Tuesday, December 13, 2005

From our Princesses in Nepal.

Think of them as they tackle a week of examinations.

To learn more about Nepal.

A Ray of Hope Jewellery Collection

A Ray of Hope

UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace.

Farhana, at our request, kindly agreed to design an A Ray of Hope collection
of jewellery. This is non profit making for either Farhana or A  Ray of Hope
but it is another very important aspect of what we do. The amber stone
represents our "ray" and the 6 strands symbolise the 6 schools that the
original 60 children came from.

A Ray of Hope Jewellery Collection




Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hospital Supplies.

Thank you to Des and the team for the provision of a substantial amount of
specialist operating theatre supplies and accessories.

Nepal and Romania

Nepal and Romania

Thank you to Pictorial Charts Educational Trust - monies for the Metta
Centre, Nepal arrived safely : also a safe arrival of the financial support
to refurbish a classroom and purchase new door and locks for classroom in

Thank You

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Thank you to Heaton's Ireland

Thank you for the generosity of Heaton's Ireland - Lurgan and Dublin for
their continual support. Their fleeces have arrived safely in Romania and
now adorn children who might have be much colder this winter if had not been
for them.

To learn more about Ireland: Ireland.

Newsletter from Nigeria


Welcome to the November update from CAWDnet - working in Nigeria and the UK
to make the most of digital technology. This newsletter contains details of
several achievements that we can really celebrate!

In this newsletter we cover:

1. CAWDnet becomes 'A Ray of Hope'

2. Teachers' Talking Group re-unites across the internet

3. Fundraising boost for Kaka Support Scheme

4. Kabissa puts spotlight on CAWDnet

5. Make your Christmas shopping work for CAWDnet [UK readers]



The 'A Ray of Hope' project has invited CAWDnet to become its Nigerian
partner. This is great news for us because it increases the range of people
who are aware of our activities. It also gives us access to some new

A Ray of Hope has appointed Pam as their volunteer advisor and liaison
person for Nigeria. She will tell them about the realities of rural Nigeria
and pass on news from CAWDnet's partner organisations.

One of the first tangible benefits from this new link is that A Ray of Hope
will assist CAWDnet Convenor Pam McLean to visit Nigeria again in the new
year. Pam will organise a children's art competition on behalf of A Ray of
Hope and take out educational posters and other materials for schools , as
well as carrying out work for CAWDnet.

A Ray of Hope is linked with UNESCO ( the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organisation). More information is available from
<outbind://91/> (which includes a link to
CAWDnet on its front page) and



Our last newsletter announced plans to celebrate the first anniversary of
the Teachers Talking ICT course. We're delighted to report that the event
went ahead on Saturday 19th November.

David Mutua and his colleagues put in a lot of work to make the re-union
happen. Invitations were delivered by motorbike to teachers who participated
in last year's course (there is no other reliable means of communication).
Using a combination of email and Yahoo instant messaging David and the
teachers at the Fantsuam Foundation in Kafanchan were joinedby Don McBurney
of A Ray of Hope based inNorthern Ireland, CAWDnet Convenor Pam McLean in
London, Peter Burgess of Tr-Ac-Net in New York and others.

Discussion topics included:

* the relevance of ICT in developing countries

* the problems of running computer systems in Nigerian conditions

* the development of cheap and robust computers specifically designed for
use in Africa

* the resources (posters and books) that teachers needed in order to support
their ICT lessons

Afangmusa summed up the views of many when he said "The relevance of
computers in rural areas can not be overemphasized. The problem is the
poverty level, skilled personnel for maintenance, power supply and so on.
All the same, in this world where communication is so fast and important we
need computers and ICTs in the poorest places one can think of."

Many of the teachers pointed out that it was expensive even to access
computers at cyber-cafes, let alone buy their own machines. If computer
ownership is to spread computers need to be affordable and instalment
payment schemes are essential. CAWDnet has launched a fundraising drive to
support its work with teachers - please see how you can contribute in
Section 6 below.

To find out more about the event please contact Pam at or take
a look at the CAWD Teachers Talking Archive - email: to register.



