A short note from our CEO, Tracey:
The amazing woman on the left of the image above is a dear chum, Sophie McLachlan from neighbouring Charmouth. Along with her family and a dedicated team, she runs Awaken Love for Africa, a charity that funds an orphanage called The Gideons in Western Kenya. The screenshot was taken from a video update on their Facebook page, which I thought you might like to click here and watch.
Over the last few months, our team at The Word Forest Organisation and Sophie’s team at The Gideons, have heard startling accounts of how lockdown is affecting our brothers and sisters living on the frontline of climate change in Kenya. The conversations we’ve had, sharing news of our respective communities and their struggles, have helped us both to galvanise strength in our missions – we’re not going to let this global pandemic beat us.
I received the video update in Sophie’s newsletter this morning, the stories they share are heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. Our team take their hats off to this fabulous Dorset charity who also share our love of planting trees and education too. They work hard enough under normal circumstances to feed their children and over 70 staff. Now, members of other communities from miles around are coming to their doors, day and night, desperately hungry and struggling to survive. The Gideons are doing the only thing they felt they could do: opening the cupboards to feed them too.
Bless them all at The Gideons: my word, I understand how depleted of funds it’s leaving them. You’ll know from our recent videos, we are doing the same thing. With your incredible support, we’ve been able to provide critical food aid to around 1,500 members of different tree planting communities in 4 areas across Kenya, kindly distributed with assistance from Eva, Michael, Cyprian and Solomon.
Every time we send a chunk of funding over, I’m very well aware, it’s nowhere near enough money; the need is far wider than we can provide for. It takes all I have in me to feel ‘OK’ about what the charity has managed to do and not fall into despair for what we ‘haven’t’ managed to do. It seems like five minutes ago, when we were busy commissioning tree planting and new permaculture food forests, now our primary focus is helping to keep starvation at bay – we’ll get back to everything else as soon as it is safe to do so.
That said, we are planning for a greener future. Lockdown will end, we will get back to fulfilling our usual remit of planting trees, building schools, facilitating education and supporting women’s empowerment and I cannot wait for that day to come. We have several incredible projects to mobilise, all of which will provide more food and water security for our friends in Kenya and of course, rip tonnes of CO2 and other pollutants out of the atmosphere too.
One of our forthcoming projects is a collaborative effort between The Word Forest Organisation and The Gideons and Sophie and I are so excited about it. The continued love and support you’re giving to both of our charities will benefit many hundreds of beneficiaries and our planet too.
On behalf of our trustees, staff, volunteers, corporate partners and individual supporters, may I extend an oversized thank you for keeping Word Forest going through these challenging times and my love and admiration also goes to the supporters of The Gideons.
We will not close our doors.
We will not give up our tireless quest to make the world a better place.
We will be forever grateful for your belief in our vision.
Bless the whole bloomingly gorgeous lot of you.