Happy Christmas from CPA

This time last year, when we were thinking about the year ahead, I dare say none of us would have remotely guessed what was in store for us. It has been a truly momentous year and one that we will never forget.

Although we have previously witnessed events and outbreaks that have had a devastating effect around the world, we have never seen anything like Covid-19, which has affected the entire planet.

So many things here have changed. Long established habits of working in an office for instance, have gone and many people will carry on working from home. Well known shops and businesses that have been with us for over a hundred years have disappeared.

At CPA we have been challenged to work in a different way. We have relinquished our office space and Rosey has become involved in the day to day running of CPA from our office at home. Although this means that Aimee and Rosey have to work remotely, it is working well, and they make a great teamThis has allowed us to cut back significantly on our UK costs.

One positive thing that has happened, is that it has allowed us, as trustees of the charity, to have more direct contact with you, our supporters again, and to update you regularly on things that are happening on the ground in Africa. As a result, we have decided to discontinue our six-monthly newsletters for now, and to communicate with you as we receive news and new stories from our partners.

Africa has not escaped the virus and, even though the reported death toll is far lower than in Europe, the lives of ordinary Africans have been dramatically affected. Schools and businesses have been closed and personal freedoms restricted. The added difficulty has been the absence of a social ‘safety net’. Unlike here, people laid off work have to find any way they can to survive and support their families.

This is why the food parcel schemes in Uganda and Ethiopia have been so essential. For many of those 500+ families they have been a lifeline and it’s hard to express how desperately they were needed. We are so grateful for all the support that you have given to enable us to facilitate this. Of course, the need continues, and we will carry on, with your help, supporting those in need, some with additional food supplies, and others with seeds or equipment that can help them plant for the coming season.

Our social workers in Rukungiri have been busy helping families in need. They have been working under fairly tight Government restrictions but have visited all of the families where children are part of the School Scholarship Scheme at St Paul’s School. We are busy preparing updates on the children who are supported by our sponsors and hope to get all those updates sent out in December and January.

Julius, our project director for the Komamboga children, is in regular contact with the children and their families. City life has brought its own economic challenges for many of these families but, with your help, we have been able to provide a safety net for them to help them through this very difficult time.

Beletew Mengesha, from Voice in the Wilderness Development Organisation is overseeing our Covid relief programme in the Rasa Goba region of Ethiopia. It involves providing emergency food supplies to vulnerable families, but also has a strong focus on helping local clinics by providing PPE, such as gloves, gowns, and face coverings. We are also providing educational materials and hosting community meetings to provide health and sanitation advice. When you hear the Band Aid single over Christmas time please spare a thought for Beletew and his team working in these communities.

We are so grateful for your support during this difficult year and look forward to keeping in touch with you over the next year. One thing is for sure, there will be no shortage of things for us all to do.

With best wishes for a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Chris, Rosey, Paul, Raymond, Richard and Aimee