Each Friday Acuity staff attend the office “Dress Down” and pay £1 for the Privilege where the proceeds go to charity at the end of each quarter.
Numerous worthy causes have been helped and staff vie with each other for nominations as to what we should do with each quarter’s money. Whilst watching the TV one evening I saw the following advert for Lendwithcare.
As I live for at least 50% of my life in East Africa I have seen first-hand the grinding poverty that many of the local people suffer. It is a constant struggle to grow enough food to support families and precious little is left over to provide clothing, housing and schooling. There is NO safety net – the Government provides little to no support and corruption is so widespread that even things that people are entitled to have to be paid for or don’t happen. If crops fail people starve it’s as simple as that.
Even where the government provides schools these usually do not have books or any other equipment and children travel miles to try and learn so that they might have a chance of something better than their parents – for good or ill all schools require the wearing of a uniform and frequently children are forced to drop out because their parents simply cannot afford this or the books etc. they need.
As a relatively well off “Mzungu” we do what we can – providing employment for tradespeople when we need something done and making sure we reward anyone who helps us as generously as we can afford.
One of the ways in which people can escape this poverty trap is to start their own business – in most cases this is driven by the women – the men are often in full time – extremely poorly paid – work earning just about enough to pay the rent on a house that most of us would not keep a bicycle in and enough food to keep from starving. And those that aren’t working for someone else are in the fields (alongside the women) trying to grow enough to eat.
African ladies are amazingly well organised and like mothers everywhere will fight like lionesses to make sure their children are fed and given the best start in life possible. It is easy to criticise the birth rate but old traditions die hard and infant mortality is still a very real thing here. The key is education around that and as you can see from the above it isn’t always that easy.
With this in mind and knowing personally many friends and relatives of my wife who are doing their best to make a success of something small and entrepreneurial to get themselves out of the poverty trap but are frequently hampered by lack of capital to realise their plans I was struck by the simplicity of Lendwithcare as a method of breaking through this barrier. I was pleased to suggest this as something worth supporting with the Acuity Dress down money and even more pleased when the idea was accepted.
So far we have helped the following people in Rwanda and Malawi and with the fact that these are not donations but loans which get repaid we can continue to support more people as the money comes back – what’s not to like.
So thank you all the contributors at Acuity and I personally look forward to keeping all updated on what our money is doing.
Here are some pictures of those we are helping right now and links for more Info:
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