Bringing Sunshine to
Romania’s Deadly Winter
Temperatures have been falling to terrifying levels for several weeks in Romania this winter with deep snows cutting off towns and villages and people dying of cold. Our Partners moved their family into the one room in their house that could be kept warm more efficiently. At the same time they were making regular trips to the communities they serve and continuing to develop the important networks that will provide sustainable solutions for those communities in the future. The local church hall full of laughing, wriggly and intently absorbed children is testimony that this work has a unique purpose. While a new school has recently been built for these children of the gypsy community our Partners recognise that to overcome the barriers to education presented by culture, poverty, discrimination and low self-esteem everyone will need much more support outside of the school building.
It’s basic really, a child’s potential is developed within family and community and this is enhanced by academic learning. It must be a holistic approach—with the involvement of people who care. PovertySwap has those people who care. We were able to send £300 of your donations at Christmas for this work, with a further £200 in January.
In an attempt to make our part as PovertySwap partners most effective and sustainable in the longer term we are looking for 20 people who will donate just £10 each month, to be reviewed each year, so that we can establish a local, qualified and gifted Children’s Worker who will pioneer this transformational work. Can You Help Us? It really is that simple to change lives forever. Read more on the website or contact us and invest £10 a month into this most exciting opportunity to bring lasting change. Together we can make it happen!
Pick Up A Penny
Pick Up A Penny For PovertySwap!
Sure! We know! Money doesn’t grow on trees! But one of our friends and a regular donor to PovertySwap has discovered that it often ends up under trees, or on pavements, or on doorsteps, and a dozen other places underfoot! Since she picked up a penny one day that she found on the pavement, putting it away in a box to keep for the work of PovertySwap she has discovered there is an awful lot of loose change lying around on the ground. So every time she sees it she picks it up, collects it in a sheepy bank (Lake District version of the piggy bank!) and regularly passes it to us. Maybe you could try it too! Mind where you are walking though!
“Soup In The Stable”
A chance meeting while out shopping led to my house being crammed with neighbours enjoying a simple Soup and Bread lunch together, on the run up to Christmas. It was a great time to meet up, relax for an hour or so, chat and even introduce people to each other. It wasn’t a “fundraiser” as such but when we left an ’empty soup bowl’ at the door our generous friends and neighbours donated £121 for Famine Relief in East Africa. This we included in £900 of donations sent to our Partners in Ethiopia in December, for their work and famine relief! Life saving simple ideas are so much fun.
Forth Bridge Swaps
Treasure Hunting members of Logierait Grandtully and Strathtay Church of Scotland in Perthshire donated £80 to the work of PovertySwap from the £1 coins they had collected with an image of the Forth Rail Bridge on the reverse. A creative idea that provided life-saving support for communities in poverty.
“It’s Not Much….”
People who give to PovertySwap often say this to us but we recognize the power in every penny given. We, and our partners and the people of the communities they work together with are deeply touched by your love. Thank you to all of you. You really make PovertySwap happen.
Love Came Down At Christmas
Friends of PovertySwap donated an incredible £2000 in the run up to the Christmas period. This empowered our partners to carry out their dreams for some spectacular celebratory outreach opportunities and to provide practical care for some of the poorest children and families in the world.
From Albania: £500 was used to buy gifts and food for some of the 2000 children that were visited in schools, churches, villages and cities. Such gifts of compassion opened many doors in new areas and the dedication and kindness of our partners—one staying up all night to ready 350 parcels for a school delivery—powerfully touched many hearts. “Children were so happy, the joy was breathtaking!” our partners wrote!
From Romania: £300 at Christmas and £200 in January enabled our children’s worker to travel to the Gypsy community during Romania’s icy winter, bringing love, hope, friendship, kindness and practical care. Pictures of more than 100 eager children crowded into the church building is testimony of the trust this close knit community is putting in our partners. These donations also opened a way for government agencies and industrial partners to enter dialogue with our partners too so that together we can all work towards a common goal of giving these most underprivileged children equal opportunities of education, social care and a future hope.
From Ethiopia: They celebrate a lot at Christmas in Ethiopia and since November we have been able to send almost £1800 to our partners for their work amongst the unemployed and destitute, abandoned mums with HIV and their babies, volunteer training, famine relief and rural community outreach.
