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.
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.
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!
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.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble. Nahum 1:7
What a strange time we are living through. England is now back in lockdown and the NHS is struggling with the rising numbers of Covid cases. Hull has one of the highest rates of infection and I pray that you and your families are remaining safe during this period. I think we all know someone who has been affected by this virus and most families have lost a loved one because of it and have family members working on the front line. I think we all hope that 2021 will bring an end to this pandemic.
It can take several months for the contents of the container to eventually reach their destination. It is taking even longer during the pandemic, especially to get containers through the port. Here is the container we sent to Ghana in April finally being opened and emptied in November.
We are still able to send containers abroad despite lockdown and the Zimbabwe container left last week – we pray that it will get through customs to those in need. We are now packing two containers for Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where our partners run a school and hospital, and we will be sending medical and educational aid in the containers. They are using the bus we sent to collect children from the rural areas where there is no opportunity for the children to go to school, and they remain at the school during the term. The literacy rate in Burkina Faso has risen dramatically in the last 20 years in the 15 – 24 year old age group, from 20% in 1998 to nearly 60% in 2018. It is under 20% in people over 65 years old (figures from UNESCO). Unfortunately over the last few years the militants have been targeting schools as they feel they are ‘western’. Because of the low literacy rate in older adults there is no education at all at home if the schools are closed, which has happened in some areas of Burkina Faso because of militant attacks.
Over the next few months we hope to send another medical container to Ghana, a container to the Autistic School in Sierra Leone, a container to Zambia which we hope will contain a significant amount of colostomy which is very much needed there, and also a medical container to the Cameroon as well as a curtain sider lorry to Moldova.
We are still supporting our overseas projects – the seedbank, dry season farming projects and the fruit tree plantations. Our partners have had restrictions due to Covid and also, especially in Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana, an issue with personal safety. The picture shows Ruby walking to visit a community – the road has been replaced by a river! Please remember to pray for their safety. Alistair and I are looking forward to when we can visit them again, but at the moment we are both working in Beverley due to travel restrictions. The warehouse is just accepting medical aid at the moment and both the shops are closed. We do hope things change soon. I pray that you all remain safe in these difficult times.
Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in times of trouble. Psalm 41:1
Hello everyone! Since I last wrote to you all we have had another grandson – baby Samuel was born in August. We thank God for his safe arrival and the opportunity for Alistair and I to see him. Unfortunately his great grandparents and Uncle are yet to meet him due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Our partners in Burkina Faso are really struggling. Due to the unrest in the country many have fled to the cities and the farms have been abandoned. The schools are under threat from the insurgents and pastors of churches are targets, as are teachers and officials. This country survives on subsistence farming and as families are forced from their land they face starvation. The Coronavirus pandemic has made the situation worse as it has restricted access to food and health care. The UN says that 535,000 children are suffering acute malnutrition. We are raising money to help through our Covid fund: we are selling face coverings and hand sanitiser to raise funds, as well as receiving donations. We pray that the security situation in this country improves so that the people can return to their homes and rebuild their lives and in the meantime we will try to help them as much as we can. We have sent a further coach to Burkina Faso, thanks the the generosity of Acklams Coaches, which has gone to the ABC school in Bobo Dioulassou this time. This will provide much safer travelling for the children. We have also sent another container with educational and medical supplies as well as a minibus.
Sierra Leone is another West African country struggling in the current climate. They have build two new hospitals in the capital city Freetown and need vital equipment now. We have just sent a container of medical supplies, including beds donated by Accora Ltd, a UK manufacturer who has been making beds for the Nightingale Hospitals. When we were in Sierra Leone they really needed help and the new beds will be greatly appreciated. The beds that we saw when we were there were infested with bed bugs.
