OUR INTEREST IN FIRST STORY and why we
wanted to get involved …
Children in challenging social and economic circumstances face clear educational disadvantages –it’s a fact we all know about. Low literacy levels in children are often linked directly to low achievement in later years. But by using the power of creative writing workshops, UK charity First Story is raising the levels of confidence and self-belief amongst deprived youngsters. We came across this charity recently and just loved what they are doing – in fact we loved it so much we have co-funded an author to work in a tough state school with some great results. We feel this is a really deserving UK based charity to support. Read more about the fantastic work they are doing …
How First Story works
First Story places acclaimed authors as writers-in-residence in challenging secondary schools across the UK. Throughout the academic year, each writer-in-residence leads a weekly creative writing workshop for students and teachers. At the end of the workshops, First Story publishes a professionally produced anthology for each school and helps the schools host book launches at which the students read their stories aloud to friends, family and teachers. The impact is enormous. Not only do students develop a deep love of language and an enjoyment of reading, but they learn real self-belief and confidence of expression through the process of creative writing. This in turn transforms the outlook within the schools and filters through into the wider community, further enriching the lives of all those around them.
The schools which First Story focuses on are those in which, according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children index, more than 50% of the pupils are considered deprived and where GCSE results fall in the lowest third of the national distribution. Secondary schools where children qualify for free school meals, live in tough areas and have really difficult lives.
With more than 32 residencies already in place in schools in London, Oxford and Nottingham, First Story is planning to expand to two new hubs, Bristol and Bradford, as well as to further grow the programme in the East Midlands.
"You hope to instil the most constructive sort of self-belief … to help young people to find their voices and to know that their voices have value. For teenagers, especially, these are important gifts …” William Fiennes, First Story Co-Founder"
First Story has arranged for students to undertake prestigious work-experience placements in the media and publishing. The First Story Summer residential as well as the First Story Festival provides further opportunities for young people to attend writing workshops and inspiring talks hosted by established writers. In addition, students have read their stories at the Oxford Literary Festival and won the Wicked Young Writers Award and the Foyles Young Poets of the Year Award.
"First Story is a very exciting idea. Having been a teacher myself, I know how the writing – real writing, not the artificial exercises produced for tests and examinations – can liberate and strengthen young people’s sense of themselves as almost nothing else can”. - Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials"
We regret that all our options for supporting new charities are exhausted at present. We are delighted by our achievements in Mozambique and in the UK where as an exception we supported First Story this year.
However, whilst we cannot offer financial support to any other charities at the moment we continue to support amazing philanthropic projects across the UK.
Here are some examples of the many projects undertaken by our teams and supported by JoJo:
JOJO CUSTOMER SERVICE RAISE MONEY FOR RED NOSE DAY
Our lovely Newport Customer Service team have set themselves a challenge to cover the distance of Hadrian’s Wall, 73 miles, using a step machine and treadmill. They will be running, walking or skipping throughout the week and hoping to complete the trek on Red Nose Day wearing Onesies, while continuing to resolve any Customer Service issues they collect on the way.
You can follow us and make donations by clicking here
Apologies to any JoJo customers who hear a little panting in the background as they discuss their orders with us! Final result of our teams amazing efforts was a donation of £352.40 to charity. Well done all!
THE THOUSAND PRESS-UPS FOR NEMA
For the next 100 days, JoJo’s finest fitness fanatics will be enduring the 10,000 Press Up Challenge to raise money for Nema, our in house charity.
From the 4th March 2013, eleven Newport staff will attempt to complete an average of 100 press ups a day each, to raise as much as possible.
The challenge sees each participant completing their press ups in their own individual ways – either all in one go before work or spreading them out throughout the day. The gruelling challenge will end on 11th June 2013 ! Their target is to raise lots of money for Nema which will go towards school scholarships.
BRAVEHEARTED AND WARM HEARTED
Ian, our IT manager joined by some of the teams from our stores jumped out of a plane at 2000 feet – all for the our charity Nema, raising hundreds of pounds in the process. They braved the weather and the elements and had pretty scary but exhilarating time, raising hundreds of pounds in the process.
We regret that all our options for supporting new charities are exhausted at present. We are delighted
CHESTER LOOK AFTER LITTLE HEARTS
Our Chester team have donated discount vouchers and sent a raffle prize to our Chester Breastfeeding Friendly group who held a coffee morning event for Macmillan Cancer. They also want to start fundraising for the Little Hearts Matter Charity which supports parents with children who have or have died from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
We are happy to donate raffle prizes to baby related charities local to our stores. Our lovely girls at JoJo in Reigate arranged a prize for the Reigate High Street Playgroup, which helped them to raise £1,284 this christmas.
RAFFLES GALORE FUND SCHOOL PLACES
Cathy, from our accounts department is a demon at fundraising. She collects and hoards unwanted gifts, special offers and lovely presents all season then has a mega raffle at the next team party. She regularly raised about £200 for Nema, our charity based in Africa and has purchased desks for the JoJo funded school as well as helped to fund scolarships for some of the secondary school aged children who need to move on and go to boarding school.
Our objective is simple; to become a model of excellence for working with rural communities to help them to relieve their poverty and protect the environment they rely so heavily upon.
One of the unique aspects of Nema's work is intimately understanding each community we work with, enabling us to address their most pertinent problems first.
Our projects are generally piloted in Guludo village, Northern Mozambique and then expanded to their surrounding communities.
