August 2022

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 It looks like the fire started because of old, out of date electrical wiring so this timely repair should stop this happening again and make the area safer for the staff and patients.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!

 

May 2022

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!

March 2022

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.

Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) pods, shells and offals | Feedipedia

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.

January

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.

October

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.

Reusable sanitary padReusable Sanitary Pad.

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.

 

 

July

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.

May

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.

 

 

April

Know that the Lord, He is God….we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:3

Hello again – I do hope this message finds you well as we gradually lift the restrictions of the current lockdown due to the Covid pandemic. Our shops were able to open on Monday (the 12th April) and we are having a sale so it is well worth checking out for bargains. It is so nice to be getting back to some sort of normality, albeit very slowly.

It has been a difficult period since Christmas as Alistair’s mother has been unwell and unfortunately died in March. She was 92 years old and had lived a long and happy life and we give thanks to God for her. We were gladdened that both our children could attend her funeral, which was restricted due to Covid. Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers at this time.

During March Alistair and I were very happy to be able to help out at Headlands School, carrying out the Covid testing on the pupils. We also managed to drive to Trowbridge near Bath to pick up some vital equipment. On the way back we took a detour to  Skegness to collect further items that Sadesh from the Skegness Rotary Club had been storing for us since Christmas.

Despite the lockdown we are still able to run projects abroad. We have just completed a literacy project in Northern Ghana and have applied for funding to do another one this year. We are in the final stages of completing the solar panels in Burkina Faso and we are planting mango trees in Sing, thanks to a donation for the Skegness Rotary Club.

Dry season farming in Sing, Northern Ghana.

The dry season farming project in Bobo, Burkina Faso to help feed people who are facing starvation due to unrest caused by Islamic insurgents and also secondary effects of Covid is well underway.

And the mango trees keep growing:

We are so grateful to our partners abroad who are continuing with their work despite hardships and struggles and the beneficiaries who are trying so hard to improve their lives and those of their families.

The Zimbabwe container has arrived and they are delighted with the contents. The Zambia container is still on the way – it was held up by the blockage in the Suez canal.

I would also like to say a big thank you to all the knitters out there who work hard at making blankets and woolly knits for us to send. A new group has recently been started by some pupils at Hornsea School and Language College called Squares Together, who are knitting squares for blankets. All these items are really appreciated by the communities that receive them and we thank you for your hard work.

February

Those who dwell under His shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain. Hosea 14.7

Hello!  I hope this message finds you well. Yet again we are in the middle of lockdown due to the Covid Pandemic.  Our shops are closed and we are unable to travel and we have stopped accepting donations except medical ones to try and keep our volunteers safe. Despite all this we are still able to do some of our work, particularly the overseas projects.

Due to a generous donation of one of our supporters we have started work on the solar panels at the Christian hospital Source de Vie in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. The electricity costs are very high and the panels will make significant savings for the hospital. It is impossible to run a modern day obstetric / surgical unit without electricity! When I went to India in the 1980s we used to have frequent power cuts – if the lights went out we had to use a torch and a foot suction pump to carry on with the Caesarian sections and it was terrifying.  As there is so much sunlight in Burkina it is wonderful to be able to use what God is providing free of charge – after paying for the solar panels etc!

In Bobo at the ABC school they are still struggling to try and feed the families and refugees that come daily for food. Due to this, our partners have started a dry season farming project on some land that the school owns nearby. Until now it has only been able to use this land during the wet season as there is no water available for farming at other times. Myra Wells, a Christian charity that digs wells in Burkina Faso, has dug a well on the land and Jacob’s Well Appeal are providing the water tank and solar pump etc to enable this project to go ahead. This will mean that the families from the school can grow food out of season. We are using money that we receive from our sales of donated face masks, hand gel and soap and any financial donations (labelled Covid Burkina) would be very welcome!

Our Dry Season Farming projects in Ghana continue and are also providing vital provisions for the families in the communities we support. The main harvest following the rainy season is in September/October and it is the last few months before the rains start again that the communities really struggle. It is also when the weather is unbearably hot and dry but the crops grow well when there is a supply of water. The photo below shows Jacob one of our partners in Ghana inspecting the crop at our dry season project at Sing recently.

We have a container that is due to go to Zambia soon containing much needed medical aid.

Hopefully we will see a easing of lockdown soon but in the meantime I pray that you all stay safe and well. Thank you once again for all your support and I hope you are encouraged by the fact that the work of Jacob’s Well Appeal can still carry on despite the difficulties we are facing – it is only due to the work and support of so many people. Thank you!

 

December 2020

And the Light shines in the darkness John 1:5

As we look forward to Christmas we remember those in poorer countries that are really struggling this year. Burkina Faso, for example, has been struggling with terrorists which have attacked rural communities, causing them to move into towns and leaving their farms unattended behind. On top of this they have had poor harvests due to heavy erratic rains compounded by the corona virus pandemic. At our partner school in Bobo they now have over a hundred families each day turning up for food. The numbers are increasing weekly. The school is donating a bag of maize for two weeks to each family – Jacob’s Well Appeal has sent money to help support this endeavour but they really need a new supply of food. We are now planning to help them set up a large dry season farming project – ‘out of season’ farming. This needs a well with a solar powered pump to pump the water on the land. This will help feed the families until the next rains due May/June 2021.

 

We have just sent a container to a nursing school in northern Ghana – they will use the contents to train their nurses and they are happy to take out of date items to train with. These would only end up in land fill in the UK. They also plan to help supply some of the rural clinics where their nurses train. Whenever Alistair or I have visited these clinics they have empty shelves so it will be wonderful if some of the aid can get here. The photo shows the shelving in a medical centre that was several hours away from the nearest hospital serving a community of over 2000 people that Alistair and I visited in 2018. They had no other drugs, bandages, dressings and very few gloves.

We have had a good harvest in Ghana from the groundnut seedbank and, despite the erratic rains, we have managed to harvest more this year than last year. This is a project that helps empower women, enabling them to have their own income which they can use to feed their family and hopefully help pay for school fees.

They are all very grateful for the help they receive and have worked hard to retrieve all the nuts!

We have also had a very generous donation to help fund the solar powered project at the hospital in Ouagadougou. Currently the electricity bills are between £1,307 to £2,068 per month. By using solar panels the bills will be dramatically cut and so save money as well as the environment, enabling the hospital to continue treating patients that can not afford medical help elsewhere.

We are so very grateful for everyone who supports us – every donation, no matter how small, can benefit others. Some of the people we are trying to help are the poorest in the world and they are so grateful for anything and really appreciate people from another country trying to help them.

We wish you a safe and blessed Christmas and every blessing for the New Year.

 

 

 

 

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