God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1
Hi everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Easter break. We have been in Inverness babysitting our 3 grandchildren so that our daughter can finish her GP training – we will be spending a lot of time up there this year, working for Jacob’s Well Appeal remotely where possible.
The war in the Ukraine continues relentlessly and we have continued to send aid, mostly medical, in curtain-sider lorries and the total now has reached 27. Because the financial aid to this conflict has reduced, we will not be able to continue at the rate we have previously, but we will still send as much as we can.
We continue to work abroad with our partners and we have recently drilled a borehole in a place called Jocheribayiri in Northern Ghana. Alistair and I visited this community in November and they have been without a source of clean water for over 50 years. This is a photo of Alistair and I meeting the community in November.
The initial drilling was unsuccessful – the contractors usually drill 3 times for the price (£4,500) in places they feel they should get water. Fortunately the second attempt was successful and they have now a borehole with an abundant supply of water which has been tested by the Ghanaian water Company to confirm that the water is safe to drink. The community will now have to look after this well – a community team has been appointed to do this and the community will have to save some money to cover any future repairs. This is always challenging in these poor regions.
We have also completed a re-usable sanitary pad project at the request of the Wa Municipal Education Directorate. They had seen how successful our previous re-usable sanitary pad projects have been and asked if we could help reach the girls in several schools in the Wa area, Northern Ghana who they felt would benefit greatly from this help. Our partners worked in 4 schools (Charia Clisters of Schools, Gbegru Basic School, Kperisi Basic School and Wa Municipal Girls Model School) and they teach the girls how to make the re-usable pads and they also give sexual health and menstrual hygiene education. 433 girls were reached by this project and every girl that remains in school due to this training not only helps herself but also the family that she will eventually raise. Below are some photos taken at the various schools – the pupils say that they really enjoy the workshops as well as appreciating their value and its wonderful that they can rely on the sunny weather to work outside!
Thank you as always for all your support – we can only achieve so much because of your generosity.
Behold, I am doing a new thing Isaiah 43:19
Happy New Year!
I can’t believe that I haven’t done a blog since September. We were in Ghana in November and December was extremely busy on all fronts. Now we are in 2023 and the war in Ukraine is continuing and the cost of living crisis is affecting all of us. We have been blessed to be able to help the Ukraine people with many lorry loads of aid, mostly medical, and we are so grateful for the financial support we have received from you all to enable this to continue.
Alistair and I had a difficult trip to Ghana. We met many communities who were struggling because of the currency of Ghana falling sharply against the pound (we previously have got 5 cedis to a pound – it was nearly 17 cedis when we were there) and the cost of fuel had quadrupled. The harvest had been poor and families are facing the real threat of hunger in this coming year. We will continue to support them as much as possible through our seedbank and dry farming projects as well as literacy training.
Below is a photo of one of our beneficiaries weeding her dry season garden plot. This community was very pleased with the plot which they can grow food to eat and to sell. They had planted 5 bags of soya but had only harvested the same 5 bags because the rains were late and harvest so poor. We would expect them to harvest around 35 and then repay us the original 5 bags to keep the seedbank going. We had to let them keep the soya and promised to help them again next year. Your donations will help restock the seedbank so that we can help these communities.
We visited the vaccine cold storage unit we built for the Wa region. This was a timely build, as it was finished as they received their first covid vaccines. They use it now to store all their childhood immunisations together with other vaccines such as covid. It means that the vaccines can be stored much more reliably and are therefore more likely to be effective.
We also visited some of our fruit tree plantations. Some very regrettably had been damaged by forest fires. Our partners have rescued the fencing from the affected sites and replanted usually in smaller groups in the hope that the trees will survive better. Some of the communities have worked hard to water and look after their plants. It is a hard job when the water can be some distance from the trees.
