12:00PM, Friday 02 February 2018
New ambassadors are being sought by a group dedicated to improving the lives of a disadvantaged community in east Africa.
Partners for Change Ethiopia has its registered address in Cambridge but has strong links to the Cookhams, where a raft of fundraising events are planned for 2018.
Its ambassadors met in Cookham Rise on Friday to discuss their efforts this year.
There are now 36 junior and senior ambassadors from the Cookham villages, aiming to improve education facilities and provide women with business training in the village of Gende Tesfa, on the outskirts of Dire Dawa in east Ethiopia.
The community of Gende Tesfa is sometimes shunned because of its association with leprosy.
Every family there has been affected by it, but only some in the community have it.
Some of the ambassadors have seen first-hand the conditions they live in.
PFC Ethiopia has both adults and children among its ambassador ranks and they meet regularly to consider fundraising efforts. They have been supported by pupils at Holy Trinity C of E School, School Lane, Cookham.
Speaking of the joy she gets from her involvement with PFC Ethiopia, Sarah Parfitt, a parent at the school, said: “The mums in Gende Tesfa have taught me so much about gratitude and resilience.
“Despite facing immense challenges in their daily lives, such as struggling to feed their children, sanitation issues and the stigma of leprosy, these women still find a reason to smile each day and have such an amazing, positive attitude.”
Fundraising activities last year included Pennies for Change, where pupils at Holy Trinity collected coins over Lent and donated them, and Spring Clean for Ethiopia, where clothes were handed over to a company that pays for apparel.
Both activities will run again this year and are open to the whole community.
A triathalon and football matches are also planned.
The money goes to projects such as ‘woman2woman’, which provides business training and loans to women in Gende Tesfa, which is then repaid and given to others.
On Friday, ambassadors met the charity’s director Pete Jones at Costa Coffee in High Road, Cookham Rise, to discuss the progress of some of those women. One had managed to improve her small living area with her business success.
PFC Ethiopia plans to fund 100 more mothers this year.
Another priority this year is to get a breakfast club, which feeds school pupils in Gende Tesfa, running again.
It proved to be a success but more money is needed to bring it back.
Visit www.pfcethiopia.org for more information.
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