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A HELPING HAND HATW is looking for motivated, enthusiastic people willing to give a hand at some of our partner centres this year. We hope to send volunteers in a rolling programme to the Misthy Cee Development Centre in Ghana – some to get involved with the construction of a dining hall and kitchen and others in the school and with the children who live at the centre. We are also looking for physiotherapists and occupational therapists to help with the setting up of a community therapy centre in Sarberia, West Bengal. Athi School in Kenya would welcome people with experience of working with children with disabilities,

and we plan to get a group together in Jersey, to help with classroom building at Auka School in Zambia. If you would like to volunteer (don’t worry if you haven’t got the particular skills listed – we are open to suggestions!), please read the ‘Volunteer’ pages on our website ( for more information, and send us a completed application form. Volunteers can go out for between 3 weeks and 6 months, ideally with at least one other person, and will need to pay/raise £2000, which includes the cost of flights, visa and travel insurance. Support is available with fundraising, as well as general preparations for the project.


INDIA SARBERIA Early in 2010, Lyn Helyer went to The New Life Centre in Sarberia, West Bengal, as part of a HATW team. In November, she returned, accompanied by past volunteer Caro Gadsby (Zambia 2008), and took a starring role in the

inauguration ceremony for the new toilet block. They also got to see the progress that had been made on the Vocational Training Centre Lyn and 7 others had helped to build over two group projects. Don’t they look splendid? And the buildings look lovely too...!

An afternoon and evening at 17th century mansion 'Treowen', near Monmouth. Cream teas, tours and children's activities in the afternoon. Ceilidh and meal in the evening. More details to follow. Please take a look at

HANDS ON THEATRE’S YULETIDE FROLIC Lyn and Caro celebrate the inauguration of the toilet block

The Vocational Training Centre

Grateful thanks to the Trustees of The NST Development Trust, who have donated £500 to support our partners running a carpentry and tailoring training centre at Siriba in Uganda. (Many of our volunteers' travel arrangements are organised by North South Travel whose profits go into NST Development Trust. See

If the snow kept you away from this, you missed a real treat - an afternoon of festive fare, crafts and music that really got us into the Christmas spirit. Thank you very much to everyone who was involved in making crafts, singing and/or helping on the day. We really appreciate your efforts. And a big thank you to hands on theatre for having the idea and pulling it all together. We’re delighted to say that the event raised a profit of £521!

RWANDA MUKO It was something of a surprise to receive a set of photos from the headteacher of Muko School a fortnight before we were due to leave for our project in Rwanda and to realise how far the building work had progressed. It was already above window height and we wondered quite how our team of six volunteers would fit in with the local builders who didn’t seem to need our help at all! We were due to assist with the construction of four classrooms for St Paul’s Primary School which had been designated for expansion as the Secondary School for the town of Bugarama. The school, which was bursting at the seams, had opened in 1998 with 200 pupils in two classrooms and now took in 1600+ students in half-day shifts. As we approached the building site, Dennis wondered aloud how we were going to get along with the language barrier and what kind of contribution we were going to be able to make. Within fifteen minutes, however, the ice was broken and we all quickly found ways of helping with the work whether it was What can I say about the people and the country of Rwanda? It was such a great few weeks that it is difficult to highlight just one person or event, but I'll do my best. At the end of our stay in Bugarama we were invited to Muko School for a 'farewell' with children, teachers and parents. As well as the singing, dancing and speeches there was one thing that really touched me - a short sketch performed by some of the students. After a brief background scene I quickly realised that I was watching a re-run of our time in Bugarama, with students taking the parts of each of the team, firstly discussing the situation of education in Rwanda, next finding a team of volunteers and raising funds and then showing our long journey from Jersey. I laughed when I saw and heard the scene of the building site - us trying to learn a few words of the local language ... ‘amatafari’ (bricks), ‘amazi’ (water) etc. and other communication with our local colleagues on the site. There was even a prop - a

bricklaying, carrying bricks, mortar or water for the builders or painting window and door frames. The building team of 24 Rwandans seemed genuinely pleased to have us with them on site. There was plenty of laughter and joking, sometimes at our attempts at Kinyarwanda or at my attempts at plastering (which involves flicking a trowel of cement on to the wall and hoping that some of it sticks). They were endlessly encouraging and after some days I had even picked up enough skill to try backhand flicks. There was always an audience as the local townspeople stopped to watch mzungus (white people) getting their hands dirty at work. By the time we left at the end of our four weeks we proudly surveyed the classrooms which by now had their roofing on and doors and windows installed. We have since received photos of the finished classrooms brightly painted and ready for the new term at the beginning of January. We know that our team of six volunteers played just a small part in this project which was very largely the work of our Rwandans friends. Nevertheless, we felt that our time in

cardboard camera! Over the weeks we had taken SO MANY photos. I was really touched that Wellars, one of the teachers, had taken the time to put the sketch together and that the students understood the work of HATW, whilst the fun aspect of the performance also reminded me of the laughs I had enjoyed on the building site. This sketch, apart from being