Previous newsletters have reported on the Kaka Support Scheme. Urban drift
and the effects of HIV/AIDS have eaten away at the extended family system in
rural Nigeria. Many older women face hunger and poor accommodation at
exactly the time in their adult lives when they are least able to cope with

Kaka means "Grandmother" and the Fantsuam Foundation's Kaka Support Scheme
targets the most vulnerable older women in its area. The scheme provides a
very basic allowance (200 Naira or about UKP1 each month) and free medical
care to eligible Kakas.

Of course the scheme needs money to continue. Fantsuam supporter Funmi
persuaded her colleagues at Maxwell Publishing to donate UKP124 to the
project on one of their "dress-down" days. Workers could wear whatever they
liked in return for a donation.

John Dada of the Fantsuam Foundation said in response:

"As we now have 30 kakas on our books, this money should see us through the
next three months if numbers stay the same. We have a waiting list of
prospective Kakas, but we have to grow slowly to ensure that we can cope
with what we have. Many thanks to Funmi and her colleagues at Maxwell

All the kakas are widows over 65 who support at least four grandchildren
aged under 15. The extra support and help offered through the scheme really
makes a difference.

You can read more and make a donation at



Kabissa is a well-respected United States based charity. It assists African
charities and societies to use the Internet. Among other things it hosts the
mail server used to send you this CAWDnet News Letter.

Kabissa works with hundreds of organisations but selected CAWDnet to feature
in the MEMBER SPOTLIGHT section of its recent newsletter. Here is a sample
of the article:

"CAWD is an information channel - linking the Internet and grassroots
community development networks in Africa. The rural poor are the experts in
rural poverty. We believe that Information and Communication Technologies

(ICTs) should enable the voices of the rural poor to be heard in debates
about development issues and that they should have sufficient experience of
ICTs to be able to join in informed debate about potential applications and
their value.

"Within CAWDnet there is considerable cultural diversity and mutual
mentoring. Our ICT use is largely about people trying to find ways to work
together effectively - acting locally and thinking globally in ways that
were impossible before ICTs came on the scene."

You can read the full article, containing more details about CAWDnet's
history and activities at

(If you cannot easily click on links because you have a slow Internet
connection please email to request the full article as a plain
text email.)



If you live in the UK and shop over the internet you can help CAWDnet,
painlessly. CAWDnet has teamed up with to offer
access to over 130 of the UK's biggest and best-known retailers. Up to 15%
of your purchase price will be donated back to CAWDnet free of charge.

It doesn't cost anything extra to shop this way. Many popular retailers
participate including Dell, Amazon, HMV, Virgin, Currys, Comet,,
ChoicesUK, Direct Line, Esure, AOL, M&S, Expedia and The Carphone Warehouse
amongst many others. It's not just gifts - you can sign up for broadband,
shop for insurance and book travel tickets too. Just click and register at

Why not support CAWDnet by using this free fundraising service when you shop
online? Any transactions you carry out will be with the retailers themselves
and not with CAWDnet so all the usual security measures and protection
applies. Register before 14 February 2006 and you will be automatically
entered into the website's competition to win an iPod Nano or Amazon

If you prefer simply to give a straightforward donation please make your
cheque payable to 'Charity for African Welfare and Development' and send to
CAWDnet, P.O. Box 321, Bromley BR1 1UB. CAWDnet employs no staff in the UK
and virtually all our administration costs are absorbed by our volunteers.
This means all external donations go directly towards projects in rural

We are currently raising money to support our work with teachers.



Thank you for your interest in and support for CAWDnet's work. Please
contact Pam or Jon with your news, comments or queries. And please pass this
newsletter on to anyone else you think may be interested in what we do.

If you are not currently a subscriber you can subscribe by emailing:

To learn more about Nigeria:  Nigeria

Uganda, Belarus and Romania.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


A big thank you to Helen for supplying a substantial amount of material for
the tailoring club in the Kabbubu Library Community. Sent today for

Belarus and Romania
Miscellaneous supplies sent.

