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 Archive - July - 2016

'Life and love go on, let the music play'

'Life and love go on, let the music play'

We had an incredibly successful fundraising evening on Saturday night, with huge thanks to the Mid-Land Regulators who performed a gig full of Johnny Cash inspired music. Over 90 people attended the Crawford Hall in Bidford to hear the duo, and had a wonderful evening filled with singing, a little dancing, eating and general merriness. In total after a few expenses, thanks to ticket sales, our bar and food and a raffle (with all prizes being generously donated), we raised just 8p short of £1,000. This money will be contributed to the schools supported by trustee Alan in Sierra Leone, and we are certain it will make a huge difference there. As you can see from previous news items, there is a lot going on! Thank you to everyone who joined us or supported the event in someway.
Why we do what we do (AIDS Conference)

Why we do what we do (AIDS Conference)

We continue to strive to share with you stories showing why we do what we do... It seems fitting that during the week of the AIDS Conference being held in South Africa, we share with you why we believe the fight against AIDS is still essential. Yesterday we shared Prince Harry's speech, showing that we cannot let our attention drift. The Conference has had many high-profile speakers. Charlize Theron spoke at the conference on Monday and we think she sums up many of the issues which create further problems in South Africa and beyond, and which shows the stigma still surrounding HIV: 'HIV isn't just transmitted by sex - it's transmitted by sexism, and by racism, poverty and homophobia. If we are going to end AIDS, we must cure the disease in our hearts and minds first.' What is GAGA doing to help those affected by HIV/AIDS? We have once again this year, provided funding to both Aids Centre - Hillcrest and 1000 Hills Community Helpers, which are projects working incredibly hard in the fight against AIDS and the stigma around it. Many of the other projects we support, are helping those in communities which have been devastated by the impact of HIV/AIDS, including FIRST STEP RIGHT and The White House. Throughout the year, thanks to your donations we are able to provide over £22,000 to 1000 Hills Community Helpers. We help fund the clinic which serves thousands of people, in the surrounding rural community. When GAGA Director Sarah, visited the clinic this June she got chatting to a lady at the HIV/AIDS support group the clinic holds each week, and she shared her story. Some time ago, the lady Sarah spoke with had broken her wrist. She then lost her job and went in to a spiral of depression; finding out she was HIV positive did not help this. She began going to the support group at the centre and realised that it's a fantastic way to get out some of her pressures and worries. She can talk with others, have a laugh with others. She spoke of how many people face stigma at home (some may be 'thrown out' for example, whilst others can stay with their families but may face being asked to use different plates and spoons for example), and how it was good to come somewhere where there was no judgement. As she was telling Sarah her story, she began to cry but said that this was fine; she is visiting the psychologist who keeps telling her that it's ok to cry as this helps her to get out her emotions, and worries. She also shared how she had run the Comrades Marathon (3 times!); she was an inspiring lady and all of us at GAGA are happy that she has somewhere to go where she can start to feel like her old self again.
Hillcrest AIDS Centre and the AIDS Conference 2016

Hillcrest AIDS Centre and the AIDS Conference 2016

We are always so impressed by the work completed at Hillcrest AIDS Centre. Pictured is Gogo Nombango (photography by African Eyes Photography); this photo is part of a series celebrating the wonderful grandmothers of South Africa and their strength and resilience. Nombango supports a family of nine, including 4 grandchildren, all on her pension and a small wage earned by her son who works on a farm nearby. Successive strokes a few years ago left her bedridden, unable to use her arms and with limited speech. A health-care worker from HACT encourgaed Nombango to join a Gogo support group, and to exercise regularly. She recently took part at the Gogolympics. Wonderful! There are many more beautiful stories and photographs being shown on HACT's website and facebook page. HACT are lucky to have a number of representatives at this year's AIDS Conference in Durban, including some grandma's who are putting Granny rights in the spotlight! We are delighted and proud to show our support of this fantastic organisation; through 2016, thanks to your donations, we have been able to sponsor a bed in their respite unit.
The latest from Alan's Block Appeal

The latest from Alan's Block Appeal

Alan has sent in some photographs of the progress at the Liverpool Community School he supports in Sierra Leone. 

They recently suffered from vandalism and so Alan is raising funds through his 'Buy a Block' appeal, to help ensure the safety and security at the school. He has raised over £1,800 in just over a week. 


The work has begun at the school as the first delivery of sand and cement has arrived and the builders have begun making blocks. The builders are all local guys and so it's great that they have the chance to do paid work. So far, they have produced over 1000 blocks!



Please click here if you would like to donate. 

The Garden Flourishes

The Garden Flourishes

First Step Right School have put together a wonderful video showcasing their Vegetable Garden. 

Please click HERE to watch this video. 

First Step Right has a link with Sedgeberrow Primary School here in the UK, and they share work, pictures and videos with each other, learning about different things happening in South Africa and the UK.

Thank you to all our donors who help ensure that these wonderful children (almost 150 of them!) are educated. GAGA UK are the main funders of this school, and therefore when you donate you can be sure that you are making a real difference to a child's life. Without you, they would be unable to access quality education. 

It's great to see the vegtable garden (built by Scottish volunteers and GAGA ambassadors Karen, Colin and Natialie last year) doing so well.

It's wonderful to give you more of a taste as to where your donations go, and why we do what we do!

Buy a Block!

Buy a Block!

GAGA Trustee Alan has begun a new fundraising campaign for the projects he supports, with the backing of GAGA UK, in Sierra Leone. 

Alan wishes to strengthen a retaining wall at the Liverpool Community School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. A retaining wall was built to prevent water egress from a nearby stream during the 'rains'. Recently however, the school was broken in to with furniture and stationery being stolen, and damage to the ceilings, veranda and classrooms being caused. Alan hopes to extend the retaining wall to form a security wall around the school. 

This is an unforseen but necessary measure. 

Can you buy a block and help secure this school?

Blocks are just £1 each and if you would like to participate you can sponsor any number you wish. 

Click here to donate (Please reference BLOCK when you donate, when you are asked to leave a message). 

Return from SA...

Return from SA...

Sarah has now returned from her recent GAGA trip to South Africa. 


She was joined by her grandma Doreen, as well as Laura Pearson from the University of Leeds School of Food Science and Nutrition and two students Laura Mason and Amber Clark. 


The trip has been wonderful. They visited a variety of projects supported by GAGA, including First Step Right and 1000 Hills Community Helpers. As a retired teacher, Doreen was a huge help at First Step Right school, spending 3 days giving a variety of tips and help to the teachers there (we hope she can join us again in the future!).The girls from the University of Leeds did some nutritional analysis, and also delivered healthy eating workshops to both adults and children. 

Words from volunteer Laura M showjust how worthwhile volunteer trips can be, and how important they are for individuals and for GAGA and the projects we support:

"I couldn't have asked for a better experience travelling in South Africa.... The variety of activities and opportunities we were provided with was perfect for me as I love meeting lots of new people and it was my aim to make the most of every second of the experience. I particularly enjoyed delivering nutritional workshops to the children both at First Step Right and LETCEE and this is now definitely something I could see myself doing in the future...

Along with all of the happy and jolly times, there were alsso some tougher and more upsetting times..."

To read more from Laura, and find out more about the trip (as well as see lots of photos), please visit our blog by clicking here

 

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