of these 8 children.

Something to bring a smile to your face...

Something to bring a smile to your face...

Need something to make you smile? Take 5 minutes out today, to watch this wonderful video...

In June GAGA's Sarah was joined on a trip to South Africa by a  group of 6 students from the University of Leeds, as well as Laura who works at the University.

The students were able to visit the projects we support in South Africa, and got involved in a wide variety of tasks. They also had the chance to explore some of the wonderful Kwa Zulu Natal.

One of the students, Lizzie Heiser, put together this video showing the group's adventure, with Katie Allen, Katie Brown, Esther Koh, Tabitha Hawes, Mos and Laura Pearson.

This video is a student's perspective of the trip, and shows a snapshot of the happy memories they'll take away from their time in South Africa.

The students also did some fundraising prior to the trip and raised over £850 for GAGA UK in total.

Siyabonga!

Watch the video here.



Philani's Story - An Update

Philani's Story - An Update

Back in May we brought you Philani's Story from 1000 Hills Community Helpers.

Dawn, founder and Director at 1000 Hills shared a story of hope and success from this community care centre. It reminded up of just how important the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre is and we wanted to share it with you once again.

Back in April, Philani arrived at 1000 Hills. He was severely malnourished and under-weight. Philani had 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 him 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 was put in to Rosie's class, in the toddlers section at the school. Since he has been at the centre his health has improved drasticallys 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 your donations, this funding can continue.

1000 Hills recently shared an updated photo of Philani, shown below. This week, they say "he is doing so well and just loves his food. He came to the offie to see if Gogo Dawn has a sweetie for him. Look at that mischievous face!"

No. 9 School gets a lick of Paint

No. 9 School gets a lick of Paint

No. 9 School is a small pre-school with just over 65 children registered. They are based in the No. 9 community, in the valley close to First Step Right School.

GAGA UK have kept in contact with Promise, the school principal, over the years after much support from our donors. The school building was completed after funds were raised by George Mullan in Ireland, along with his friends, family and church. Since then we have kept a keen eye on their progress. The school now receive funding from the government's Department of Social Development.

The school however, was in need of a lick of paint both inside and out. GAGA Ambassadors Colin (and soon Karen) are out in South Africa with a team of wonderful volunteers who spent a couple of days improving the classrooms. They now look so much better and will provide a cleaner learning environment for the children at the school. What a great job!!

With huge thanks as always, to all of our donors and supporters. With special thanks to the Morrison Ambassador Team and to George and Barbara Mullan.

The outside of the school building prior to being painted: the paint was chipped and peeling away

Hard at work at No. 9

Ithembalihle thanks YOU

Ithembalihle thanks YOU

Our agreed transition period 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 in partnerhsip 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 that their dedication will take the project from strength to strength.

We'll be sure to follow their progress and keep you updated.

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, much has been achieved. A GAGA volunteer team helped to build a dormitory block. A pre-school building was also built and you have helped provide for the children living and being educated at the project.

It wouldn't have been possible without you.

You can read more about Ithembalihle here and find out about Spirit of Africa here.

You can also watch a special video here, made just for you, from Ithembalihle children thanking you for your support and commitment.