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 - May - 2016

Leicester Ladies Love Knitting (and GAGA too!)

Leicester Ladies Love Knitting (and GAGA too!)

We hope you've had a lovely bank holiday weekend!

It's always hard heading back to work after 3 days off; it was made easy in the GAGA office today by a wonderful visit from 2 Leicester ladies, Jenny and Inga. 

A few weeks ago Inga saw a display at Compton Verney, all about wool, knitting, yarn-bombing, Compton Verney and GAGA. They decided to get together some knitted items for us and with the help of Helen from Knit and Sew in Leicester, and their lovely customers, they brought us 3 bags full of blankets, hats and jerseys for those in need in South Africa. How wonderful! 

They are keen to be more involved with GAGA and it was great to share our work and stories with them, and tell them all about the great work being done at various projects.

A big thank you to all who contributed to this donation!

With the start of National Volunteer Week this week, it's wonderful to share news with you of this kind; of people volunteering their time, resources and expertise to help others. This week will see the start of our volunteer series 'Going GAGA', during which we will share with you stories from our volunteers showcasing the wonderful work they do, as well as why they support GAGA!

Alan, the Charitable Champion

Alan, the Charitable Champion

At the recent British Independent Retail Association (BIRA) Community Awards our Vice Chairman of Trustees, Alan Wolstencroft, was awarded a Highly Commended Certificate in the Charitable Champion Award for his outstanding work in Sierra Leone. Not only is Alan fully committed to this work, but is also the owner of Fashion Fabrics in Banbury. He was presented with a certificate, a bottle of champagne and a cheque for £500 towards his ongoing projects. 

Delegates were informed that during the past year, Alan had visited Sierra Leone to check on the development at 3 schools that he, with assistance from GAGA, supports and to launch a building project at a fourth school. 

Since last year's BIRA conference (when Alan won the Retailer of the Year Award), Alan had undertaken 21 speaking engagements raising £9,800 of a total of £24,500 he has raised during the year. Since his first involvement in Sierra Leone, 10 years ago, Alan has raised £156,150 for his school projects, taking his total raised for Sierra Leone and South African projects to £200,515.

Alan acknowledged the support that he receives from his family, his staff, customers and suppliers, BIRA members, Goodwill and Growth for Africa, Banbury Rotary Club, Westminster Group PLC, and dozens of organisations and hundreds of individuals.

Alan explained that every £ goes directly to the projects and that the money will help him to continue to 'make a real difference' in Sierra Leone.

In the last year Alan has supported 4 schools. At the Liverpool Islamic Community School he has helped to pay for the refurbishment of the original 4 classrooms, the installation of a hand pump and improvement to the water well, installed a rainwater harvesting system on one classroom block and built a retaining wall to protect the school buildings during the rainy season. At the Christian Hope School Alan has funded the total refurbishment of the junior school toilet block. At Calvary Primary School 5 classrooms have been refurbished, and second hand furniture provided. At the Good News Community School they had 2 new classrooms built, as well as a toilet block, to create the first phase of a new school. 



Why we do what we do

Why we do what we do

Every Friday, grades 4 and 5 at First Step Right School get together to play Monopoly. 
This helps them with a variety of skills, including maths, team work, co-operation and patience. This is just one fantastic example of the great work going on at First Step Right.

There are always amusing comments coming from the teachers and children at the school, but comments which show how bright the children are and how they are being given a fantastic opportunity for a really good quality education. (One child for example, said, after a lesson on healthy eating, 'if you eat too much, it will kilogram you!')

This week, Gael (the school's project manager, and Grade 4/5 teacher), reported that 'the children are growing up every day. The creche children become more and more self-sufficient. The children improve their English and it is a privilege to see our teaching improving their lives month after month.'

GAGA UK are the primary funders of the school, and we couldn't do it without your help. Thanks to all who have donated in the past to GAGA, or who continue to donate on a regular basis. You're the reason that 140 children are currently attending a great school in rural South Africa, and being given a wonderful start in life. 

GAGA Superstars

GAGA Superstars

Sylvia and Sandra have done it again!!