Nema uses the following strategies in its planning and implementation of projects:
- Tackle all roots of poverty working in; Health, Water, Education, Enterprise and Environment.
- Be run by members of the community creating community ownership.
- Predominantly focus on women, the primary caretakers of children to ensure that babies and children are the first to benefit from our work.
- Work with local government while following and supporting national policies.
Although a preventable and treatable disease, malaria is the number one child killer in Mozambique, killing 125 children every day...
Using insecticide treated mosquito nets can reduce child mortality by 20%. This season Nema will purchase and distribute 1000 malaria nets which are given to all pregnant women and those with children under 5 years old who are the most susceptible to dying through contracting malaria. The women will take part in workshops to ensure they understand the importance of preventing this killer disease and what to do in the event that their children do contract it. Fatima, one of the long-standing Nema project workers is the co-ordinator for this training and reports a direct drop in the number of local malaria related child deaths.
As well as combating malaria, Nema is also working on a variety of health and hygiene projects to spread awareness and give assistance to issues such as HIV/AIDS, mother and infant care and hygiene and sanitation. HIV awareness and education is really important and Nema has been working hard to inform the population via funding theatre work shops. In 2011 all 12 villages in the region had the local troupe visit them giving a crowd pleasing version of a very funny educational play on the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV through unsafe sex. In an area where there is little local entertainment, these plays gather huge crowds. Our Nema worker, Manuel, is great at organising these popular local events, using the local amateur actors he put together and trained.
We are considering the option of building a new health centre in the area. Currently sick people have to walk many miles to reach a health centre and infant mortality is still running high. Death during childbirth is a regular occurrence and the new health centre could save many lives.
There is so much more we could be doing to combat the high levels of infant mortality. Every penny donated goes to helping babies, children and the local population on the ground.
Orphaned and Vulnerable Children
JoJo was responsible for funding an Eid present (the local equivalent to a Christmas present) for all the local children who fit into this category. The present included some small practical items rather than toys which are not usual in places of subsistence existence. The children were so happy with their gifts which they will treasure in a way we can only imagine in the UK. We continue to take an interest in these children who are generally looked after by extended family but can be neglected when there is often not enough food to go round. Rema, our Nema project leader, takes particular care of these little ones, offering them the love and attention they miss by having lost their own parents.
Less than 20% of children complete primary school...
Before Nema started work, less than 1% of children went on to study at secondary school and less than 20% completed all 7 years at primary school. The underlying reason being the prohibitive cost and the need for children to help gather food.
Nema has attempted to counter this problem by funding projects like our School Feeding Project which is seeing fantastic results and a growth in attendance rates. This year there were over 803 children receiving a nutritious meal and regularly attending classes – which is an amazing improvement.
In 2011 we are funding about 127 local students with full scholarships to study at secondary school. JoJo is responsible for about 80 of these scholarship, but we need more funding to help more children go on to school. To qualify for a scholarship the children have to do really well at primary school. They work so hard and it is tragic to have to turn anyone away. To see a video from one of our scholars please click here. We would also like to fund some vocational training to encourage more local children into nursing or crafts.
Last year we completed the building of the new primary school in Guludo the second school, fully funded by JoJo, in Ningaia is under construction – albeit rather slowly!
Five yers ago, around the area where Nema concentrates, less than 50% of the population had access to safe water and the majority of pumps were in disrepair.
Every day over 6,000 children die world-wide from diseases caused by drinking unsafe water.
Nemahas completed 28 new or rehabilitated water points and pumps in 12 villages, resulting in the provision of clean water to over 12,000 people, but more are needed.
Each village that benefits from a new or rehabilitated pump sets up a water committee via the village leaders.
Water Committee Training
All 12 water committees have received training in 3 water workshops, focusing on managing their new and existing water points in respects to maintenance, Mozambican water policy and diminishing the spread of water born diseases.
Many more water pumps need to be repaired or installed and are awaiting much needed donations.
Nema are encouraging existing and budding entrepreneurs to develop their ideas...
By far the majority of the population are subsistence farmers or fishermen. In addition, many villages have small shops, tailors and blacksmiths.
Over the last couple of years we have helped to establish various craft groups in the region. Together with other donations, JoJo has funded the building of a craft centre in Guludo Village as well as a kiln and workshops. Guests at Guludo Beach Lodge are able to buy some of these products when visiting the groups in Guludo Village.
How you can help
You can help by...
- If you would like to donate NOW you can do so via Virgin Money. Your complete donation will go to Nema. Click here to donate online.
- If you would like to download our donation form to set up a direct debit or send a cheque, please click here. A donation of just £100 will sponsor a child for a year at secondary boarding school. A donation of about £6 will provide a mosquito net and training to a pregnant woman or young child.
- Buy JoJo Gift Vouchers, knowing that 5% of the value will go straight to the charity. Click here to buy gift vouchers for friends.
- Encourage your nursery or company to adopt Nema as the company charity, knowing that 100% of the donations will go to helping those on the ground. Please contact Laura Tenison on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss.
- Support a school feeding project - this is a fabulous way for a company to get directly involved with Nema, for about £6,000 per annum you will be responsible for giving a healthy nutritious meal to all the children who attend your specifically allocated school.
- Support our other fund raising ideas or events which are advertised from time to time on our e-newsletters. To subscribe to our e-newsletters, please click here.