To learn more about Belarus:  Belarus
To learn more about Romania: Romania

To learn more about Uganda: Uganda

Congratulations to David Wardrop -Chairman- and the Executive Committee

One hour ahead of schedule, the UNA Westminster website has gone live at
UNA Westminster Branch London

Within a fortnight, we will augment this with photos of the St Paul's
Cathedral service and crypt reception.

Kind regards,
David Wardrop, Branch Chairman and the Executive Committee, Rudi Albesa,
Nilesh Parekh, Paul Mrazek, William Say, Katherine Hughes, Bianca
Madison-Vuleta, Michael Rossi, Prince Buer Aryee, Catherine Pluygers, Niki
Furneaux, Patricia Rogers, Carol Brooksbank with co-options, Dave Crookenden
and Peter Greaves, to be formally confirmed on 20 December. 

All the above
were elected at last night's Annual General Meeting

    "Cultural Diversity is Enrichment"    

Network of Peace Initiatives Uganda.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Network of Peace Initiatives Uganda.  

Dear Don, You should be wondering why I have been somewhat silent. I cant explain sufficiently the business. As we approach the close of the year, am finding it too demanding to meet all these deadlines.

I, however, thought it good to break the lull.   I will send the updates on achievements as advised by you for the web as soon as immediately.   The Peacemania, was out successfully and we have circulated it in various participating schools. The response is indeed overwhelming. Our biggest challenge has been the resources but the future now looks promising.

We thought it better to host it differently and link it to the NPI site. I have talked to various individuals in that field and  I was wondering if you could be in the know of some volunteer to do the designing such that we can do the hosting. It is the designing we have found demanding since there are few web designers here. I have already discussed with various service providers and the rates of up to 2 GB space are not that overwhelming.

I thought I could have sent you the electronic version of the newsletter but my information technician has been away and he had not yet converted it to PDF for easy file attachment.   I will keep you updated and thanks for all the efforts to build peace in this world.    


Ulster Star Northern Ireland.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Kabbubu Uganda

Kabbubu Uganda

Our thanks to GMAC RFC for their substantial  support towards the Kabbubu Library Community Project, Uganda.

Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

His Holiness The Dalai Lama
20 November 2005.

 Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast
( report back to Georgetown University US)


As our first day in Belfast draws to a late close, I am still absorbing the impressions of the first day of the Way of Peace.  Our day began only hours after landing in Belfast, and after a hearty Irish breakfast, we commenced with the preparation of the day's first event. 

The Dalai Lama arrived in the hotel at roughly 10:15 am, hand in hand with Fr. Laurence, gracefully climbing the mezzanine steps.  He was greeted by the Ray of Hope Choir, a group of talented Irish youth, affiliated with UNESCO, who welcomed His Holiness with a series of songs and a Celtic blessing ringing of hope, faith, and a call for reconciliation in a land troubled by years of strife. 

His Holiness displayed his characteristic glee and unconditional happiness with a shining smile that never hinted of jet lag.  As I struggled to fight my waves of tiredness, I couldn't help but be awed by the Dalai Lama's freedom from such an ordinary human complaint.  After sharing a few words with the enchanted children of the choir, he listened intently to a few speakers from the group, who presented gifts and warm welcomes to the Tibetan visitor.  The event was a simple yet powerful opening to this three-day "Way of Peace" initiative, an artistic demonstration of the themes of dialogue, peace, and reconciliation that will pervade these next few days.

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.


Sunday was a very special day for A Ray of Hope having been bestowed the unique honour of being in the presence of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The choir performed twice for The Dalai Lama, he was then welcomed and presented with peace lilies, prayers and writings, and a small dossier on our friends in the Metta Centre, Nepal. The choir performed a final time as he left their company. The Dalai Lama's serenity and aura enveloped all in his presence and few could not have experienced the inner warmth that emanates from him.  