We met several communities who had very poor water supplies and we are hoping to help them get a borehole. One community had a borehole which was broken – they have now had that repaired so that they have clean water available for drinking. I would not like to drink the water that they are collecting below! When this water hole dries up they then will have 5Km to walk for water, which is a river nearby. They have no access to clean drinking water at all.
Jacob’s Well Appeal continues to try to help the poorest people in the world with your help. We are so grateful to be able to be part of this.
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes: there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Rev 21:4
Alistair and I have been in Inverness visiting our 3 wonderful grandsons (as well as their mum and dad!) over the bank holiday – it was such a blessing – to return to the devastating news that one of our partners in Ghana has died. Carmel was a wonderful gentle kind lady who has 2 beautiful daughters and was pregnant. Unfortunately she went into haemorrhagic shock during a Caesarean section and died. Carmel was from the Philippines and had moved to Ghana to work with the VSO (voluntary services overseas). She met and fell in love with Jacob whom she married and they set up a charity called C4C (coalition for change) with Ruby and Annas. We have worked with this charity since we started visiting Ghana. She is pictured below with Jacob, her husband and her two daughters.
This is such a cruel reminder of the poor maternal services that are available to people living in the developing world and the cost some people pay for working in these difficult places. I know that her loss will be felt by all who knew and loved her, as well as the people she gave so much to. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob and children.
Let not your heart be troubled John 14v1
Hi Everyone – I hope you are enjoying the summer weather here in the UK. I am currently melting in our portacabin on the Beverley site – I am not complaining as I do like it hot! It can be so hard not to be worried about everything that is happening in the world, but we trust in a greater God that is in control.
Alistair and I have been away in Inverness for most of July, babysitting our grandsons who all had chickenpox. The work at JWA has continued despite our absence and we have now sent 18 lorries to the Ukraine, with a further one due any moment. This consists mostly of medical aid (though not entirely) being distributed to hospitals throughout Ukraine. The value of the aid currently sent is just short of £5,300,000 and has cost us just under £87,000 to send. Thank you for everyone who has contributed to this effort. We are currently raising funds to send medical boxes that will carry blood and blood replacement fluid (gelofusine) and we hope to continue sending regular donations of aid.
I hope you have all seen our newsletter which will keep you informed about what we are doing. You will have read about the fire at the hospital in Ouagadougou. Fortunately no one was hurt and none of the new building or solar panels were damaged. These are the pictures of the damage:
Fortunately we have been able to raise the funds to help repair this area of the hospital. It looks like the fire started because of old, out of date electrical wiring so this timely repair should stop this happening again and make the area safer for the staff and patients. Building has started with masonry repairs underway:
I’m sure you’ll notice that health and safety has not yet arrived in Burkina Faso! They are so grateful for the help you are giving them. This is a Christian hospital that helps all in need. I think it is impossible to understand what it is like to have to pay for your hospital care and to be denied lifesaving treatment because you are poor. Burkina Faso is still struggling with security issues and we are currently unable to visit this country.
Once again we thank everyone who support us as we endeavour to help those in the world that are struggling to survive. Thank you!
And so, Lord, my only hope is in You. Psalm 39:7-9
We have now had 3 months of war in Ukraine and the end seems even further away and the situation seems hopeless. After 2 years of Covid and now with the economic difficulties we are facing, the hope of a better time ahead seems far away. Despite these difficulties, with your help and generous giving, we have been able to send 14 trucks (mostly curtain siders) of aid to the Ukraine since the war started. This has cost over £60,000 on transportation expenses and the value of the aid received is an amazing £4,452,404. £2,500,000 of this is new dressings, particularly burn dressings, ideal for victims of bombing or gunfire, given to us by a company in Yorkshire. These were entirely new and within 6months of expiry date. Another high value item is colostomy bags – used in the UK for bowel cancer patients after surgery. In the Ukraine they have needed a huge supply of these for blast injury patients who require bowel surgery. The medical aid has been distributed all over Ukraine to over 30 hospitals. We have also send clothing, food and sanitary products to communities. The items have all be very gratefully received and much appreciated. We have never managed to raise so much financial support is so short a time nor have we been able to send so much aid in this time frame – we are very grateful to everyone who has generously given to this appeal.
