April 27, 2021

Theirworld's small grants make a big difference to children and communities

Some of the beneficiaries of Theirworld's Small Grants Programme

A look at some of our local funding - from a home for teachers at a village school in Ghana to helping refugee girls become role models in Greece.

Theirworld plays a key role in efforts to end the global education crisis. But we also make a difference at a more local level through our Small Grants Programme.

Since 2004, Theirworld has made grant awards totalling more than £500,000. They are aimed at developing skills, improving health and education and empowering young people.

Grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 are made to charities or non-profits at the discretion of Theirworld's trustees.

Here we look at just a few of the awards which have made a big difference in the lives of children and communities over the past two years. Next month we will feature grants made to organisations working in the UK.

Ashanti Development (Ghana)

A lovely letter of appreciation from the people of Asase Bunso

Photo credit: Theirworld

Asase Bunso is a farming community of about 800 people in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Its primary school has 200 students but suffered from a lack of teachers because they had nowhere to live.

In 2019, with the head teacher and three other teachers forced to sleep in a classroom, the village decided to act.

"Our school is not complete because we do not have teachers and any teacher who is posted here never comes back after their first visit to the school," said village chief Nana Sarpong Asumadu at a community meeting.

The charity Ashanti Development received a grant from Theirworld to enable the building of a three-bedroom house for the teachers. Members of the community helped by digging the foundations, mixing cement and providing food for the builders. 

Nicholas Aboagye, Ghana Country Director for Ashanti Development, said the house would have "an enormous impact on the quality teaching and learning in the school as teachers will now accept postings and also be content to remain in the village".

The Butterfly Tree (Zambia)

The five young women who are learning new skills

Photo credit: The Butterfly Tree

A Theirworld grant helped The Butterfly Tree charity to fund college fees and accommodation for five young women from poor rural communities who had completed high school.

As well as the hotel and management subjects taught at the college in Livingstone, the students are taking computing lessons to widen their employment opportunities. Each will also have a three-month placement with a local business.

These skills will help them to be self-sufficient, support their families and give something back to their communities. They will become role models and inspire other young women and girls.

"I am enjoying everything and gaining knowledge on how I can run my own business in terms of transporting of goods from other countries," said student Precious Malumo, who is taking a diploma in Clearing and Forwarding (transportation).

Action for Education (Greece)

Workshops and classes are helping girls and young women on Chios

Photo credit: Action for Education

Youth Centre Women Groups provides a safe community space on the Greek island of Chios, where girls and women seeking asylum can access basic services such as showers, wifi, sanitary products and hot food. 

A grant from Theirworld allowed Action for Education to welcome two groups of girls and women aged 14 to 22, who live in the refugee camp or in the community. They can take part in a range of workshops, classes and activities to develop skills, promote learning, provide opportunities and foster self-confidence.

Each group is a mix of nationalities, including from Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Somalia, Iraq and Kuwait.

"Covid-19 has brought many a problem, thereby challenging us to become even more responsive and create solutions and strategies to deliver services and aid where possible, whilst safeguarding and minimising risk," said Action for Education.

"Thanks for all making life good," said Hadil, one of the groups' members.

Misty Meadows School (South Africa)

The school is in a multicultural community

Photo credit: Misty Meadows School

Misty Meadows School - which has 75 students - is in a multicultural community in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Lessons are in English - a second language to a third of the children, who are isiZulu speakers.

The school wanted to appoint a qualified teacher to be responsible for literacy and numeracy lessons, as well as social and emotional development, for the first and second grades. The Zoe Education Trust, Misty Meadows' partner, applied to Theirworld for funding, which allowed them to hire Sybil le Clus.

"She is the most incredible teacher – so motivating, kind, supportive, resourceful, patient and enthusiastic," said head teacher Cassie Janisch. "Her class adores her and she is making a huge difference in these children’s lives.

"With the pandemic having so severely impacted livelihoods in rural South Africa, the support of Theirworld in covering our teacher’s salary for 2021 is even more invaluable than when this grant was first approved."

Youth and Women for Opportunities Uganda

Some of the supported students at Immaculate Girls secondary School in Soroti

Photo credit: YWOU

Youth and Women for Opportunities Uganda was founded as a response to the problems faced by many children - to help pay their school fees, feed them, give them medical care, shelter and a sense of belonging.

A grant from Theirworld supported a project to improve access to quality education and work skills for orphans, vulnerable children and children with disabilities and their families.

YWOU paid for 68 children and adolescents to go to school or vocational training institutions. Scholarships Patron Edimu Isaac Felix said: "YWOU aims to give girls the best possible chance to continue and complete their education."

Student Alago Hellen Assumpt, 18, said: "I am the first in my family to reach high school. Raised from a humble background, a less privileged community, this scholarship has not only bridged financial and academic challenges but has also helped me realise the value of a higher education."

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