Smiles at the Tax Office
Tax offices were never popular! We are registered with HMRC as a charity for tax purposes and so if you are a UK Tax payer we can claim 25% on top of any donation you make to PovertySwap, through Gift Aid. This enables us to send 25% more directly to our Partners for their valuable work, from the tax you have already paid! Money given to PovertySwap is generally by private donation and people are often very generous out of the little that they have. This makes the fact that we were recently able to claim more than £1300 from the tax office totally amazing. Thank you to all who have already submitted Gift Aid declarations and we are happy to send them or Standing Order Mandates, for regular giving, to anyone who requests them.
A regular donation is a very powerful tool for sustainable change amongst the world’s poorest people. Thank You.
Purposeful Steps of Compassion in India
Rae Manger was with the first group to go on a team trip to India from St Andrew’s Church, Bo’ness, Scotland in 2007. They visited many projects and churches amongst which was Sangita Charitable Trust. Sangita provides a home for children in India who have been orphaned and abandoned, as well as support and food for 250 widows who are left without status or support when husbands die.
On her first visit Rae was very moved by the work of the orphanage and told us “ At that time 80 children were living in a 3 roomed house. When the children first arrive at the Sangita home their health is very poor. They are malnourished, underweight, have no education and have been treated badly. It takes about 3 months for the child to become healthy again. It is the vision of the couple who run the home, close relatives of members of St Andrew’s Church, to love and care for each child, to provide them with regular nutritious meals and provide each one with an education. They have also been successful in raising funds to build a new home.”
Rae and friend Jackie Bundy are passionate about Sangita’s children and are planning to use holiday time from their busy jobs for a return trip there this summer—Rae’s seventh and Jackie’s third. Rae continues “Although the children have gone through much more than any of us will go through in their lives they still continue to smile and they are very happy. We have been back every year to visit and we fundraise to help with the costs for the building, the widow’s food provisions, the children's’ education and for the children’s general care. Each person who has stayed at the home has been touched by the work that is done to provide and care for the children and for the love that is shown to the widows. It is a very special place. We continue to go back because God has put these children and the widows in our hearts. Small amounts make a big difference. Giving a child or a widow a hug makes a huge difference for people who are forgotten and outcast in society, knowing that people love and care for them even though they have nothing.
There is a verse that Sangita Charitable Trust use “I complained to God that I do not have good shoes... until I came across people who do not even have legs”. We have so much and we don’t even realise it. We need to be less selfish and more selfless, doing something, anything, can make a difference in someone’s life. We are helping to make a difference and we are able to see that each time we visit.”
A fund has been set up for this work and money will be hand delivered in the summer. We shall be happy to pass on your donation, do please specify it is for Sangita or India.
Why I Believe In Team Trips
By Helen Faulds, PovertySwap Founder
A scene from the new film “The Best Marigold Hotel” with the apprehensive travelers boarding their plane for India in a UK airport, reminded me of what it is like when an ordinary group of people take steps together and set out on a highway that, when embraced, will challenge them, chart new paths for their lives and change their outlook forever. The film unfolded as the actors found purpose, relationship, joy, learned new skills and were able to use their many gifts and life experience to be part of creating a sustainable change in the world where they lived. They shared a little of their lifetime with people who were so different and yet so much the same as themselves! It was a thought provoking, sometimes amusing story and so it is for those who take the opportunity to join a short-term Team Trip. Every individual has an important part to play in the lives of the other individuals they meet along the way. It can be life-saving. I will never forget the tiny dying baby placed into my arms by his brother during school sports day in the jungle in India. It was such a simple thing to save his life. Medical equipment and care were available. My presence gave the child enough courage to get help and when we left India some months later he was strong and healthy and growing fast. It was one of many occasions, especially in rural and neglected communities that I wondered what would have happened if we had NOT come! Such an investment of time, money and life is immeasurable and intensely valuable. One meeting, one conversation, even in the absence of a common language, can change the course of lives forever.
We are planning to organize Team Trips from Autumn 2012 and beyond. These will give opportunities to share a little of our lifetime with people in Romania, India, Ethiopia, Nepal or Albania. We will keep the costs low and the value high. We provide the opportunity, training, administration and more than 20 years of experience in leading teams. Take A Step With Us. To Find Out More check the Website or Contact Us about Team Trips
Turning Tears To Smiles: The PovertySwap Story