Rwanda had been well spent and our months of fundraising and preparations had been very worthwhile. We are very grateful to our hosts, particularly Immaculée the headteacher and Simon, a locally born doctor, who looked after us extremely well and helped us to get to know and understand the people in Bugarama. Mike Haden

The finished classrooms

very amusing, really highlighted to me the fact that our presence at Muko had not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. It was the best 'Thank You' anyone could have given me. Sonia Palmer

Pupils from Muko School

Cameron shows off his new outfit!

The welcome we received from Immaculée, the headmistress, and the children was meant for royalty, but we soon learnt that this was normal for the Rwandans, who gave us the same warm welcome wherever we went. Building work on the school was always hot and often hard, but the local workers always had a smile and a handshake. How they built a school with two wheelbarrows, three shovels and a hammer - oh, and something they called a welder - is truly amazing to me. (Not even a cement mixer!) Breaks in the building work were sometimes taken up with the joy of entertaining the large and constant entourage of children, especially Sonia teaching them to play ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’, with Fran, like a child magnet with her magical smile. We did our own cooking most of the time on one very small

electric ring, which was fun to say the least, unless we had a power cut and then it was down to the charcoal burner outside. Surprisingly, we did manage to turn out some quite good meals.

er The homemade transform ) ks! wor (it der wel the for

We didn't have a lot of spare time, but when we did, it was taken up by a visit maybe to Kamembe or to the local tea or cement factory, followed by a restful time at the hot springs, or a day by the side of Lake Kivu...

The most touching part of our trip was being able to make friends with teenagers and young people of a similar age to myself, and truly see that many of the questions and dilemmas that affect young people in the UK (including myself!) are exactly the same as the issues many young people face not only in Rwanda but all over the world. Apart from the clear issues relating to poverty that affected the lives of so many that we met, young people face universal issues such as ‘What shall I study?’, ‘What shall I become?’ ‘Whom shall I marry?’ and ‘What is my purpose in this world?’ Unfortunately, unlike us in the UK, for many children in Rwanda these questions are accompanied by ‘What can I afford to study?’ and ‘Realistically, what can I expect to become given my circumstances?’ The moment when this really hit home for me was when we decided as a team we would like to support one of the students we had also been working with. His dream was to become an Engineer. One day, however, he mentioned that he would be unable to return to school to continue his studies because there was no money to pay his school fees. Realistically, all he could do now was manual labour or working the fields, neither of which were particularly reliable sources of income due to a high demand for little work. He did not ask for anything from us, but was simply resigned to the fact that his dream would

As building work on the school started to come to an end, the team became teachers, helping the local teachers to read and pronounce English, as this became the official language in 2009. Sundays were special days where we were invited to join the locals in their church service. They are very religious and not afraid to show it. These are lasting memories in themselves. There were a thousand memorable moments during our stay; it's impossible to pick out just one, but put them all together and, along with a new addition to our family, it has all made a fantastic 2010 for me. We went to help build a school. I sincerely hope we have achieved a little more. There was joy, sadness, and tears (certainly from me) at times, but also a sense of achievement. They may not have much money, clothes or tools, but in

never be achieved. When we told him that we would like to help him achieve his goal by paying the fees he needed, it was like that sad acceptance visibly drained from his face and in his eyes you could physically see that dream coming back to life. We so often forget how easy it is for many of us in the UK to achieve our goals,

Dennis with local builders Bugarama they have love, hope and a willingness to learn. I for one would love to go back and carry on with this relationship we have started and not let it die. All this would not have been possible without H.A.T.W. and the team here from Jersey. I thank you all.

that stop us are simply ourselves and not our circumstances; our circumstances allow us to be and give so much more than we think we can, and even a small act can have a huge effect. Frances Bois