The situation in Burkina Faso is also difficult, with the security situation still a major issue and food shortages causing real problems. Our partners faced another disaster recently, with a fire at the hospital in Ouagadougou. This did not affect the new maternity or surgical unit or the solar panels (praise God!) but it has seriously damaged the old hospital. We are now appealing for help to repair this – the total cost is just under £26,000 and we will do the work in 3 phases. This hospital is a Christian hospital run by local doctors and our partners offering low cost (or free if the patient has no money) medical care. It offers a vital service to the local community.
We have blessed with several donations towards our reusable sanitary pad project, including £2,000 from Skegness Rotary Club and £3,000 from the Souter trust as well as two large private donations. This is enabling us to reach many girls in Northern Ghana who are trapped by period poverty. They really welcome this assistance to enable them to remain at school and gain their education. The photo below shows girls learning to make the reusable sanitary pads.
We have also continued with our agricultural (seedbank) projects and our partners are distributing seed already as the rainy season will soon be starting. It is vital they get the grain in the ground as soon as the rain starts to get the maximum growing potential for their plants. The photo below shows Ruby distributing groundnut to impoverished women.
With your help we can offer hope to people in very desperate situations across the world. Not only does it help them in their immediate need but it offers hope for the future and they really appreciate the fact that people who they do not know are trying to help them. Thank you!
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts Hebrews 4:7
Hello everyone. I am sure you are all very distressed by the images and news on the TV and radio regarding Ukraine. As you will have seen from our front page and perhaps heard on the news or radio we are trying to help as much as we can. We are extremely busy at the moment – we have sent out two large lorries of dressings and two big vans loaded with medical aid, including shot-blast dressings, to Ukraine last week and we are now organising a curtain-sider of aid to go to Moldova, where are partners are looking after refugees in the after school clubs that they used to run. Later on in the month we plan to send a container of mixed aid to Ukraine. We have partners in Moldova with whom we have worked for many years. We send them two to three curtain-siders of aid each year which they distribute to the poor and needy. This always includes colostomy, as many people who have bowel surgery in Moldova are unable to afford the bags they need to make their life bearable. Our partners distribute the colostomy and medical and dental aid we send, as well as running after school clubs for poor children and nursing homes for the elderly. Moldova is a poor country but they are so willing to help their Ukrainian brothers and sisters and over 200,000 have entered Moldova. This is around 10% of the entire population of Moldova, equivalent to us taking 6,000,000. It is not in the EU and desperately needs help. We have already sent money directly to our partners. Everyone has been very generous and we have had a huge response to our appeal. Thank you for everyone who has donated and please keep supporting us.
We have a partner in Ukraine that Dr Beryl Brown knows well and who she has worked with through her Well One Clinic and he is now co-ordinating the aid that we have sent. Pray for him and his family for safety and protection.
Despite all this activity we are having a warehouse sale on Saturday (what timing!) so the warehouse volunteers are doing an amazing job of sorting aid to Moldova and Ukraine as well as putting out the stock to sell on Saturday. Hopefully we will sell a lot of things – making money and getting rid of items to clear the space for more donations. If you’re around on Saturday please drop in and see if there is anything you would like to buy!
Photo of the curtain-sider being loaded for Moldova (14/3/2022):
Our projects in Africa are still ongoing – the need is so great. We are just about to do a Reusable Sanitary Pad Project in a secondary school for about 300 girls and also we will soon be starting our agricultural projects. As well as our seedbank project we have a further groundnut project starting and a pilot project with Bambara beans. These are like a cross between a chickpea and a pinto bean and grow underground. There are particularly good for arid areas and are very nutritious.
We will also be planting so more mango trees! Hopefully more and more of the mangoes we have planted will now start to bear fruit and more communities will want to engage with us.