BBC News


The Dalai Lama is set to address a Community Relations Council event at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on the second day of his Northern Ireland visit. It is the second visit to NI for the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader following his first trip in 2000. The 70-year-old will also officially open the headquarters of Mediation Northern Ireland in south Belfast. He was welcomed to the city at the start of his three-day visit on Sunday by the Ray of Hope school choir.


Irish News


...... but before that he was serenaded by the Ray of Hope choir made up of children from a number of Northern Ireland Schools. The Dalai Lama was presented with gifts, which he returned by blessing white Tibetan scarves called katas and giving them to the children.  

more to follow

The Times of Tibet

 The Times of Tibet


Welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama after the musical presentations, Don McBurney, Director of A Ray of Hope, said,  Then as always we are at the command of His Holiness who may or may not speak to others. All I will advise is that you allow the presence of His Holiness and his serenity to embrace you. A Ray of Hope is a UNESCO affiliated youth NGO that aims to profess the belief in the international development of a culture of peace.

Later in the day, His Holiness visited the Corrymeela Centre.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  

His Holiness The Dalai Lama bestowed a unique honour today on A Ray of Hope by allowing the children and teachers to be in his presence. Many more photographs to follow and a full report on our experiences. In the photograph members of the choir present to His Holiness lilies of peace as an acknowledgement of a shared ethos.

Moldova and Romania

Moldova and Romania

Today a substantial amount of medical and pharmaceutical supplies for example crutches, Zimmer frames, toiletries and sanitary items left for Moldova and Romania. The photograph shows pupils from Largymore Primary School assisting to load the lorry with the items collected.

Reverend Simon Reynolds

Friday, November 18, 2005

Reverend Simon Reynolds St. Paul's Cathedral  

Dear Don, "It was tremendous having A Ray of Hope here in St. Paul's, and I shall wear your sweat top with pride. It will remind me of a very happy and inspiring day. Do keep in touch and I hope it will not be long before we can welcome you all here again. with every blessing Simon

Schools Congratulated

Schools Congratulated Following London Service. Northern Ireland  

Lisburn City Council is to send a letter of congratulations to local schools involved with A Ray of Hope choir. This was proposed at the October meeting after the Mayor Councillor Jonathan Craig described the recent event in St. Paul's Cathedral to mark the 60th anniversary of United Nations. Mr. Craig said the local youngsters had "done our city proud". He also explained that as well as singing one of the Lisburn pupils, Matthew Cooper, had spoken in front of the huge congregation which included the Queen as well as dignitaries from abroad. " For a boy of 10 he did Lisburn proud"



William Stukeley Church of England Primary School and A Ray of Hope   

Dear Don, Thank you very much for all your help with our project for helping the school in India. Your parcel arrived here safely on Monday and we have written a letter and enclosed photos and sent it on it's way. I am so grateful for all your help and encouragement with this project and I will certainly be recommending to my school that we continue to work on an occasional basis with A Ray of Hope. All the best for the future,              Margaret  

6th October, 2005 ( Hi there. We had a super service in our local church and collected £100 from the parents in the collection. We would now like to use this money through the goods you can provide to help the school I described to you. What would be our next step? I know it's not a huge amount, but of course anything's better than nothing and we can aim to build on that amount in the future. Thanks for your help in all of this    Margaret)

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Ray of Hope , UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace.  

Following the recent performance of A Ray of Hope in St. Paul's Cathedral when the choir sang for Her Majesty the Queen : they  have been asked to perform this weekend for His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

"A Ray of Hope" Jewellery Range

"A Ray of Hope" Jewellery Range  

Today Farhana finished the design on the first piece of "A Ray of Hope" jewellery range. This is not a profit making venture but more a promotion of our ethos which Farhana has kindly agreed to assist with. Mobile telephone charms and more to follow.


London Rt Hon Michael Howard QC MP  

Best wishes and thanks received from Michael Howard - Leader of the Conservative Party.

