Many people give to charity or raise funds with sponsored events, but one Standard Bank employee has gone a step further by eating just one bowl of porridge a day, the same as an African school child, in order to raise money and awareness.
Standard Bank sponsors Mifumi Primary School in Uganda which gives an education to around 700 boys and girls. The bank provides funds to buy much needed equipment, and has also sent staff out to visit the school and assess its needs. Some of those staff are now on the fundraising committee of the Channel Island based charity.
Karen Tiplady, Head: Operations, PBB International, read about the charity and wanted to do something to help, ‘I was surprised to find out that most of the children had just one meal a day and that this was provided by the school – a simple bowl of porridge. We are so lucky in the West to be able to have easy access to food so I undertook a seven day porridge challenge, eating just one bowl a day the same as the children.’
Karen enlisted the support of her colleagues, some of whom joined her in the porridge challenge for a few days, ‘I was overwhelmed by the pledges from friends, colleagues and family, and for their support. It wasn’t easy. The hardest part was the aroma of food all around me, but there were three things that kept me going; firstly that I could stop at any time, but the kids in Mifumi don’t have that luxury; secondly I can fill my hunger void with as much clean, fresh water as I want, which again they can’t; and thirdly being able to say that I had exceeded my target and the money I raised was going to feed the whole school for a whole term.’
It costs £1,023 to feed the 682 children at the school for a term. Karen raised £1,450 by successfully completing her seven day porridge challenge.
‘As an African bank our roots are in the continent, but living and working in the Isle of Man we are a long way away. It is wonderful that our two communities are able to come together through the Mifumi school charity, and that we as individual staff members can each play our own personal part in helping these underprivileged children get an education as well as a bowl of porridge a day.’
The recent IOM Charity fun football day also raised money for Mifumi school, splitting its £2,000 raised equally between the African charity and Manx Cancer Help. Standard Bank staff are also being encouraged to donate a day’s wages to the charity, which the bank will match.
Twelve years ago the Mifumi Primary School in Uganda barely existed. It consisted of a thatched hut and most of the children were educated under the shade of a tree. There were no facilities, few qualified and experienced staff, no electricity and no clean water. The school has gone from strength to strength with new purpose built classrooms, improved teaching facilities and a new Head Teacher and dedicated staff. The school is now attended by nearly 700 boys and girls and is a beacon of hope in rural Eastern Uganda.