On June 29, the Zam Challenge returns for its second annual instalment! Burford School will host our six-team, 5-a-side football tournament which promises to be even more intense than last year. Visit our JustGiving page now to make a donation, post a message of support for your team, and help us change lives in Zambia!
In the 2017 competition, Burford School staff narrowly triumphed over three rival teams to take away the first-ever trophy. This year, the total number of teams has increased to six - with a second alumni squad and a team representing Wenn Townsend Chartered Accountants added into the mix.
As before, the official Cecily's Fund team is captained by Simon Isherwood who has formed a new squad with "a mix of youth and experience". The other returning teams are reigning champions Burford staff, the original alumni, and an all-new Burford School Year 12 team. There are four special awards for top goalscorer, top goalkeeper, best teamwork, and of course Man of the Match - which is generously sponsored by Wenn Townsend.
The Cecily's Fund team needs your support! Visit our JustGiving page today to make a donation, then post a message for our team. They were top goalscorers in 2017, and would love nothing more than to go all the way this year!
We'll be sharing all the action from all the matches online, so be sure to keep an eye on the #ZamChallenge18 hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We'll also be publishing a post-tournament report here on our website.
It takes just a few clicks to make your Zam Challenge donation, but your support will make a real difference in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children in Zambia. Just £5 is enough to help support our feeding programme at BISO Community School, while £15 helps us support a community savings group. For every £50 we raise, we can support a child at school for a year. So please - donate today, help us make a difference, and cheer on the Cecily's Fund team!
The second of our four newsletters this year is now available to download from our website. To read all our latest news, get your download here or read on Issuu. Also, use the links below to go straight to key stories on our site.
The life-changing effects of our DREAMS programme; how we're using the power of sport and music in our work; and all the details of the second annual Zam Challenge. They're all featured in our summer newsletter this year. Here are some more details:
- In a special feature "Growing the Future", we meet Felistus - a mother and businesswoman who has been given a new hope for the future by our DREAMS programme.
- In the feature "Changing Tunes and Scoring Goals", we take a look at two examples of our work outside the classroom. First, we meet Zacharia who is an aspiring musician. Then, we look at a very unique football team.
- The second annual Zam Challenge 5-a-side football tournament is coming up on June 29 - inside the newsletter you can read about what we have in store for the event. Visit our JustGiving page to donate today!
- On page 7 of the newsletter you'll find out about two schools - Southborough High and Bedales - which are longstanding supporters of Cecily's Fund. They're taking on major runs this year for us and need your support.
Inside the newsletter there's also a reminder of what Cecily's Fund has done to become compliant with new privacy regulations. If you haven't done so already, please have a look at our new privacy page and take a moment to register for our mailings - or update your existing details.
We hope you enjoy the newsletter - please contact us with any comments or queries and look out for the next issue coming in September.
|Location||Kasompe, Chingola, Zambia||Respondent|| Rebecca Namfukwe
Even with government-subsidized school fees, it is not easy for most parents or guardians to support children in government schools in Chingola. This is a story of Rebecca Namfukwe, grandmother to Memory, an orphaned grade 8 girl at Kasompe Primary School.
Memory’s parents died when she was a baby. She was then adopted by her grandparents. They have since been sponsoring her education. But with the financial constraints faced by most parents and guardians in Chingola, especially due to high unemployment levels, it hasn’t been easy. Memory’s grandfather is a charcoal burner who produces and sells charcoal for a living. Rebecca also sells vegetables at a local market to make ends meet.
In having such a constrained household income, Rebecca says it has not been easy to save money for Memory’s school; the little income she has is only enough to feed the family.
According to the respondent, most girls in her area drop out of school before the eighth grade, usually due to lack of sponsorship. Rebecca says, some girls have to travel long distances (about 1½ hours walk) to access a school in a town area every day. These girls usually find it hard to continue schooling and drop out.
In 2016, Memory, passed her grade 7 exams, but unfortunately, there was no money for her to report to school, to grade 8, early this year (the start of secondary education). She stayed home for months, despite having received her admission letter. Memory ended up spending most of her time selling charcoal and vegetables at the market instead of being in school.
With the coming of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge project by Cecily’s Fund-Afya Mzuri, funded by PEPFAR, this all too common story is slowly beginning to change. There is now hope for girls like Memory, and also for their parents and guardians.
Rebecca has expressed gratitude for the extended mentorship that the project has offered to the girls. She says that through the Comprehensive Sexual Education and life-skills programs that the girls have undergone, she has already noticed changes in her grandchild’s personal and school life. With a bright smile and enthusiastic voice, Rebecca explained that her granddaughter’s tendency to fool around with friends who were not a good influence on her, has reduced tremendously, therefore giving Memory enough time to study.
Rebecca said that the girl is more careful about who she includes in her circle of friends which, to her, is a sign of improved decision making and assertiveness. Rebecca added that, before the girl was enrolled in the DREAMS project, Memory used to spend a lot of time at the market selling charcoal for the family and playing with friends who had a negative influence. She says that now Memory is back in school, she has a better choice of friends, improving her school performance.
Apart from the positive impact that the project has had on Rebecca’s granddaughter, together with many others, Rebecca says that her own life has also improved. After both Rebecca and Memory attended ‘Fresh-Start’ entrepreneurship skills training in July this year (2017), Rebecca says that she now has better skills to run her own business more efficiently than before. She says that she has improved her saving and accountability skills, giving her hope that she can grow her business in future. This, she says, gives her hope to better her household livelihood in the near future.
Rebecca and her granddaughter will also be amongst the first 450 girls and guardians in the project, to benefit from business equipment
given to them as part of a package of sustainable livelihood and education support. Rebecca says that this means that the young girl’s dream to become a nurse and probably the family’s breadwinner, has been re-lit.
Granddaughter’s dream to become a nurse has been re-lit through getting back into education
She also says that she has already seen a change towards positive attitudes and behaviour of her fellow guardians who attend the ‘REFLECT’ group meetings. Formed early this year as a key element of the programme, REFLECT groups (of 30 parents) aim to improve the perception of the value of education, through adult literacy and proactive participatory identification of solutions to local socio-economic issues.
According to Rebecca, through REFLECT, parents and guardians show a positive attitude to girls’ education as they can better relate the importance of parenting to a child’s education. She said that, already, one could easily see the difference in behaviour between parents who attend REFLECT sessions and those who don’t.
As chairperson of the Parent REFLECT group for Kasompe, and being a good community mobiliser, Rebecca aims to continue supporting the project’s efforts in helping the girls achieve their goals and make their community better.
Rebecca recognizes that, thanks to PEPFAR through DREAMS, not only does she have sponsorship to keep Memory in school, but with improved educational support and entrepreneurship training, she is likely to keep Memory in school beyond the project end.
Quotes from the respondent:
“I wish this project (DREAMS) a long life so that its intended purpose will be realised fully. If the project will not continue, the impact so far made will be compromised.”
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.
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.