All for want of a toilet! We need your help!

Creative Support has a strong commitment to encouraging staff and service users to raise funds for other charities both locally and nationally. Last year everyone’s efforts raised an impressive £7167 for our corporate charity, WaterAid, as well as a range of others including: the DEC Haiti Appeal, George House Trust, Help for Heroes, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Children in Need, Marie Curie, British Heart Foundation, Bliss, Breast Cancer Campaign and the Prostate Cancer Charity.

This year we would like to top even that amazing amount! As well as selecting a new corporate charity we will be identifying specific charities and charitable projects to raise funds for.

The first of these has already been identified following a trip made by staff member, Alison White and her Creative Support jute bag to Botswana, which was reported in our news story published on December 1, 2010. It wasn’t all travel, relaxation and crocodiles, they also visited the Samochima Pre-school and were alerted to an urgent need for funds!


The Pre-school is in the very small village of Samochima in north west Botswana. Although it is in the Okavango panhandle and not far from one of the permanent channels of the Okavango floodplain, it is also on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and when the rains are poor all there is to see is sand, donkeys and straggly acacias with vicious thorns (see the photo in the gallery below).

The Pre-school was set up by the local community to give their children the best start in life they can and has nearly 20 young students. The parents continue to support it with what little they have without any assistance from the government as the school does not fulfill the requirements to be registered as an official pre-school. Amongst other things, this means that the teacher does not receive a wage, but survives on what small amount the community can afford to contribute.

To put this in perspective, very few people in Samochima are formally employed and if they are, £40 per MONTH is a good wage! Some have land on which they grow hardy crops as best they can, most have a few goats or cows, some are members of a fishing cooperative, some go into the floodplains and cut reeds to sell for fencing and thatching, others rely on money coming in from family members who have moved away to find employment, … It is a very poor area, so if the teacher receives £10 per month, she is doing well.

A local expatriate artist, and friends, painted the pre-school to make it a happy environment for the children, but of all things, it is the lack of a simple TOILET that is preventing registration! Well, one and a half toilets actually: for government registration they must have one latrine for girls and one for boys and currently they have one partially constructed pit latrine – their builder took their money and ran without finishing the job! Yes, it happens the world over!

The completion of the existing toilet and construction of another will cost just £500!

If we manage to raise more funds than that, it would go towards rebuilding the climbing frame and swing, which as you can see in the pictures are in a very sad state. This would not cost a large amount as it would be constructed locally in the same style as the one shown at Belega Bana Early Learning Centre in Shakawe, using readily available materials, such as damaged lorry tyres for swings.

So maybe not a glamorous start to our fundraising year, but one that could benefit a lot of children and their entire community for years to come!

Additional Note (7/3/11): we are really pleased to find that we are only the newest supporters of Samochima Pre-school and Phred Newbury has been working with Women’s Institutes, Probus, Rotary and Friendship Clubs to raise funds for the Pre-school. The members of the Pershore Rotary Club are particularly active supporters and have made significant contributions over the years, including a new roof, twice! The first was blown off in a storm. With all this fundraising the toilets and climbing frame are covered and we will be able to contribute even further to the lives of the children of Samochima by paying for the teacher to receive essential ongoing training!

If any members of staff, service users, projects or services would like to raise money to help Samochima Pre-school or would like to contribute directly, please contact Alison White or another member of the Marketing Team at head office: marketing@creativesupport.co.uk

If you have a suggestion for our corporate charity or a charitable project that we could support sometime during this year, please send the details to the Marketing Team.




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