Today we are celebrating 25 years of EducAid Africa and thanking you all as a small representation of the hundreds of people who have raised money to support these children's education in Kenya.
EducAid Africa was started in 1993 by Patrick Langmead, a retired teacher, who visited Kenya for another charity. Whilst there he learned of a particular child in Mombasa who couldn't afford fees for secondary school and realised that there were many more in the same predicament.
On returning to Solihull, with the support of his local church, Solihull Methodist, paid for her school fees. This in turn opened another door for her because she trained to be a very successful teacher in her community.
From this small beginning the activities have expanded and EducAid Africa currently sponsors over 50 students in 7 different schools and a number of further education colleges. This is in addition to supporting a number of primary and nursery schools. Over the years literally hundreds of young people have benefited from your generous support.
Our main task is to sponsor pupils to go to Secondary Schools - something that families have to pay for and most needy families just can't afford. Without it their future life will be bleak and
, a former Bishop in Mombasa tells us:
Boys and girls who have no opportunity to go to Secondary School, would see themselves as having no hope for the future. Knowing that education is the key to greater opportunity in life.
The boys would end up by being either as house servants or street boys or beach boys and even maybe engage in activities of drugs and robbery.
For girls, they could end up by being married to men who are much older than themselves (this is arranged marriage or forced marriage). Some of the girls may even end up in towns and engage in prostitution.
We support 4 or 5 secondary schools which, due to their outlying position, have to provide boarding provision. They are church sponsored schools and the children get a Christian upbringing.
There are currently 9 trustees, including our President Rev Harry Mills, and they have worked tirelessly to run the charity, raise money for and keep in contact with our sponsored pupils. In addition some Trustees have visited Kenya, at their own expense, 11 times. This has enabled us to speak with certainty about the authenticity and needs of these pupils and the fact that all donations go to Kenya and none are taken out by us for running costs. Even today's expenses have not come from EducAid funds.
Our funds have come from numerous individual and family sponsorships, infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary Schools, various churches in Solihull, a software company, Stratford Rotary and a generous grant from Barston Village. We are so pleased that several representatives from some of these schools, churches and individuals are gathered here this afternoon.
I should like to pay tribute to our founder Patrick Langmead who passed away in 2012. His vision and implementation of EducAid Africa has resulted in so many young people in Kenya having their lives dramatically changed for the better. This was summed up by a number of tributes paid to him by pupils who had benefited from his work. I quote some of them
If it were not for him initiating the EducAid Africa, some of us could not have realized our dreams. I know Patrick because I have met him personally. Pass my condolences to the family of Patrick and the EducAid Africa fraternity.
So sad this is Ian! I met Patrick and he is a hero even in death because he founded the best thing for us all.
Blessed are those who can give without remembering and receive without forgetting. Let's be grateful to those who make us happy, they are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom and every time I stand to say "thank you" I experience nothing more than heaven on earth.
This EducAid Africa has seen me go through my high school and university schooling without worries of fees.
This EducAid Africa has given me friends, life-long friends here and beyond,
This EducAid Africa has given me not only good education but also a transformed life altogether.
Maria, once sponsored by Lyndon secondary school in Solihull, wrote:
I want to thank you for enabling me to continue with my secondary education. Where there was no hope, you gave me hope.
Thank you all again for your continued support and encouragement. Without people such as you all this would be impossible. Here we mark our Silver Anniversary and look forward to many more years of serving these lovely young people in Kenya.
I should like to conclude with some words of a song that the children at my previous school used to sing. It's called the Song of the Child.
See the child standing there, as he sees the world go by.
He is standing all-alone and he'll always wonder why,
When nations spend their millions on power and on might,
That he never had the chance, to learn to read and write.
See the child standing there, with hunger in his eyes.
He is standing all alone, as a nation slowly dies.
He knows that he is hungry and he doesn't understand,
There are just too many people in this dry and barren land.
So take this child by the hand,
And lead him back to love.
Leave the fear and the misery behind.
Take this child by the hand,
And lead him back to love.
And show him that people can be kind.
Where there was no hope, you gave me hope.