“Teachers Talking (about ICT)”

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

“Teachers Talking (about ICT)”
An anniversary.
A Ray of Hope
UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace




On Saturday November 19th a group of teachers in rural Nigeria will be joining in an unusual celebration.  The occasion is the first annual reunion of the Teachers Talking (about ICT) Group


Most of the teachers come from schools without electricity and with few books or resources of any kind. Despite this, in 2004, they asked the Fantsuam Foundation (FF) Community Learning Centre (CLC) for a training course so that they could “Know Computer”. FF director John Dada turned to A Ray of Hope’s Pamela McLean, to design and deliver the Teachers Talking (TT) course. The course was held

in November last year Teachers wanted a follow up course, but funds have not permitted that. The reunion is to assure the teachers that they have not been forgotten and to help them maintain their ICT knowledge and confidence. 



TT was built around modules now known as the “No-computer computer course” (NC3) – featuring work relevant for teachers to do back in their schools. The teachers also had practical experience of using computers, which included joining the TT online group – hence an online element to the reunion.  The TT online group was set up before the course started. Thismeant that when the rural teachers went on the Internet, they discovered they were part of a small, but vibrant, international online learning community - a community which came online to welcome and support them – and to learn from their experiences.



The reunion will be led by David Mutua, CAWDnet coordinator in Nigeria. (CAWD details ). New and old friends of the project will be affirming their continuing links with the teachers. Pam, who lives in the UK, is looking forward to going online during the reunion. (Pam’s email is  Omo Olaiya -  an expert in Free and Open Source Software – will be making a first visit to Fantsuam to meet the teachers and explore what ongoing support he and his students can offer. A Ray of Hope will be announcing an art competition for children, which could lead to ongoing support for local schools.  


This event is not a high-tech leading-edge technology demonstration. It is a reunion, simply celebrating people’s ability to collaborate and communicate through available ICTs. It will be a flurry of yahoo emails as course participants log on to ancient refurbished computers. Greetings will flow. Fleetingly these rural teachers will be in contact with friends and colleagues across the digital divide – friends who, in various ways, are working with the teachers, and for them. Once again, briefly on November 19th , the rural teachers will be actively included in a “connected community” on the Internet. 


UK National Commision

Saturday, November 12, 2005

UK National Commission for UNESCO.


    The UK National Commission website is now online at It has a wealth of history, culture, education, science and much more. If you have a UNESCO event we will forward it to London for inclusion in their diary of events. Don



Drawings from our Princesses in the Metta Centre Nepal. Although the drawings are delightful it pleases us even more to know that in school they are excelling. 4 are first in their class, 2 or in the first division, 1 is second, one fourth and two fifth. We - I look forward to their next reports the way any father would.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Miscellaneous. International

Today was one of a few new contacts being made all of which will add somewhat to what we are already attempting to achieve. On a more concrete base.


Educational posters, resource material, teachers' lesson plans now begin their journey to India


The money that was guaranteed for the refurbishment of the classroom in Romania is on its first banking leg.


Similar finances now on the slightly longer journey to Nepal to assist with the upkeep of the Metta Centre for "our princesses.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Romania - I wish this to be published not to appeal for your assistance but to enlighten you about the thoughts and conditions that some of our friends have to endure. We will of course assist and we have the resources to do that already. I had heard about this young boy after he gave away one of his coats to a child who had none. His home has been visited and all he states is correct. For now we will name this young lad "Hope" and in the near future we will allow some of his Christmas wishes to come true.

PS ............ and yes I had a tear in my eye



Kiss your hands , sweet dear Mrs Laura Ionescu ,

I didn’t think that a simple letter for Santa Claus will bring me so many gifts from you , from your friend from Unesco and from the others .Reading what other members wrote on our forum ,I just wrote there what I would like to receive just as a symbol without guessing what will be next .

Huraaaaaaaaaay ! Santa will come to me full of gifts too ...

Every single child wish to receive many but all I would like to receive is a schoolbag(rucsac )and a pear of warming boots for this winter , a pear of boots so I can walk without getting my feet wet because the snow or rain , and a warming jacket .My mom bought a jacket from a Second Hand Shop but none of them is good for winter and I m feeling cold with them .

I m going to school very clean and nobody from there even guess my financial situation andI would not like them to find because some children and teachers are mean and would laugh about me .

