Refactory – Uganda

As trustees we are very pleased to be able to say that we have just donated £2,000 to the Refactory Program in Uganda and commited to a further £1,000 per annum.

The program was first set-up in 2018 as a partnership between Clarke University, Kampala and the IT sector. The vision is to build a Tech Sector in Uganda by training Ugandans with relevant skills. This should keep high paid IT jobs (and therefore students) in the country and help them to thrive.

The Tech sector offers a huge opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa given the worldwide shortage of skilled workers and the ability for remote working.

The Altor foundation was born out of the Altor financial services partnership and so we are always keen to support projects that have a focus on poverty alleviation through economic development.

The aim of support such as ours is to enable students to join the program without having to pay the market value of the training. So far 1,526 students have been through the program with 86% subsequently finding employment.

Local Fridge

The Altor Foundation was established to take 10% of the gross revenue of the main Altor llp business and to support international and local causes. We will often donate to causes suggested by our staff and also clients of the business.

Having given to Ukraine last month, we are back to a hyper-local donation this month.

We heard, through one of our clients, about the great work being done in Farnham by Hale Community Centre. In August 2020 they launched a Community Fridge & Cupboard to take surplus food from local supermarkets and distribute it to those in need. This tackles two issues that we are concerned about; food waste and local poverty.

We have made a donation of £1,000 to support the current fundraising towards phase 1 of an improvement project for the hall.

Ukraine

Along with most people in the UK, the trustees were appalled by the aggression shown to Ukraine. It is difficult to see what any of us can do to prevent what is going on but we can help some of the Ukrainian people affected.

At least 3million people have fled their homes to escape the fighting and a total of 4million are expected to be displaced in the coming weeks. These refugees are crossing into Poland, Romania, Hungray, Slovakia and Moldova in huge numbers and with very little with them.

The immediate need is for food, water, shelter and medical relief.

The Altor Foundation has charities that it regularly supports, operating in these countries but we have taken the decision to give money to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) instead.

DEC are a combination of 15 of the UK’s leading Aid charities and allocate donations between their partner charities according to which ones are on the ground locally and able to provide the most support. A large proportion of the money donated to DEC appeals is spent delivering aid on the ground.

We have made an initial donation of £5,000 to DEC and continue to monitor their fundraising efforts.

Microloans

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world with more extreme poor living here than anywhere else in the world. A disproportionate number of these are women who live without the infrastructure and resources to support themselves and their families. MicroLoan Foundation’s mission is to provide the poorest women in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the tools and skills to enable them to work their own way out of poverty. MicroLoan supports women because they believe that female economic empowerment is the key to alleviating poverty in these communities.

Photo Credit – Peter Caton

“Thanks to Altor Foundation, MicroLoan will can increase their outreach and help even more aspiring entrepreneurs to access finance and build a life outside of poverty.”

Palak – MicroLoan

MicroLoan’s programme is designed to be accessible and affordable for the poorest women who live far away from formal financial services, many of whom have had little education and own no assets. Over time the money they generate from their own effort helps to ensure food security, improve housing, access to healthcare, and an education for their children.

To read more about the great work of MicroLoan, visit their website here.

Bringing Hope

Following a recommendation from one of the partners of Altor Wealth Management, Vaughan Watson, we are pleased to have been able to support Hospices of Hope.

Hospices of Hope started work in 1992, providing hospice care in Romania. They have now expanded their work to Serbia, Moldova and Albania. All of these countries lack the kind of properly functioning health care system that we are used to having in Western Europe. Simple services such as end-of-life pain relief are unavailable to the majority who can’t afford to pay for it. Hospices of Hope’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people in South East Europe who are suffering from a terminal, rare or life-limiting illness.

We learned in nursing school that you are not allowed to sit on the bed with a patient and you are not allowed to touch, if they have a wound or a fever. So patients were really surprised when somebody comes and takes their hands, shares their grief.

Gabi Baila – First Romanian Nurse to work with Hospices of Hope

The best way to describe what this charity is doing on a regular basis is to show individual patient stories. Here is a story from a couple of years ago, featuring Robert:

In Memoriam

It is a privilege being a Foundation trustee and being able to give money to worthy causes. Sometimes the donations we make are in support of positive fundraising actions being made by partners and staff of the Altor business. In the case of our recent donation of £3,000 to the World Wildlife Fund’s Seagrass project it was in memory of a wonderful individual, Reuben Dossett. We lost Reuben far too early, in the spring of 2021, aged 19.

