Most people reading this will be glad to consign 2020 to the “deleted items” box, or, for those of you who now live by Zoom, to push the “leave meeting” icon on this year.
But there has been one silver lining: a heightened appreciation of the problems caused by depression, stress and trauma. People across the world have a new insight into the challenges of mental health. And the issue is finally being talked about – which makes our work at Network for Africa easier.
For instance, the girls at Cheltenham Ladies College found out about us during an internet search, and they chose World Mental Health Day 2020 to support our project in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. They raised both awareness about mental health and funds for us – more than £350.
Ashley Fletcher, who runs the Dhana Natural Self Help Care (previously the Refresh Tea & Soap Company) (a business we had no connection with) contacted us, wanting to build a partnership. She supports small scale tea-growers in India, and apart from delicious tea, she has developed a range of organic beauty and skincare products. (The person writing this newsletter uses Ashley’s shampoo bars, and is very impressed, as well as feeling smug about not using plastic bottles any more). Please support Ashley’s company.
Our friend, Alex Hale, ran the virtual London Marathon, raising more than £3,500 for our projects. A special thank you to the people who sponsored Alex, and to our wonderful contributors to the annual Big Give, which targeted our project in Rwanda. A particular thank you goes to our friends who rallied around our Sierra Leone project, enabling us to continue our work there until January 2021. With our local partners, we are providing support to more than 200 people with mental illness as well as their over-stretched caregivers. We are currently trying to raise the £30,000 ($40,000) to continue this essential work for another six months. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Please click here.
Although Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone (where we have projects) fared better than Europe and North America by locking down swiftly, the social and economic implications have a big impact on people’s mental health. Our partners in each country have demonstrated their own adaptability and resilience, supporting vulnerable people through this time. You have heard about this work in previous newsletters this year, still available here.
Finally, we’ve closed our UK office (why pay rent while our doughty team are working from home?). We are using our registered charity address if you wish to send donations, etc. and we have a new telephone number – details can be found here.
And please remember that your shopping can benefit Network for Africa. With Give as you Live, you can shop at more than 4,200 retailers, including Amazon, eBay, John Lewis, etc., at no extra cost to you. Please sign up here.
The Network for Africa team, and our friends in Africa, thank you for your continued support. May 2021 be a better year for all of us.