Registered Charity No. 283579
Caterham Overseas Aid Trust (COAT) is an ecumenical local charity with volunteers from St Mary’s, St John’s, the URC and the Sacred Heart churches working together with members of the local community to raise money to support carefully selected projects in the developing world. We finance simple, down-to-earth aid projects which are aimed at improving quality of life and use the maximum community self-help. We aim for our projects to become locally sustainable and we work through recognised non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We aim to donate £3,000 annually to each of our four main charities: Water Aid, Self Help Africa, VSO and Practical Action.
All the money raised goes directly to the projects and we have no administration expenses. We have a long period of time to report on this year with the postponed PCC meeting but I will start on the previous year when we had no idea of what was ahead of us! It was a very successful year, lots of enjoyable fund-raising events – Pub Quiz, Saxophone Quartet and Wine Tasting – along with all the usual events such as the Caterham Carnival, the Rotary Fete and our Street Collection. Without doubt our most successful fundraising event each year is the Churches Christmas Appeal. It starts off the New Year so well and gives us great encouragement in what we are trying to do. This is the perfect opportunity to thank you all for your support and generosity. It is a delight to have Revd Canon Trevor Mapstone on board. He is entirely responsible for us being lucky enough to have the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt. Revd Jonathan Clark, as our new Honorary Patron so we are very pleased about that.
So far in 2020 we have not been able to hold any actual events – and who knows for next year? However, we have had £1,000 raised entirely by the making and selling of face masks by our new Committee Member, Frances Loveless from Caterham URC.
We do have an online cheese tasting planned for October and we will have the Churches Christmas Appeal in December. All charities are suffering and, sadly, overseas aid is the poor relation. Why, I find it hard to understand. Surely in the 21st Century, everyone should have access to safe water, sanitation and food to eat. The one promise we make to you is that all our funds go directly to the chosen project, always accountable, we take no expenses ourselves. We may be small but you are all helping to help some of the poorest communities have what we take so much for granted ourselves.
So, what are these projects? (More details in our twice-yearly newsletters.)
Practical Action – we are supporting the construction of a Sand Dam, one of four being built in draught-stricken Zimbabwe. Through a very generous legacy from a long-time supporter we are able to cover the cost of most of this by adding our £3,000 for a few years till the project is completed. When done, almost 30,000 people will benefit.
Self Help Africa – as well as our ‘Give to Grow’ project in Teso, Northern Uganda, we have sent an additional £1,000 for the COVID-19 pandemic appeal in Malawi which is providing 72,000 bars of soap, masks, gloves, jerry cans to store and transport water, sanitary materials plus basic hygiene training. S.H.A. received the £1000 mask enterprise donations in addition to their usual £3,000.
Water Aid – they are constructing 15 gravity flow water systems bringing clean water and sanitation to 6,000 in the Dolakha region of Kathmandu, Nepal.
V.S.O. – we always support two volunteers. At the moment, Sarika Prathapan, a neonatal nurse in Ethiopia and Wilma de Jong, a financial adviser in Tanzania helping local people to set up small businesses providing basic training in accountancy, loans etc. Undoubtedly the pandemic has affected all work and time scales but everyone is doing their very best.
When funds allow (i.e. when we have raised the £12,000 to cover our regular commitments), we also support Sightsavers, C.H.E.C.K, the Leprosy Mission, Tree Aid, Tools for Self Reliance, and SCOM, a small school in the slums of Nairobi. None of this is possible without you so thank you for your continuing support.
(Treasurer and St. Mary’s representative)