Left: Cecily's Fund co-founder Basil presents Colin Baty, headteacher of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst with a certificate marking the £476 raised by the "Dunhurst Dash". Right: Basil presents a certificate marking the £3,970 raised by over 40 Bedales School participants in the Great South Run.
Three recent events involving Bedales Schools have raised fantastic totals for Cecily's Fund.
In October, over 40 runners associated with Bedales School took part in the Great South Run. Their efforts raised a fantastic £3,970 for Cecily's Fund. At the annual St. Cecilia's Day concert at the school, our co-founder Basil presented three of the youngest runners with a special certificate marking their efforts. The concert itself raised £806, another brilliant sum. In total, Bedales School's fundraising efforts have made £4,776 for Cecily's Fund in October and November.
While Basil was at the Cecilia concert, he was also able to present a certificate to Colin Baty, the headteacher of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst. Through their "Dunhurst Dash" event, the pupils of Dunhurst raised £476 for Cecily's Fund.
Cecily attended Bedales School before she went to Zambia on her gap year in 1997. Cecily's Fund is hugely grateful to all the fundraising done by all of the Bedales Schools in 2017, and across our 20-year history.
The Cecily's Fund Christmas Challenge 2017, with a theme of "Life After School", runs from December 1st to 14th. With your help we can raise £20,000 and continue to help young Zambians build better futures for themselves in 2018.
In our 20-year history and with your support, Cecily's Fund has helped over 20,000 children in Zambia access the education they deserve.
We believe that education is the surest way to break the cycle of poverty: but we also know that life is challenging in Zambia even for those young people who have completed school.
This year we are aiming to raise £20,000 to continue our work in 2018 and beyond. During the campaign, we'll highlight what we're doing to help prpeare Zambia's orphaned and vulnerable children for the challenges they'll face after they have left school.
Between December 1 and 14, please support our Challenge and help us continue to make a difference in Zambia: giving children bright futures within and after school.
How We're Giving Children a Brighter #LifeAfterSchool
Each year, Cecily's Fund trains older orphans to become Peer Educators. They give sessions on vital health information to their younger peers in schools, and act as crucial positive role models in a society where the majority of citizens are young.
Jobs are scarce in Zambia and entrepreneurship is often the best way for school eavers to secure a stable income and pursue their goals. That's why we provide business skills and grants. In this way, we help young people learn how to manage finances and create a wide range of income-generating activities that enable them to become self-sufficient and support themselves and their families.
BISO community school gives life skills training to children who are both in and outside education. These sessions help to prepare children for life after school by giving them skills in decision-making, problem solving, critical thinking, assertiveness, and leadership.
Sunshins Clubs offer a wide variety of activities which help orphaned and vulnerable children ready themselves for life after school. There are music, sport and drama sessions as well as help with homework and exam preparation. In 2016, over 350 orphans attended and benefited from Sunshine Clubs.
Our Christmas newsletter is now available to download! Our final issue of the year features the launch of our Christmas Challenge, a recap of this year's Cecily's Day, and much more.
Featuring a brand-new layout, our final newsletter of 2017 summarises what has been another busy year for Cecily's Fund. The key story is the upcoming launch of this year's Christmas Challenge: between December 1st and 14th, we're aiming to once again raise £20,000 to support our work into 2018 and beyond. The theme is "Life After School", and we will be sharing just some of the ways that our work is helping to prepare children in Zambia to live healthy, self-sufficient lives after they've completed their education. Look out for lots more news on the Challenge in coming weeks.
Also in the newsletter:
- A concise recap of Cecily's Day 2017, at which we celebrated our 20th anniversary
- A tribute to our 2017 fundraisers, including those who took part in Swim Serpentine, the London 10K, and the Zam Challenge
- An interview with young "star baker" Lucy Chambers, whose bake sales raised hundreds for Cecily's Fund
- All the details of the great products available in our online shop this Christmas
This Sunday, October 22, over 40 runners with connections to Bedales School in Hampshire will take part in the 2017 Great South Run - raising money for Cecily's Fund and the John Badley Foundation.
Because Cecily attended Bedales, we have had a long association with the school. As our founders Alison and Basil Eastwood have said:
"Cecily loved her time at Bedales (1991-96) - and Bedales loved her. We are delighted that a team from Bedales is doing the Great South Run for Cecily’s Fund."
This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of Cecily's Fund we have been chosen as one of two charities to receive funds from Bedales' participation in the Great South Run. Taking place in Portsmouth, the Great South Run is one of the biggest mass-participation running events in the UK and has a route length of ten miles.
So far a fantastic total of over £4,100 has been raised via Pledgit. Of this sum, half will go to Cecily's Fund and half will go to the John Badley Foundation. To add your own donation, visit Pledgit today. Cecily's Fund thanks all the many runners taking part and hopes they have a fantastic day!
On September 2, 2017 over 100 of our supporters gathered at St. Mary's Church in Witney for Cecily's Day. With special guests in attendance, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Cecily's Fund and the huge impact we've made together in Zambia since 1997.