Please pray with me that President Putin will have a change of heart and that this terrible situation in Ukraine will come to an end. Thank you for all the support you give us. There is so much need in the world today and it is vital we all play our part to help.
Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing. 1Thes 5:16,17
Hello everyone. It’s already the beginning of February and I’ve almost got used to writing 2022. The weather is remarkably mild (though very windy at times!) which is helpful for those working in the warehouse and portacabins. We have had several containers struggle to get through the ports in Ghana but fortunately they have all at last reached their destinations. These were filled with medical aid and are so desperately needed by the hospitals in the north of Ghana. One has taken many months. There is also one on the way to Sierra Leone as speak – this is full of aid for the Sierra Leone Autistic Society to help furnish their new school. We pray that they will have no difficulty in clearing their container. There is always worry that tax exemptions will not be accepted and hidden costs will emerge. Despite Covid we have still managed to send 11 containers of aid to Africa and two lorries to Moldova.
I wrote about our sanitary pad project and we have already received a generous donation towards this. The pilot for this project was very well received and we are delighted that we can expand this. The picture below shows the girls with the patterns for their pads.
Some of you may remember that the barn in the farm at the school in Ouagadougou had lost it’s roof – this was mentioned in the summer newsletter. We received a donation to cover the cost of the repair and they have recently sent us photos of the children enjoying the farm.
The kids love helping out at the farm, learning skills on how to look after animals. The cows are probably the healthiest I’ve seen in Burkina Faso! The farm provides food for the kids and hopes to eventually have enough produce to sell at the local markets. Burkina Faso. 80% of the population work in agriculture so it is important the children are taught good farm management as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. Currently Burkina Faso is struggling with Islamic insurgents and the people have left their farms in the rural areas. The children at the school in Ouagadougou come from these rural areas and are poorly nourished when not in school.
We are due to have our AGM on the 28th of February – please come along if you are free. We would like to thank everyone who supports us – we really appreciate that without you we could do nothing.
He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
Hello everyone, I hope you are all well and I suspect most of you in the UK are double vaccinated. Covid itself has not been a particular problem to our partners in West Africa, though the knock on effects of reduced funding and economic changes in the West are hitting hard. One school we support in Ouagadougou has lost a major funder because the funder has lost their business during the covid crisis and can no longer support the school. If anyone is interested in supporting this school, please contact the office. They board several hundred children from the rural areas of Burkina Faso. Without this school these children would get no education and would be lucky to get one meal a day. Obviously feeding and educating this number of children is expensive, even in Western Africa.
Most of our partners are working in remote areas and the populations they work with are generally young – 50% under 15 and few older adults. We are still concerned that those who are elderly, vulnerable and who work in health care are not all vaccinated against covid and we pray that those at risk will soon be offered the jab.
The rains in West Africa this year were late and also particularly heavy at times. This has meant that the harvest is expected to be poor this year, particularly the maize crop. Please pray that this will not be the case and that the harvest will be plentiful. In this area of the world people live on the produce that they farm and a poor harvest means starvation. There are no shops and no social security – the markets are full only of local produce and you can only buy if you have something to sell.
We are starting a pilot project to make reusable sanitary pads. We were asked to price a project giving each girl a supply of sanitary products bought locally. To supply one senior school with 500 girls a packed of sanitary pads for one month use would cost around £500. We asked our donor to consider reusable sanitary pads as this would be a much longer lasting project, as well as being environmentally friendly. It is necessary to meet and work with the girls so that they would find the idea acceptable. Ruby, our partner in Ghana, will be working with teenage girls in school to show them how to make a reusable pad. This will enable them to attend school during their menstrual period and will also hopefully mean that they will be able to make similar products for their female relatives. Many girls drop out of education entirely when they start menstruating and even those that continue often do not attend during the week they bleed.
Skegness Rotary Club are supporting this project and if anyone is interested in this or any other project please get in touch with the office.
