Gordon and Angela have raised enough money to sponsor teachers, build classrooms and provide school books for a community in Kenya.
Meet Gordon and Angela
Some people say charity begins at home, but it was a holiday in Kenya in 2010 that led Gordon and Angela to start their charity to help fund a school in a community called Kambe, around 25 miles out of Mombasa:
Angela: ‘At that time they had a small church with a tin roof, which looked like a cow shed. It wasn’t a school as we know it at all. The children had nothing really. The uniforms were in rags and they had one book between the class and that was it. Nothing else.’
That visit stayed with them, so much so, that two years later, Under the Mango Tree was formed;
Gordon: ‘People often ask us ‘why did you call it that name?’ and it’s because the children did literally gather under the mango tree for lessons, so it helps to tell this story.’
In the four and a half years since it was formed, the charity has raised around £60,000, with all funds going straight to the school in Kambe to help build classrooms, provide new books, pay for three nursery teachers, provide life-saving mosquito nets for the children, and much more.
Wherever possible, Angela and Gordon make sure the money spent benefits the local community as much as possible;
Gordon: ‘The church run some workshops for what they refer to as marginalised young people, which really means young people who haven’t been to school at all. So we got the desks made at this woodworking facility. For about £35, these young men get to learn woodworking skills and build a desk for two children, so it’s a proper win-win situation – young men get training and two children get a desk!’
Their involvement with the school quickly became a large part of their everyday lives, using their front room as an office, and travelling the country together giving talks about the progress made;
Angela: ‘We went back last year and the difference in those years to when we first went is just amazing really. In 2010, there were 90 pupils, but now there are over 300 pupils.’
Gordon: ‘You can see a real positive and tangible difference for what are really quite modest amounts of money.’
Angela: ‘What amazes us is how generous people are to us with gifts of money. People who’ve never been there, who don’t really see the situation in the raw as we do, and it’s our job to come back and share the story with other people and enthuse them as much as we can.’
Gordon: ‘Nothing is too small. ‘There’s no such thing as a drop in the ocean’ as Mother Theresa once said! All we do, however small it is, can be valuable.’
So where does all this energy come from?
Gordon: ‘I think it’s being busy all the time!’
Angela: ‘We’ve been very lucky in our life. We’ve got three lovely children who’ve had a good education. We went out there and saw how families live and how, despite everything, they remain positive, they remain happy and cheerful, and we felt we could do something to help... we don’t really see when it won’t be a part of our lives.’
Posted on 3 May 2017