Did you hear the BBC radio new report this morning? They quoted the statistics that in Africa over 1000 babies a day die within the first 24 hours of life. Many of these deaths are needless and could be prevented with the most basic of medical help. These statistics are so shocking and particularly emotive to those of us lucky enough to have just had healthy bouncing babies or even those few whose babies lives were saved early on because of our free access to medical services.
I always knew that life expectancy in the third world was lower than ours but when I took my young children on holiday to Mozambique a few years ago and learnt that infant mortality runs at 30% in the rural areas I felt we had to do something. Walking through the villages we were met by crowds of happy, smiling children – running around, excited that a foreigner was walking through their closed remote community. Little things only just able to walk were amongst the crowd, often with distorted bellies from malnutrition and dressed in raggedy clothes but so joyful and chatty. It was at this point that we decided our JoJo charity should make some real difference.
Wondering how we could ‘do’ something I met Amy Carter who, with her husband, ran a small local charity to give something back to the community around their eco beach lodge in the Quirimbas National Park. I loved Amy’s ethos and her holistic approach to charity; At Nema we enable the rural communities by assisting them with water, sanitation, health and education. We never give meaningless hand-outs. We don’t damage the local economy by giving away the ends of lines clothing we have at JoJo, but we will help local tailors with micro loans. We offer local employment, fund scholarship programs for secondary and tertiary education and we have built two primary schools. This small charity has achieved the best thing we can hope for, through healthcare, clean water and education we have seen infant mortality rates drop significantly.
As new mothers we have a passionate love for our children. I don’t think this love diminishes just because you live in another country. So we are proud of the work Nema does and we are particularly excited that Lisa Rose is joining the local team of charity 12 employees to manage the charity. Lisa’s salary, along with the bookkeeping and much of the fundraising is covered by JoJo. Amy continues to be the driving force in the charity she founded and we are so proud of what she and Nema with JoJo’s help, have achieved.
Lisa starts work in a couple of months. She is currently finishing off her very valuable job working on a mine removal project in Angola. Once she has settled in she has promised to send us regular updates on our charity’s activity.
Should you wish to get involved with Nema please let us know, but in the meantime remember that just by buying JoJo Gift Vouchers, you are helping to fund some worthwhile projects. 5% of all gift vouchers sold are donated to our charity fund. For more information on Nema, please visit our charity page.
X Laura Tenison