Thursday, March 7, 2013
Many thanks to Shaun Gisbourne, Atheen Spencer, Rupert Williams and Erika Medene, who are the latest people to kindly donate to More Than a Game's Sierra Leone Appeal. We want to raise £1000 so that we can send 40 Sierra Leonean children to school for a year. They will also get the opportunity to play football for one year in the excellent Craig Bellamy Foundation League.
The running total is now £420. Click here to read more about the appeal and/or to donate.
Saturday, February 16, 2013 (Day 38)
This is what i have learnt about Africa:
Things that seem impossible are usually possible. Anything seemingly straight forward and achievable usually isn't. The homework club didn't get the green light. Plans to watch one of the girls' teams today have been scrapped. Famarta is late for the first time since I moved in and breakfast is at 8.30 rather than 7, meaning that Alasand and me have had to postpone our early morning climb of Wusum Hill.
I am determined to achieve something with my day so I decide to spend five hours online pushing the charity fund I have set up, mostly through Facebook. Michael Finch, a good mate of mine that I met in New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup is the first person to donate to the fund. He is quickly followed by my very close friend of many years, Graham Foster, who has done plenty of fundraising himself over the past couple of years to raise cash for a cerebral palsy charity. In my head I made a bet that the first person to donate would be Graham or Michael. The third person to donate is Lindsey Younger, a girl I went to school with and haven't seen in nearly two decades, making it all the more amazing that she should so kindly choose to help me help these kids.
After an hour or two of uploading blogs that I can post early next week and posting photos of Africa to raise awareness, I suddenly get two fantastic emails in the space of ten minutes. The first is from a close family friend, John Mottram, who donates a whopping £50. Thank you John!
Then I do a double take as I read my email from GivenGain telling me Alan Davies has donated £100. The last time I saw Alan was in 2003 when he came to stay with me in Kofu, Japan, where I was teaching English. Alan was on cloud nine when I met him that day because he had just discovered that he was to be a father. I remember us getting very very drunk and when I put Alan back on the train to Tokyo, where he lived at that time, we were both quite a state. I get straight on to Facebook to send letters of thanks to all of the above and Alan almost immediately replies from the United States, where he now lives. He tells me has been following my blog closely and "It is the least I could do." We then briefly catch up on what is going on in our lives and I discover Alan has two kids as well as ten thousand bees! It is incredible to think that my old school friend is chatting to me in Sierra Leone from the USA. We both remark about the differing directions our lives have taken. I hope to see Alan when he visits the UK in late spring.
And so I leave the MJ Hotel on top of the world at the news that i have already raised £230 in the first 48 hours, and that is from just five friends. Amazing. If you are reading this, please help us to hit that £1000 target and pay for forty kids to go to school for one year as well as to play football in the super Craig Bellamy Foundation league.
Friday, February 15, 2013 (Day 37)
I cannot wait to see my girlfriend. It will have been 70 days since I last saw her when we meet in Tirana next Saturday. Far too long and one of the reasons I have often felt home sick here, despite hugely enjoying much of my time in Sierra Leone.
We couldn’t get the go ahead from the education ministry in time for today’s homework club at SLMB school so I decide to take advantage of the couple of free hours I didn’t expect to have by beginning my packing and cleaning out my bedroom at the house.
I don’t know why it is the case but today has been shocking for people asking me for money. On the whole kids only occasionally ask you for food. Maybe one kid in an entire day asks you to help them with cash. This Friday I must have been asked by more than a dozen kids as well as three adults. As much as I’d like to slip these kids a few leones it just isn’t appropriate. If I give them money then they might think it is the norm to ask foreigners for financial help and end up begging on a regular basis. This can’t be allowed to happen.
Today I set up my More Than a Game fundraising appeal on GivenGain. The target is to raise £1000; enough to send 40 kids to school for a year and guarantee one under 12s and that same team’s under 14s side football for a whole season. In other words, every person who donates £25 is sponsoring one child for an entire year. I am determined to raise this cash in the next 90 days and I hope some of you who follow this blog will follow the link below and consider donating something to help these Sierra Leonean school kids improve the quality of their lives and give them the education that will enable them to build a future for themselves.
Read about the More Than a Game Sierra Leone Appeal here
Saturday, February 2, 2013 (Day 24)
The coach of Real Stars, Mohamed A Kamara, invited me down to do a guest coaching session with the boys, which I really enjoyed. Real Stars are one of the four teams in the Craig Bellamy Foundation league that don’t currently have a sponsor for this season. For approximately £1000 (1200 euro; $1600), 40 boys could be sent to school for 12 months and the costs of the under 12 & 14 teams (including kit, first air, water etc.) could be covered for the same period, including their participation in homework clubs and community projects.
For those of you who know More Than a Game and regularly follow the blog I ask that you might make a contribution to help this website raise enough money for Real Stars FC’s boys, or indeed any of the other three teams in Makeni who do not currently have sponsors, to go to school for one year.
More Than a Game has created: ‘The More Than a Game Sierra Leone Appeal’. If you are willing to contribute towards the boys and the girls (a girls’ league begins in March) then please click on the link below which will redirect you to More Than a Game’s fundraising link on the GivenGain website.
The money raised goes straight into the Craig Bellamy Foundation bank account and will enable 40 children to go to school for a year; to become involved in community projects and homework clubs; and it will also enable them to play football in this fantastic league for one season, with some of the cash going towards paying the coaches, buying kit and first aid kits and providing water on match days and training days.
Effectively if you give £25 or 30 euro or $40 you will guarantee one child all of the above for a year. The football is a huge part of the kids’ lives but it is the provision of education which is most important. Thank you for any help you can give.
Donate to the More Than a Game Sierra Leone appeal
More Than a Game joined The Collective and the Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone for a two-month voluntary placement in January 2013.