A big thank you to Sandra for organising to be at a car boot sale last weekend. She gathered items from her late parents house, and kindly decided to sell these in aid of GAGA UK. She was assisted by her cousin, and GAGA ambassador, Sylvia. 

The two of them together raised £100 in the day. Since Spring last year the two of them have raised almost £1000 by selling a variety of items at car boot sales - what fantastic news! A huge well done and thank you to these two wonderful ladies!

Wrap up warm...

Wrap up warm...

Thank you to Viv Morgan, who is the Chair of Trustees at Northleigh House School, who recently donated this wonderful crocheted blanket. 

GAGA Director Sarah, met Viv at a networking event recently and they got chatting. Viv mentioned she had a lovely blanket, and so of course we couldn't turn down the offer. Sarah will be heading back to South Africa shortly, and will be able to donate the blanket to some one very much in need. As it will be winter at the time, the blanket will be very warmly received (excuse the pun!)

Thank you Viv!

Thanks also to Freida Hogg, a friend of trustee Charlie's mum. Charlie's mum Helen, was chatting to Freida about GAGA UK and Freida took up the task of knitting hats! Last week we recieved 45 hats which again, will be so gratefully received.

Thank you Freida!



Why we do what we do

Why we do what we do

On Friday 1000 Hills Community Helpers helped a gogo (granny), who came to them for help. She was 73 years old but looking after her orphaned grandchildren of 4 and 7 years old, and one 8 month old. She visited the centre for help as she could only feed the baby with flour and water. This is a heartbreaking tale which unfortunately is not a rare occurence. We are very grateful that 1000 Hills Community Helpers were there to help this lady, otherwise she and her grandchildren would be in a much worse situation. This is why GAGA continue to fund this organisation, and are grateful to all our supporters and donors including our regular givers and business supporters. 
We can't stop supporting people, projects are organisations, like 1000 Hills, until we overcome the injustices of poverty that are seen on a daily basis. We can't stop and we won't stop. 

The Mid-Land Regulators Come to Town

The Mid-Land Regulators Come to Town

Join us on 16th July, at The Crawford Memorial Hall in Bidford on Avon, for a night of 'music from the badlands'. 

We will be hosting The Mid-Land Regulators, a Johnny Cash inspired tribute duo, with all proceeds coming to GAGA UK. 

We can't wait to see you there! Get in touch for tickets or more information: email (click here), or phone 01789 414 088. 

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming...

Well, in a few months. 

Yes, we know it feels like a long way off but here at GAGA we're getting ready early. We will soon be placing an order with the wonderful Woza Moya Shop at Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, for a few Christmassy things. 

Please let Sarah know if you would like to see the full catalogue and we can order a few items for you. Drop Sarah an email (click here) or call 01789 414088. 

Sarah will be visiting South Africa in June and hopes to bring a few things back with her (luggage dependent). 

The bead work is purchased from a great organisation, really helping a lot of people. 

Merry Christmas!

Thank you to Henry Normal

Thank you to Henry Normal

Thank you u to Henry Normal who recently donated 10 of his new poetry books to GAGA UK, raising £100 for our cause. 

Wonderful new volunteer Claire Whately, was at a reading at the Stratford Literary Festival when he offered 10 books to charity and Claire's hand quickly flew in to the air - the wonderful ambassador that she is, she snapped up the opportunity in a flash. 

Henry Normal will be launching his new book at the Birmingham Literature Festival on 7th October. 

Henry kindly shared one of his poems with us, which we think resonates with all of us, but particularly those supporting charities (because 'kindeness is bravery at it's brazen best'). Remember to always be kind. Read his poem here

School Expansion

School Expansion

We hope to soon expand First Step Right school by getting a new classroom block. We are currently fundraising to help the school. 

You can see some words from one child, and click here to see more of their work. They tell us why they love the school and hor a change can help improve the school. 

We'll keep you updated and will soon be sharing a video as well as links to our crowdfunding site to find out more and support this appeal. 

If you would like to help now, please click here and reference First Step Right. 

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