We remain busy with medical containers – one is on its way to Malawi and we are currently packing one to the Kings Village in Ghana. We hope to be sending a mixed container to Sierra Leone soon to support the work of Sierra Leone Autistic Society who are building a new school for disabled children.
But you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
Hello – I do hope you are well and keeping safe from Covid. As things get back to normal we hope that you will continue to visit our shops and support us. It has been a really difficult year!
This morning a lorry loaded with medical and colostomy aid left for Moldova and we have a container of aid ready to send to Ghana. We are getting offers of medical aid and supplies daily but our warehouse limits what we can take, as we can only afford to send a container a month at the most. The cost of transport and the containers themselves have gone up and our income has dropped (due to covid) so we are having to say no to some very useful items. We know that it is a difficult time for everyone and we thank you for all your support, without which we could do nothing.
The cold storage unit in Wa in Ghana is well underway and will be very beneficial to the people of that area. It is so necessary to have vaccine storage facilities, otherwise the vaccines can become useless if not stored safely at the correct temperature. As we have become very aware during this pandemic, vaccines are lifesaving. Diseases that used to harm and kill in the past are no longer seen as dangerous to us living in the UK. This is not the case in the poorest communities in the world.
We were contacted by the Inner Wheel from Doncaster and St Ledger who would like to support some of our projects. They are keen to help impoverished women and are hoping to support a literacy project over 3 years. These projects teach basic literacy and numeracy as well as a skill that the women can use to make saleable items during the dry season. One of the projects will involve teaching beadmaking which can be used in many different ways, including making sandals:
We are still running various seedbank projects in northern Ghana, although due to covid these have been smaller than usual. One project is with ground nut seed which we have implemented over a 3 year program. This is working with 44 women, helping 44 families in 2 new communities; the previous 3 communities are only getting ploughing support now as they have had training and seeds for two years. The picture below shows two women tending their crop.
I do hope you have seen our newsletter which we have just printed. I am amazed that despite all the difficulties that we have faced this year we are still able to help those in the world whose situation is much more desperate. Thank you for all the support you give us to make this possible.
Trust in the Lord and do good. Psalm 37:3
As we come out of this recent lockdown we are reminded again at how lucky we are to live in a country with a good health service and we are so grateful for the vaccination program. As India struggles with the pandemic we see distressing photos on the TV of people dying unnecessarily. It makes me more keener than ever to help those countries that struggle with even basic health care. Ruby, our partner in Ghana, has requested help in building a cold storage unit to store vaccines. In the Upper West Region of Ghana the main hospital is at Wa and currently they only have a small room to store their vaccines in, which is not big enough. Now, with the pandemic, they desperately need a better facility which will cost over £14,000. The government has provided only half this amount but they need the rest before they can start. This is so often the situation in poor countries. If they get equipment there is no available maintenance. If they get a building, they struggle to pay for staff with the government often delaying payments for over a year.
Our partners in Ghana are starting their agricultural projects with the poor communities. Here they help the women by providing grain and reduced priced ploughing and the women pay back only the grain given (to maintain the seedbank) and keep the rest. This has been so successful over the last few years that many more women are wanting to join. Unfortunately due to Covid we have not the funds to increase these projects and are struggling to maintain them at the moment. These communities are very poor and struggle to make it from one farming season to the next. Generally they have not been affected by Covid directly but are feeling its impact as the world economy struggles. I pray that the rainy season is good this year and they have a bountiful harvest to help them through the dry season.
The solar panel project at the Source De Vie Hospital in Ouagadougou is complete. They are already seeing savings in the electricity bills and are very delighted with this gift and thankful to our generous donor. This saving will help them so much in the their work.
We are still sending containers with medical aid – we continue to send beds and mattresses and dressings as well as walking aids and colostomy supplies. The next container is for the Cameroon and then we are sending one to Ghana and then Moldova.
Thank you so much to everyone who helps us in any way – we are grateful for all your support.