As you already know , my mother has diabetes and she needs a special diet , special food to eat .To buy her what she needs i started to work after hours for a neighbour , to clean his house and yard , to paint his walls .To paint his kitchen and bathroom he was giving me 500 000 lei ( 16$ ) but I caught a strong cold and i had high fever so my mother didn’t let me go for few days .She was against working from the first place because she said I’m just a child and children not suppose to work .She said I m just a child and I would have all my life to work.

So i thank you very very much because thanks to you and your friend i will receive something from Santa Claus too as every other normal child .

I wish you all the best in the world and many many health .

 (name removed by Don


Dear Laura Ionescu ,
Excuse my late answer to your second letter but I just arrived to that internet coffee where I am allowed to stay because once in awhile I make cleaning .
I was thinking again and again how and what can I write you and to the others who implied to help me and my mother .Thank you very much because you were thinking about us and want to offer me and my mother some more beautiful winter celebrations than the other years .I read on the forum that you and other few ladies want to bake some cakes for us .You can not believe how happy u make me because my mother didn’t eat a cake from long long time ago .
What can i tell you about my mother?Only that is very very ill , she has many diseas and she s losing weight everyday.The doctors cant explain why she has so many problems as she has and they said that the illness she had doesn’t justify this thing .On the left side, face , hand , arm , are swollen and under her arm appeared something very strange and painful to her ( tumour).From what i understood from my mother and my grandmother s discusions , I think is very very bad .She could make medical investigation to find once for all what she has but , as you know already , this cost a lot and we don’t have money .I would do anything possible to help my mother but not to give interviews or appear on tv because I am too shy and I would lose myself .
What my mother needs? Health !!!This is all i want for my mom .She is a very modest person and she never wanted something special for her , she wears modest clothes but clean ones.I wish i could take her to a good hospital and make all the medical tests she needs to make .I wish I could buy a pear of nice boots to put them under the Christmas Tree but you know , I am afraid that she would not have enough time to wear .
Is so much pain in my soul but is more in my grandmother's soul because my mom is her only child who survived till now .She had other two sons who died and my mother is the only child she has now and is very ill her too .
I was heard about Unesco and Rays of Hope but i didnt know what it is in fact so i searched on Google .It is very big .
Please , can you send my greetings to Mr.Don and thousand of thanks because he was impressed by my story and he wants to help me .I m not good in saying or writing nice words and i think that are too less anyway to show what i feel now .Can you talk in my place , please?I dont know you face to face or personally but I already feel you close and i am sure you have a good feeling soul .A lot of flowers for you !

Yours , (name removed by Don)

A Ray of Hope.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Our thanks to Joanne for this wonderful photograph taken by her over Belfast and epitomising A Ray of Hope.

A few extra photos from St. Paul's Cathedral.

1. St. Paul's Cathedral

2. Matthew and Stephen eye up Her Majesty The Queen's and Duke of Edinburgh's chair for size.

3. Sir Patrick Cormack addresses those present in the Crypt of St. Paul's

4. David Wardrop demonstrating the fit of his new sweat top - pleased with his membership of A Ray of Hope

Ethiopia, AHEAD.

Today we welcome into the fold  of A Ray of Hope Elfneh, Chairperson and members of "AHEAD". I am convinced that we will be of mutual benefit in assisting the children and adults that they care so much about. Shortly plans will be made to see how we can journey together to help those who need it our help.  


Who are Action for Health, Education and Development (Ahead)?

Ahead is a UK-based charity devoted to research, raising funds and initiating projects aimed at combating poverty, reducing health, education and development inequalities in southern Ethiopia, particularly in Gujii Zone.


  • Ahead was formed in November 2004 by the request of the Gujii people and their leaders to address their marginalisation and disadvantages. <o:p></o:p>
  • The charity is registered as a company limited by guarantee No. 5320294 in England and Wales. Ahead’s registration as a charity is underway.
  • The organisation is managed by trustees including a chairperson, secretary, treasurer and members of the executive committee.


