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


October 2017

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.


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.

July 2017

You are helping thousands access medical care...

You are helping thousands access medical care...

You are helping us to provide annual funding towards 1000 Hills Community Helpers clinic, which helps hundreds of people in rural communities access health care and treatment. 1000 Hills is based in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa and provides free health care to those who need it most, to those affected by poverty, disease and unemployment.

It's through your donations that we can help to cover between 30 and 40% of the costs needed to keep this clinic running - for salaries, medication and resources, training and more.

Throughout April, May and June, hundreds of people were assisted. The clinic carried out almost 350 HIV tests (along with counselling), as well as over 1,500 CD4 counts (your CD4 levels decline when you are HIV positive; levels decide courses of treatment). 1000 Hills Community Helpers also have 32 caregivers who go out in to the communities to visit patients in their homes, who are perhaps too ill to get to the clinic. They have visited over 2000 people in the past 3 months alone.

1000 Hills Community Helpers is a community care centre with a clinic, pre-school and feeding programme (and much more). The centre really is a lifeline for the community. Here at GAGA, we are so proud of the impact we’re able to have there. Whilst visiting South Africa recently, Sarah was at 1000 Hills...

'I turned around a corner and there was this beautiful baby giggling and smiling right at me. I got talking to the mother who said that Sister Faith (who works part-time in the clinic), had really helped her through a difficult time. She had helped the mother by providing formula and education on how to care for her baby; as she is still at school she needed to mix-feed the baby. She was incredibly grateful for the support 1000 Hills had given her.'

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!