The team with school pupils

regardless of age, when so often the things

Dennis Spencer


TEA FOR TWO JUNE 2011 Give a Hand 2010 was a great success, raising over £5,000 of extra funds for Hands Around The World. We listened to your feedback, and this year we’re keeping it simple and hoping to raise even more money to support the work of HATW. So... throughout June 2011 we want you to put the kettle on and make tea! Cups of tea, mugs of tea, cream teas, strawberry teas, afternoon tea - whatever takes your fancy. There is, of course, a bit of a twist! If some of the children we’re seeking to help turned up at your tea party without any cash, we know you’d give them a hand. Along with charging a reasonable price for your wares, we’d like you to ask people to buy a second ‘virtual’ tea for an absent child. This will double the money we raise and help even more children. To reach our 2011 target of £8,000 we need lots of you to take part. We also need you to encourage new people to be part of this, so in addition to organising special teatime events yourself, please encourage your friends and family at churches, in workplaces and in clubs and societies to think of absent children when they buy drinks and snacks by paying for two. You

might also be able to persuade local cafés and restaurants to take part. Please encourage us by letting us know of your plans; we will give all the help we can. We know that there are many demands on your time and purse, but we are asking because we know that you care about the children that HATW wants to support. If you don’t do this then who will? Lynda PS – please contact Joanna (01600 740317) to get your Tea for Two posters.

Tea-tasting at Athi tea factory, Kenya

When people retire, and income reduces, it is often harder to make regular donations to charity. It is, however, possible to help the work of HATW to continue by remembering us in your will. Please contact us for more information about leaving a legacy.

We are in the early stages of setting up this scheme which we hope, with your help, will bring education, joy and a better chance of economic well-being to a good number of youngsters and their families in Africa and India. 22 youngsters in Zambia, Benin, Uganda and India are currently benefitting. After HATW teams have been able to lend a hand in building schools or training centres, the next step is to try to enable these schools or training centres to continue their good work. Past volunteers, their family and friends, and even a few wonderful enthusiasts who have only seen what HATW does through the website have been prepared to contribute £10 a month towards the cost of keeping a youngster at school. The reality of course is that once perhaps 8 youngsters in a class have been sponsored the money provided allows a few others to piggy-back and take advantage of the education provided too. We offer sponsors a choice of school aged children or young trainees in either Africa or India. In return for the sponsorship we provide an annual update of what is going on at the school or training centre, and two progress reports on the attendance and attainment of the sponsored youngster. If you can help or would like more information, please contact HATW. Nigel Sampson

GHANA MISTHY CEE I have recently returned from a 3-month placement at the Misthy Cee project in Ghana, where I was acting as a volunteer teacher at the attached primary school.

ed the children Paul and Papa help to plant crops The children at both the orphanage and school were a delight. Especially at the orphanage, the children get on remarkably well together – far better than children would back home! – and are always in a good mood, even given very difficult circumstances. While they lack many things, they have the practical skills and initiative to make toys themselves from what they find, and are able to play happily with each other. The children also possess a remarkable natural rhythm, and greatly enjoy dancing to music and watching TV and DVDs, and many a night was spent doing just that.

The solar panels are functioning well to provide the children with a regular supply of electricity for the evenings, so they are not left in darkness, and while the water supply is still very erratic, the children are able to access clean water. During my stay I was involved mainly with the running of the school. With the support and hard work of the staff, numerous changes have been made that vastly improve the running and administration of the school as well as the learning that takes place within the classrooms. I oversaw the completion of the school toilet blocks, while a new accounting system is in place and a regular timetable has been devised and enforced. I was also able to paint and decorate four of the classrooms during my placement, and

The children get creative'

The newly painted P2 classroom this has made a huge difference to the learning environment, especially for the young children. Other projects are still ongoing – the school is looking at creating an outdoor cooking area, and an enclosed outdoor play area for Nursery and Kindergarten, which will continue to enhance the school. I believe that I have been extremely privileged to take part in such a project, and to have been so warmly welcomed during my stay. I have met some remarkable people and children, and have seen the change that is possible. While I hope that my stay was beneficial to the project, I also personally benefited hugely from my time in Ghana. I have learnt of a fascinating culture with a rich heritage, and have gained a deeper appreciation of the situation developing countries face. I have also been inspired by the determination and positivity of the people I have met, and how they have inspired and motivated me to do more with my own life. Paul Shewell

Issue 53  

A Hands Around The World Newsletter

Issue 53  

A Hands Around The World Newsletter