Saturday, 27 June 2009

Thank you

Thank you so much to everyone who donated shoes and coats to send to Serenje. It was a real community effort with children from Sandy Lane, mums and children from Sparklers and church contributing. In total we gave 240 pairs of shoes and 160 coats to the children in Serenje. That's a lot of children who can now go to school in the winter because they've got a warm coat and a decent pair of shoes for the long walk. You can see the boxes being collected by DHL from church on Thursday, ready to be flown out to Serenje. A big thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, in particular Penny Lander who headed this up. It's so exciting to know there will be more children in school because of these shoes and coats.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


I was watching one of these fashion make-over programmes and they were saying that you should throw out anything you haven't worn for 6 months. One statistic I read recently said 'Women spend £1,000 a year on their wardrobe but only wear 30% of their clothes'. Wow.

We live in a throw away culture don't we? The fashion changes, the size of our body changes (sad but true!), we're bored of it, we don't know why we ever bought it in the first place etc etc.

I have to be honest and admit that I enjoy getting new clothes, and feeling lovely in my new outfit. But when I was in Serenje we met a family whose children wouldn't be able to go to school because they didn't have a warm winter coat or shoes for the long walk to school. And suddenly two such different worlds collide. I have a wardrobe full of clothes and they will miss out on essential education if they don't get a coat and a pair of shoes. Crazy isn't it?

It isn't about guilt, it about sharing what we have, with those that don't. What a privilege to be able to give stuff away. To a friend, to a charity shop or if you have some children's shoes and winter coats in your cupboard, to Serenje. From
Sunday 14th to Monday 22nd June we're collecting shoes and coats to send to the children in Serenje. What we need is:
Shoes for children aged 5-15 (need to be hard wearing-for cold weather and long walks!)
Warm winter coats for children aged 3-15
Please take them to reception and let them know that they're for Serenje.

So while I do enjoy new clothes, I've got a feeling giving some away is going to feel a whole lot better.

Monday, 1 June 2009


It's so exciting to see how our connections with Serenje are growing all the time. We had our first team meeting for the group going out to Serenje this summer last week. We're going from the 24th July to the 9th August. Please pray for Alex and the team at EFZ as they prepare for our visit. We're going to be doing a range of things:
-teaching sports and games to schoolchildren
-helping to set up and organise a library
-write a business plan for the guesthouse (this will be on the plot of land we've bought, along with the dormitory)
-teaching gardening skills to a youth group who want to set up a gardening project

But there are a number of other connections with Serenje which are developing. Following on from Sandy Lane partnering with Kankoso primary school, a number of Bracknell schools have expressed interest in partnering with schools in Serenje, so Alex and his team in Serenje are looking into what this will look like.

While we were there in April we heard about 5 deaf children who aren't able to go to school and 2 children who need wheelchairs. We're in the process of getting costings for the deaf children getting to school as well as exploring the best way to provide wheelchairs, with support from an organisation called Wheelchairs for Africa.

We're also collecting shoes and coats for children who stop going to school in the winter because it's too cold for them to walk. For some of them the trip to school can be up to 5 hours there and back. Penny and myself will be providing more details of what's needed and where to bring donations, shortly. The above photo is of Lee and some of the children we met in a village in Serenje called Kashitu, who need coats and shoes for the winter. As you can see they're gorgeous and love seeing themselves on film!!

So it's really exciting and there are lots of ways to get involved with what's happening in Serenje. We are gathering a team to help organise the various projects I've mentioned above. If one of these particularly interests you and you'd like to get involved please contact me (Zoe) - I'd love to hear from you!