Monday, November 07, 2005

    Today we were quite successful in our endeavours.  

1. Large quantity of fleeces and related clothing sent to Jordan.

2. Basic educational supplies on its way to Serbia.

3. Small finances to Nigeria for the purchase of art supplies.

4. Toiletries to Romania.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Father Tony Senno

Sierra Leone



Today I had the privilege of meeting Father Tony Senno. A very dedicated man who cares enormously about the education and conditions in Sierra Leone. Tony has been quite a prolific writer on the cultures, moral values, beliefs and aspirations of the people he has ministered to, particularly Sierra Leone and the Philippines. I am convinced that we will be able to assist him in his endeavours. Tony is being supported by Dessie Pedon in Northern Ireland and it will be through Dessie we will be able to supply Tony’s communities with educational and medical supplies.

Welcoming a new affiliate.

Farhana's Jewellery United Kingdom.  


Each day A Ray of Hope seems to take on a new aspect, partner or affiliate and today is no different. Today Farhana's jewellery company have affiliated for friendship though she will have a surprise for the female members of A Ray of Hope shortly. More information to follow. Link to jewellery on our home page.

The Ulster Star

Northern Ireland's Ulster Star
Carries A Ray of Hope's story in pictures.
Our thanks to the Editor David Fletcher and his Staff for their support.

Thanks received.

10, Downing Street
  Thanks and best wishes received from the Prime Minister and Mrs. Blair

Current Projects and Status.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Current Projects and Status:



1. Nepal


 Finances required for the welfare of “our princesses in the Metta Centre.  (4 months   requirements now sent)  Piya


2. Romania.


Fleeces needed for school.  (Sent today)   Laura


3. Romania.


Finances needed for refurbishment of a classroom. (Guaranteed)  Laura


4.  Serbia.


Basic educational supplies – pencils, erasers, rulers needed.  (Obtainable)  Melanie 


5. Uganda


Finances needed to produce new scenery for the Carrier Pigeons  Dance/Drama/Music group.  (75% achieved)  Vickie.


6. Sierra Leone.


Awaiting word, will be updated soon. Aminatta


7. India.


Educational posters required.  –Obtained- (To be packaged and posted to England for  onward delivery)


8. Jordan


Fleeces and similar needs for 60 children.  (75% achieved)  Paige.


9. Belarus.


Cameras needed for the schools to display and promote their work in the School for Art and Music and School for Diagnostics and Development. (Guaranteed)  Don.


Dance and Music supplies needed for School of Art and Music.  – Obtained- (Will be hand delivered in March/April.)    Don


10. Nigeria.


 Trophies and Medals for school competitions.   (New Today)  Pamela.

Charity for African Welfare and Development

Pamela McClean, CAWD, Nigeria.
Charity for African Welfare and Development.


It is a great pleasure to welcome CAWD ( pronounced Card ) into the fold of A Ray of Hope and also that Pamela McClean has agreed to be our liaison and advisor for Nigeria.

CAWD brings together local knowledge of problems of African Welfare and Development with knowledge and resources from the wider community. It uses the Internet to bring the two together to enable change. CAWD's vision and strategies spring from the challenges and opportunities of this century. 

·      The Internet

·      Digital technologies - computers, phones, TV, radio, cameras and suchlike 

·      Inequalities of provision and opportunity  

·      Media channels enabling the rich to know more about the poor and the poor to know more about the rich

·      New opportunites for communication and collaboration - across continents and across cultures

·      The need for new approaches and solutions to the problems of African Welfare and Development 


Already planning has commenced to organise educational supplies deliveries, art and sporting competitions.


Jordan sends Thanks

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paige Kimberley


Thank you so much. I have attached the letter for Heaton's Ireland. The school and the children will be absolutely delighted. One of the most remarkable things that they said was, how could their own country ignore them when another country wanted to help. This is such an important time when different religious groups are trying to widen the gap between the East and the West, to show that we all do care and can all work to a common goal.Don, I have now two people in Jordan that are helping facilitate this work.

Take care and thanks again,


Fleeces for Romania and Jordan.

