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Newsletter - April 2019

We are delighted to be able to bring you an update from our recent trip to Uganda in this newsletter.  Aimee, Yvonne and Clare (Blossom Africa trustees) spent a week in Uganda with our inspiring savings and loans groups, planning for the future with our project leads Jeremiah and Ezra and planning some new groups with our partner JENGA.


Aimee, Yvonne and Clare (Blossom Africa trustees) with our project leads Jeremiah and Ezra

The main focus of the trip was to visit our two existing savings and loans groups in Bunambutye. We had an wonderful time with them, we shared stories and celebrated their success. Feedback from the groups was incredibly positive, they have saved substantial sums of money which has meant that many group members have been able to take loans. They told us how the two-day VSAL training had given them knowledge and created strong foundations for them to grow and develop as a group. Having access to small loans has enabled group members to do a range of activities from paying school fees to buying chickens and goats and setting up small businesses.


Blossom A Savings and Loans Group


Celebrating the success of the two groups with the District Officials

From our discussions with the groups we learnt that life is still tough despite the improvements they have seen in the last year. February is an expensive month as school fees are due, this is also the time of year to buy seeds for planting. Many of the group members found paying the school fees much easier this year but did not have enough money left to pay for seeds. We therefore decided to reward the members hard work and dedication by purchasing seeds for each group member. This will make a huge difference to the individual members and their families and will enable them to continue focusing on saving and developing their livelihoods over the coming year. The seeds cost around £7 per person, which is such a small amount to increase food security for a whole family.


 The seeds arriving to be distributed to Blossom A & B


Jeremiah distributing the seeds

Our plan is to support each group for around 5 years with the hope that after the five year period we will see a significant improvement in the lives of the group members. For the two groups entering year two we have organised some training on improved farming methods, this will compliment the donation of seeds and enhance the knowledge and skills of the group members. We will continue to listen to the group members and react to their needs in a way that empowers them and keeps the ownership of their development with them. We saw how proud our group members were that they were able to pay school fees this year and we want to continue supporting them whilst ensuring that they are doing the hard work themselves!
 
The trip demonstrated to the trustees that Blossom Africa is making a real difference in the communities we work in. Demand to join a ‘Blossom’ group is high and there is certainly scope for us to grow and develop our programme further. We are therefore looking for some new donors to support our work so if you are interested in setting up a regular monthly donation then please get in touch by emailing Aimee on info@blossomafrica.org
We would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to those of you who donate to Blossom Africa and continue to support our work. Your donations make a huge difference and change the lives of people in the communities we work in.


The key holders from Blossom A unlocking the savings box

Other news
In March, 10 women from our groups represented Blossom Africa at International Women’s Day celebrations in Bulambuli. This was a big event for the women, they fully embraced the opportunity and had a great time celebrating this important day!


Women from Blossom A and B celebrating International Women's Day

The Blossom Africa team is growing – trustee Catrin Edwards welcomed another little boy into the world on the 6th March, mum and baby Gruff are doing well…huge congratulations to Catrin and her family!
 
We were delighted to be chosen as a recipient of Wales for Africa funding in the recent funding round. This grant will be administered by WVCA and will enable us to pay Jeremiah and Ezra for their work, to train up two new groups and to provide additional training to our existing groups. This grant  also supported our recent trustee trip to Uganda and some promotional materials which we can use to raise our profile in Wales. Thank you very much to the Wales for Africa team and the WCVA, this money will make a big difference to us and the communities we work in.

We are also still receiving mentoring of the Hub Cyrmu Africa team as part of their Advance Programme, their support over the last six months has been invaluable so thanks very much to the Hub Cymru Africa team!

Thanks so much for reading our newsletter and for your ongoing support. If you have any questions or would like to get involved with our work then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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