Cecily's Day 2017 was special for a number of reasons. For the first time the event took place in Witney, where our office is located. The beautiful St. Mary's Church is just a few minutes' walk from the office and a superb venue. We had the company of guests from around the world, many with a deep connection to the Eastwood family. In addition to our usual roster of speakers, we had a moving communion service, a fantastic choir singing Zambian songs, and the launch of the first-ever Cecily's Fund Supporters' Cookbook.
Communion Service of Thanksgiving
The first part of Cecily's Day was a special communion service of thanksgiving, for which the celebrant was Rob Eastwood Dewing and the server was Charlotte Oakeshott. Readings were given by former Chair William Powlett Smith and former trustee John Fox, while prayers of intercession were led by Cecily's sister Verity.
We were honoured to be joined at Cecily's Day by a number of notable guests:
- Sister Theresa Stapleton joined us from Ireland and spoke about the founding of Children in Distress (CINDI), the organisation with which Cecily volunteered while in Zambia and which the Fund began by supporting. [Read Sister Theresa's speech]
- Patron Sixtus Mulenga and his wife Rebecca visited from Zambia. Sixtus spoke about some young people supported by Cecily's Fund who have become successful, and the need to create more jobs for school leavers.
- Our co-founder Basil Eastwood provided a short history of Cecily's Fund, with some fascinating insights on our transformation from a "kitchen table" concern to a thriving medium-sized charity. [Read Basil's speech]
Special Guests from Zambia
In addition to Sixtus and Rebecca Mulenga, we were joined by two other special guests from Zambia. Beatrice Chola and Patricia Besa joined us from Bwafwano Integrated Services Organisation (BISO), who have been partners of ours since 2003. They kindly answered questions about BISO community school, and explained how Cecily's Fund has really made a difference in the Chazanga area of Lusaka.
Cookbook and Christmas Cards Launch
An extra highlight of Cecily's Day 2017 was the launch of our brand-new Christmas cards and our first ever Supporters' Cookbook. Featuring over 90 recipes submitted by our supporters, the Cookbook breaks new ground for Cecily's Fund and is great value at just £10. Guests at Cecily's Day were the first to be able to buy both of these products, but they are now available to all via our online shop.
Cecily's Day was made possible in part by the tremendous effort of our volunteers, speakers, officials and guests to whom we express our sincere thanks. We also thank all the supporters who attended the event, made donations, bought merchandise, and learned more about our work. Your support not only made Cecily's Day a success, but has also made our work possible since 1997. We hope you will continue to support us for years to come, as we continue our work to help build a more prosperous Zambia where education is available to all.
On Saturday September 16th, Cecily's Fund Trustee and Treasurer Andy Tacon competed the one-mile event at Swim Serpentine. By taking on the cold waters of the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, Andy has raised over £1,100!
The water temperature was just 15 degrees celsius on the day, making this difficult event more challenging still:
Managed to complete the full mile but have to say it was the most physically demanding thing I've done for a while. The last couple of hundred metres seemed to go on forever as fatigue and the chilly waters started to take their toll. Very pleased to have made it!
Andy has become the third person to complete the swim for Cecily's Fund, after Cecily's sister Verity and Tim Cooke-Hurle took part in the very first event in 2016. In total, well over £3,000 has been raised for our work in Zambia thanks to the efforts of the swimmers and the generous sponsorship from our supporters - for which we are most grateful.
Andy's JustGiving page is still open to donations. The sum he has already raised in sponsorship is enough to help Cecily's Fund keep over 20 children in school for a year: donate today, and Andy's impact can be greater still.
The first-ever Cecily's Fund cookbook is here! We're ready to take your order through our online shop, where our brand-new 2017 Christmas cards are also available.
Those supporters who attended Cecily's Day on September 2 had the first chance to buy the new cookbook and cards, but these new products are now available to all. The Supporters' Cookbook is a beautifully-printed labour of love which features over 90 delicious recipes submitted by our supporters.
Divided into seven sections including starters, mains, desserts, and salads the book features recipes for every taste - from old family favourites to exotic dishes from around the world. There is even a recipe which helped win an episode of Come Dine With Me!
Early buyers of the cookbook are delighted with it. Yvonne, the co-ordinator of Swiss Friends of Cecily's Fund, calls it "well-organised, easy to read, practical and humorous" while supporter Martin Gregory is "very impressed with the number and quality of the recipes."
At just £10 the cookbook is great value and makes a perfect Christmas gift - perhaps complemented with one of our six different Gifts of Hope, also available from our shop!
For more information (or to order more than one copy of the cookbook) please contact Georgina via our contact page or by calling us on 01993 358089.
Beginning on September 30th, a two-week exhibition of original photography at The Yarrow Gallery at Oundle School in Northamptonshire will raise money for Cecily's Fund.
Photographer Mike Morrison is a former drama teacher at Bedales School, which Cecily attended. He will be exhibiting his original photography at The Yarrow Gallery at Oundle School until October 14th.
