Charity African Initiatives is launching an Advent Christmas Appeal this December with a difference. Each day of the month a film, podcast or story will showcase a story from their education programmes in Africa or the UK, illustrating the difference education makes to individuals and communities for the amount of money we would happily throw away every day in the UK.
The costs are surprising: £3.30 will buy a chicken for a farmer in Ghana; in the UK this would get you a pint of beer in many establishments. £30 would buy the school uniform and books for a Maasai girl in Tanzania – that’s got to be worth about a box set of DVDs for us. Money which we dispose of relatively casually on a week to week basis can change the lives of a counterpart in Africa, for good. Rosie Martin, Chief Executive of African Initiatives explains why the charity are looking at Christmas giving a little differently this year, “After we decided which stories to use for the appeal we asked our partners in Ghana and Tanzania to come up with some corresponding costs for the things those individuals and communities needed the most and it indicates the small amounts of money that can make a real difference to people’s lives. £3.30 would buy one chicken; not much to us; but that chicken will provide eggs for a family which will also be sold at market, and potentially mean more income in the future. It made us start to wonder just how important that £3.30 is to us in comparison: a pint? A sandwich?”
The short films, between 2-5 minutes in length will give people an insight into the difference learning new skills can make to individuals and families, by hearing from the people themselves involved in programmes as diverse as farming, girls’ education or HIV and AIDS. Films include performances by Maasai primary school girls in Tanzania convincing their parents to send them to school; interviews with Council authorities supporting the construction of girls’ dormitories and with Health Club “Guardians” working with secondary school students to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.
The charity is hoping that their Appeal will show people that their support can help in a very real way, however small the gift might appear at first sight, “I was asked recently just how much it cost African Initiatives to help one individual in Africa,” Mrs Martin says, “when I worked it out, I was astounded. Last year it cost just £4.58 to change one person’s life for good.
Please visit www.african-initiatives.org.uk each day in December to see what people can do with a little education.”