Reuben loved wildlife and our planet, he studied geography to better understand human impact on habitats and wanted to find sustainable ways to help our ecosystems. We have donated to the WWF’s project on ‘Planting Hope’ which fits with his aspirations.

Planting Hope

Seagrass is a wonder-plant that lives in shallow, sheltered areas along our coast. It is vital to the health of our seas and can help address environmental problems. Seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers 0.2% of the seafloor, it absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year, making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change. Seagrass is vital for marine life, which depends on the meadows for food and shelter. A 10,000m2 area can support 80,000 fish and over a million invertebrates. Seagrass is an important nursery for endangered wildlife such as seahorses, as well as many of the fish we eat, including cod, plaice and pollock.

In the UK, up to 92 per cent of our seagrass has disappeared in the last century. We’re working with Sky Ocean Rescue and Swansea University to bring these incredible underwater meadows back to life, by launching the biggest seagrass restoration project ever undertaken in the UK.

From tiny seeds great meadows may grow, and with them our hopes of a greener, cleaner future.

Harvesting Water

‘Two years ago when my husband died, a mountain of sorrows had broken in my family. From this work all of us have got so much courage. Together we will take care and clean this tank regularly, and clean and sufficient water will be available to all the family members in the house forever.

Laxmi Devi – Ranasar village 18th July 2021
Laxmi Devi

The trustees are pleased to report a recent donation to WaterHarvest. They are a charity working mainly in North West India putting in infrastructure to capture and filter rain water. It is crucial that people have access to clean water if they are going to keep healthy and be able to lead productive lives. We were pleased that our donation was matched by another foundation, thereby significantly increasing the impact of our giving.

We are immensely grateful to you for choosing us to benefit with a wonderful grant of £2,000, received into our bank account today. Thank you so much, this is greatly encouraging, so very generous and makes a real difference to us. Furthermore, it qualifies for matched funding by our long-term supporters The Four Acre Trust, which, together with our leveraging in India of 73% as outlined in my appeal, will multiply this grant to a significant £6,920.

Julia Seal – WaterHarvest

Teenage Cancer Trust

As trustees we were prompted to make a donation of £3,000 to TCT as a young person close to us was suffering from a particularly rare type of childhood cancer. Fortunately these cases are rare but for those seven teenagers diagnosed every day, the work of TCT is crucial in providing someone to talk to who knows what to expect and can guide and support them.

Social planner, activity organiser, listener, counsellor, abseiler, pizza deliverer, morale booster, comedian and friend. Our family will always be thankful…

Parent

Teenage Cancer Trust have the incredible aim of providing support to every single teenage cancer sufferer in the UK. They provide care and support to the sufferer and their family at what is always a very hard time for all. We were very pleased to be able to make this donation and were glad to hear that it made a real difference to the work of this charity:

Without your support, Teenage Cancer Trust would not be able to deliver the specialist support that young people need to avoid facing cancer isolated and alone.

Alison Nicholson, TCT

We See Hope!

The Altor Foundation is pleased to support We See Hope, a charity that supports women and children in Southern and Eastern Africa. They support children acutely impacted by lack of opportunity, isolation and exploitation by giving them and their mothers financial opportunities to support themselves. They are currently working in 147 communities across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

During Covid they have been focussed on:

Soap making in Kenya
  1. Teaching new income generating skills such as making face masks and soap, as well as continuing their existing programmes such as food gardens.
  2. Strengthening child protection structures through their community volunteer network to make sure that ‘at risk’ children such as those who have dropped out of school are identified and supported.
  3. Advancing their Village Investors Programme (VIP), which sets-up self-funded and regulated savings and loans groups. It also provides training in financial and business skills.
Maintaining existing food gardens Kenya

It is fair to say that we love the VIP scheme as it helps some of the poorest people in the world to develop the skills they need to financially support themselves and their families. It fits well with the financial education part of our supporting business Altor Wealth Management llp and meets one of our charitable objectives of supporting the poor to support themselves.

VIP meeting in Zimbabwe

To put the Altor Foundation’s support into context, £3,000 is enough for 100 parents to be part of VIP. Based on data from VIP, we know that on average every member cares for three children, meaning your gift is enough to support at least 300 children at a time when building economic security in households is more critical than ever – thank you so much.

WeSeeHope Head of Fundraising – Katherine Chelsom-Pill.