Mr. Morrison has generously decided to support Cecily's Fund at the event: he will be running a silent auction for a beautiful professionally printed and framed photograph of the gondolas at St. Mark's Square in Venice (pictured). The work is 76 x 54cm in size and part of a limited set of just 25 prints: the starting bid is £175 and all proceeds will be donated to Cecily's Fund.
Bids in sealed envelopes will be accepted in person at the exhibition: alternatively, bids by email can be made via our Supporter Relations Officer Georgina Winks from September 30th. Simply visit our contact page and email Georgina with your bid to take part. Bids before September 30th will not be accepted.
Finally, Mr. Morrison will also be running pop-up portrait sessions on the first and last Saturdays of the exhibition. Again, all proceeds from these sessions will benefit Cecily's Fund.
We wish Mr. Morrison all the best for his exciting exhibition, thank him for his kind support, and hope that some Cecily's Fund supporters will be able to visit!
New York, September 2nd 2017
Many congratulations on the 20th Anniversary of Cecily’s Fund! All of us at American Friends of Cecily’s Fund have felt privileged to be a part of this amazing “family” for the past 10 or more years, and look forward to many more years of supporting our wonderful “Cecily’s Fund children” at school in Zambia.
We are extremely proud to be part of an organization which was one of the pioneers in our field: raising awareness for the plight of orphans and vulnerable children left destitute by the blight of HIV/AIDS and to have contributed to giving thousands of children a brighter future through education.
My own connection with Cecily’s Fund is unique. After graduating from college in 1980, I spent 6 months as Au Pair to the Eastwood family while Basil was at the UK embassy in Bonn. At that time, Cecily was just 2 years old and – oh boy! - quite a handful! Many years later – in 2005 – after I had moved to NY, married and had my own children, I punched Basil’s name into Google, in an endeavour to get back in touch. What should pop up but “Cecily’s Fund”. Imagine my shock and sadness to learn of Cecily’s death, having remembered Cecily – as well as her three sisters and her parents - so fondly, for so many years. However, sadness soon turned into happy and productive busy-ness, as I met Basil again in NY and help launch American Friends of Cecily’s Fund. Not only did I finally find a children’s charity I felt deeply inspired to volunteer for, but I also rekindled a loving friendship with the Eastwood family, which my own family is now a part of.
I would have loved to be present at this special 20th Anniversary celebration, but our American Friends’ President Mahadev Raman, and all of my fellow Directors on the Board, join me in sending love and congratulations on this special day.
American Friends of Cecily’s Fund
At the 2017 London 10K Run organised by Virgin Sport, Cecily's Fund supporters once again hit the road to raise money for our life-changing work in Zambia.
This year, there were 12 runners in our team - many of them drawn from Southborough High School who have been fantastic supporters of Cecily's Fund in recent years. “Running the London 10k for Cecily’s Fund was amazing from start to finish", says headteacher Niall Smith. "Thoroughly recommended!"
Our other runners included veteran of the 2012 event Henrietta Hill, Ellie Rogers (whose mum is our Chair Steph Harland), and Cecily's cousin Harriette Peel who shared her thoughts on the day:
"The British 10K was a great experience and one that I'm very proud to have completed on behalf of Cecily's Fund. I did it in 56m 22s, which for a first attempt and in pretty high temperatures I'm very proud of! But more than anything, I was struck very strongly by what a privilege it felt to be physically capable of running a race like this at all.
Consequently, the opportunity to use my own health and physical fitness to raise money for those who aren't as fortunate was one that I am very grateful to Cecily's Fund for. Thanks to all the team for their support, and I very much hope that my small contribution will be of use to this fantastic charity."
In total, our wonderful runners have raised almost £2,500 for Cecily's Fund this year - enough to help keep 50 children in school for a year, or to train over 30 Peer Educators. To all those who took part in the 10K or donated to our runners' JustGiving pages - we can't thank you enough!
If you've been inspired by what our runners have achieved and if you feel at home in the water, we have the perfect fundraising opportunity coming up in September! The Swim Serpentine is its organised by the makers of the London Marathon and 2017 is the second year for this fresh new event. To register your interest, fill in our form today - it only takes a minute, and taking part could provide children in Zambia with years' worth of education.
Forthcoming AFCF Events
Recent AFCF Events
Presentation at St. John's University, New York (April 6th 2017)
On April 6th, our Development Officer Sue Skaf gave a presentation about Cecily's Fund to a freshman class at St.John's University in New York, upon the invitation of AFCF's new Board member Professor William Reisel. Professor Reisel encourages all of his students to work and fundraise for the community, particularly for disadvantaged children. The class presented Sue with $485.00 which they raised at a recent bake sale to benefit our students in Zambia!
AFCF Directors' Workshop, New York City (March 14th 2017)
AFCF Board Meeting, New York City (December 2nd 2015)
AFCF Directors' Workshop, New York City (November 15th 2015)
Pub Quiz, New York City (April 22nd 2015)
AFCF was a sponsor at the British American Business (BAB) Pub Quiz in NYC. This popular event combines the traditional atmosphere of a British pub night with a unique opportunity for networking! AFCF’s team Zambia 2015 took part, in the spirit of friendly competition! A great way to promote our work in Zambia to BAB membership!