Alan Wolstencroft came to our meeting and gave a presentation on the work he does with GAGA.........Goodwill and Growth for Africa UK.

In 2005 after attending the Rotary District Assembly and after seeing a 10 minute presentation on Mercy Ships, he decided to join a volunteer group and "spend 11 days in Sierra Leone and make a real difference". Sierra Leone is a country slowly recovering from civil war the majority of the people live in huts made from stick and tarpaulins and water has to be carried from stand pipes.

He joined Rotary Mission Challenge to build the Rotary Hostel of Hope at the Aberdeen Fistula Clinic on 1st October 2005. The hostel was completed on 23rd May 2006 and provides accommadation for ladies to stay in between surgeries. It has a maternity ward and training facility on the ground floor and is now run by a charity called Freedom from Fistula.

In November 2005, Alan visited Christian Hope School, a school with 240 pupils aged betwen 3-16 years. Pupils were crammed into classrooms approximately 50 to a room, furniture was basic and there was neither running water or electricity. The conditions he encountered and the Sierra Leone rule of "No uniform, no shoes, no school" encouraged him to go out and collect used school uniforms and shoes from schools in Warwickshire and send them to Sierra Leone to ensure that any many children as posssible receive an education. Since 2007, Alan and his team have built and equipped a 6 classroom extension and an open plan assembly hall at Christion Hope and a four classroom community school near the International Airport.

Alan was appointed a Trustee for Goodwill and Growth for Africa UK in 2008, this position gave him other projects to be involved with, namely in Kwa Zulu Natal (South Africa). He is working alongside Rotary Clubs in Natal and they have built an 80 sq.m. accommodation block at Ithembalihle, a small rural orphanage which currently houses 26 children. They have set up a community garden, introduced chickens and rabbits to supplement their food and help with the running costs of the orphanage. and the education of the children. They also support other community, educational and medical projects in the local area.

Alan's talk was inspirational and a oak tree certainly grew from the acorn, the 10 minute presentation on Mercy Ships that he attended way back in 2005.

For those of you interested, for Alan's email address click here