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Good Gifts

Your gift can provide education or training for women who missed out on school because of extreme poverty or war, or equipment and micro-credits to enable subsistence farmers and their families to grow more food, or process their crops and increase their value. The prices quoted below reflect what it actually costs us and our partners to deliver the gift and keep you informed of progress.

†a) Talking Watches & Education for the Blind

Four scenes from the School for the Blind in Kabala (in the north of Sierra Leone): school building; drawing water; main classroom; sleeping accommodation. What else is there to say? There is no specialist teaching equipment nor desks for the students.

A talking watch costs just £12 ($20), and it can open the door to education for a blind person and create opportunities for a more fulfilling life. Just imagine how you would get to classes on time if you couldnít see and didnít have a watch, and no-one around you could tell the time. This is the situation for the blind women attending our learning circle in Makeni in the north of Sierra Leone.

To provide a blind woman with non-formal basic education and functional literacy costs us £180 ($300) a year -- this includes a talking watch and lessons in Braille, and it pays for the hire of ĎHondasí (motorbikes) to take learners to and from their learning circle. This is not cheap, but as the old saying goes: ďif you think education is expensive, try ignorance!Ē

The photos to the right show four scenes from the School for the Blind in Kabala (in the north of Sierra Leone): school building; drawing water; main classroom; sleeping accommodation. What else is there to say? There is no specialist teaching equipment nor desks for the students.

b) Tools & Seeds for Subsistence Farmers

Twenty pounds ($35) will provide a hoe and a rake for a subsistence farmer in Sierra Leone -- someone who is actively involved in one of our learning circles. £30 ($50) will provide a bushel of rice or groundnuts to plant. The beneficiaries will pay back the rice/nuts after the harvest into a seed bank, with interest, so that the seed can be redistributed in the next growing season -- and surplus can provide food and opportunities for others too.

c) Keep Blind Children off the Streets

Ali Martin and Hawa (Vision for the Blind) presenting a blind student with a portable type-writer.

Forty pounds ($65) will provide a second-hand portable typewriter for a blind student- such as the one that is being presented to Emmanuel by Ali Martin and Hawa (Vision for the Blind) in the photo. £250 ($400) will pay for a someone like Emmanuel to attend secondary school. It will meet school fees and pay for a talking watch, tape-recorder and a typewriter. Without an education blind children face life on the streets as illiterate beggars, and thereís a worse fate for many blind girls.

†d) A Voice for the Disabled

A gift of £40 ($65) will enable Vision for the Blind to make a half-hour radio broadcast and help debunk widely held myths, such as the view that blindness is contagious.†Regular broadcasts by the group are helping raise awareness of the plight of the blind and disabled and challenging public prejudice and ignorance. They also encourage blind people and carers to get in touch. This is particularly important for the newly blind, who are in despair and often suicidal.

e) Help 'Dig for Rats'

Women learning to read and write in Sierra Leone say itís like digging for a rat: when you start itís hard work and you donít know what youíll find; but then you see the ratís tail and the digging gets easier! £50 ($80) can provide a woman with a yearís education so that she can learn to read, write and count, and also understand how to protect her family from illness and disease.

It costs £150 ($250) to set up a new learning circle and provide a wall clock, two blackboards (one for slow learners, another for fast), lamps and benches, and slates, chalk, pens, note books and readers.

f) A Bicycle for a Teacher

A bicycle is a most treasured possession for the men and women who are facilitating our learning circles in Sierra Leone. With a bike the facilitator can go quickly around the houses to tell the women that the learning circle is about to start. (Very few women can afford a watch.) This may include travelling to neighbouring villages. A bike costs £70 ($120).

g) Start Up Kit for Small Womenís Cooperative

Providing an education for women who havenít been to school is important. But being able to read and write does not of itself buy food and medicines and pay school fees for your children. The women dream of setting up a small business to supplement their meagre family income and becoming more economically independent. It costs £350 ($550) to buy a start-up kit for soap-making, gara tie-dyeing, weaving or basketry for a group of women and provide them with the necessary training and follow-up support.

A machine to process cassava costs more, but it can benefit a whole village. Producing cassava flour (Ďgarií) is a laborious business involving hours of hard physical work (the root has to be peeled, grated, pressed and cooked -- the plant contains poisons that must be removed before it is safe to eat). Moreover, hand-produced gari is of much lower quality than that produced by machine and fetches a lower price in the local market. A gari processor and generator to run it costs £1,750 ($2,800).

These are all practical things that you can do to help others help themselves and Make Poverty History.†Your contribution can make a real difference. Thank you!