We are currently packing a container for Zimbabwe. This is to help supply Sanyati Baptist Hospital which is struggling with out of date equipment and limited supplies. Zimbabwe is in the lowest 50 countries in the UN human development index and has a maternal mortality rate of 458 (per 100,000 live births) which is 24th from the bottom, but we have not sent any containers there before, partly because of concerns of high taxes etc to get our container into the country. This container is being bought and shipped at the expense of charitable group that have contacts in Zimbabwe and will be responsible for all the costs at port as well. Hopefully they will have no problems getting the container to the hospital.
The borehole that was dug in Kalahi earlier this year is doing very well and we are now planting a mango orchard in this community.
God is our ever present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1
I hope that you are all well as the easing of lockdown begins in our country. Our shops are now open and our volunteers are working hard to sort out the donations we have received.
Our dry season projects in Ghana have been very successful and the beneficiaries have been very grateful for this opportunity to grow food outside of the usual farming season (the wet/rainy season) giving them nutrition and a marketable crop. Jacob’s Well Appeal, with your help, plans to support these projects for 2-3 years until they are well established and can thrive on their own.
Our partners will soon be starting the seedbank project again as the rains in Ghana have started and they will also be planting another 120 mangoes. It is hard work, as everything needs to be done as soon as possible to get the best out of the rains. Those who plant the earliest tend to get the best crop. We pray that the rains are good and the harvest plentiful. We have been planting mangoes for several years now and the first ones are starting to produce fruit. It is such a blessing!
Burkina Faso is struggling at the moment both with this pandemic and also insurgents coming on motorbikes into the country and shooting at schools, churches and hospitals – anything that they identify as ‘western’. Despite this, the people desperately need our help and I am so pleased to say that this has not stopped the medical centre in Banfora from being built – the second phase is almost completed. This will provide basic medical services for the most vulnerable people in society and physiotherapy for disabled patients. In Burkina Faso the cost of medical care prevents most people getting even treatable illnesses sorted out and if they survive they are often disabled and not able to work. This clinic will be free to those with no money and cheaper than the government clinics for those who can pay something. It is so desperately needed. It will also provide mental health services, which are very limited in West Africa. People with mental health issues are stigmatized and excluded from society. This includes epileptic patients. With suitable medication these patients can live a normal life within their communities.
We are planning to send another curtain-sider lorry to Moldova next week and our medical container to Uganda, which arrived at the end of April, has finally been cleared from the port, the delays due to coronavirus.
I pray that you all stay safe during this difficult time and thank you all for your support.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
I hope and pray that you are all safe during this difficult time of lockdown. Alistair is still working in Beverley 3 days a week sorting medical aid – our volunteers have all had to isolate and so he is safely on his own. We have received many offers of aid from the NHS and also from manufacturers including 200 beds. God is good even in this difficult time.
At the start of lockdown I was in Inverness babysitting my grandson so that my daughter and son-in law could both work. Now my daughter is on maternity leave and I am back in Bridlington. Meanwhile, despite our shops having to close and most of our staff are on furlough, Jacob’s Well Appeal has continued in its work and sent a container of medical aid to Ghana just after lockdown started.
Due to a generous donation from one of our supporters we have also been able to drill a borehole in Kalahi, a very poor village in Northern Ghana where we run a seedbank project. This will greatly help the community and we have also sent funds to plant mangoes in this area when the rains start –
– as well as sending funds to plant further mango trees in two poor communities that are desperate for help.
All our partners abroad are struggling with coronavirus and because of the lack of sanitation and health care they are really worried. There is no possibility of social distancing in these communities where people live day by day and have no financial security.
We also have had good news from Sierra Leone – they have received the tractors that we sent earlier this year. They are so very grateful for this generous gift from the donor and for all our supporters who make it possible for us to send this aid. You will also see they are looking smart in their safety clothes – we were able to send these after getting a large donation of this equipment which would otherwise have gone to landfill – all new and unused. We also sent medical aid for their health care clinic and educational aid.
I pray that God blesses you all and that you stay safe during this lockdown.