Thank you to Ms Carol McAleese Heatons Lurgan and Heaton's

On behalf of the children in Romania and Jordan and A Ray of Hope could I thank Heaton's, Lurgan and Heaton's Ireland for their continuing support. Due to their generosity many children in Romania and Jordan will be a little warmed this forthcoming cold winter. Photo 1 Ms. Carol McAleese General Manager Heaton's Lurgan Photo 2 Fleeces for Jordan. Photo 3 Fleeces for Romania Photo 4 Heaton's Store Lurgan. Don

Seguya's Plan.

Monday, October 31, 2005

A Ray of Hope and Kabubbu Community Library partnering with the
youth in Uganda

UNESCO Youth  Ambassador

For the culture of Peace



  1. Develop a Reading Culture, in “Read that Book"
  2. To develop a habit of Saving, in “Save that Coin, Save that note" 

 Eleven Reasons why you should Develop a Habit of Saving


Any financial investment is a result of saving. Saving equals investment

  • In both short and long-run, saving creates financial security necessary for your prosperity
  • Saving ensures you a bright financial future
  • Only saved money can save you from borrowing, and ensure you own your finances
  • Sooner/later, you’ll find that the ray of financial hope for a young man/woman who has no rich family background lies in saving some of the money that gets in his/her hands
  • Saving shall always be the number one step to take to eradiate poverty
  • Saving will help you develop other habits necessary for success
  • Saving will help you handle any emergencies that would otherwise blow you out if you didn’t have ready money
  •  Opportunities of success have a habit of flying right to those who have developed a habit of saving
  • Saving is a sacrifice, and it can convince you that you can handle any challenges you may meet in your life
  • Any other you can think of
  •       Save a certain amount of all money that gets in your hands. Even out of 100/=, you can save 50/=
  •        Start now, you can’t drive until you start your car. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll drive



Ten Reasons you should Develop a reading Culture



Reading widens your scope of knowledge, as well of wisdom

  • Reading improves the creativity of your mind
  • Reading will help you discover and/develop your talents and skills
  • Only when you read shall you be able to effectively lead others. Great leaders are readers
  • Good readers are good writers
  • Reading will save you from being taken advantage of by others
  • Reading will help you better understand “others” so you’ll never have to engage in a fight of any sort  
  • Reading is a highly productive pastime .
  • If you’re at school, reading will help you better understand what you’re taught and also help you pass highly
  • Any others you’re thinking of.

“A person with information and knowledge will finally be left with one big beautiful challenge; organizing and directing it to constructive ends”. – Seguya Pius


Indeed, A Ray of Hope is with us, and we can hope for a better future.

Seguya in Kabbubu, Uganda

Seguya Pius Uganda is an exceptional young man with much charisma and a great desire to improve the conditions in the milieu in which he lives. He has been inspirational in A Ray of Hope's development in Uganda and assists Vickie, our liaison, whenever he can. Seguya is both a doer and a thinker.... attached are his thoughts on reading and saving which he hopes to develop into an awareness campaign. Well done Seguya.  

St Paul's

Photo 1

Lord Nilesh Parekh (Hon Treasurer); Mrs Marivere Furneaux; William Say; Catherine Pluyggers; David Wardrop (Chairman); Rudi Albesa (Hon Secretary) United Nations Association Westminster Branch  

Photo 2
Don reading an extract from United Nations Charter in St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo 3
David Wardrop, newly appointed London Liaison for A Ray of Hope and Chairman of Westminster Branch UNA, His Highness Prince Mohsin Ali Khan, Canon Simon Reynolds St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo 4
Prof Ian Hall; AN Other ; Bianca Madison-Vuleta (a committee member) and two teachers from A Ray of Hope.

Warm Wishes

Sir Patrick Cormack F.S.A. M.P.
Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee


I would like to thank you all for making such a magnificent contribution to a memorable service, and for singing so beautifully in the crypt afterwards. It was an enormous privilege and pleasure to have you with us and I personally hope to have the delight of hearing the choir again.

With renewed thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.

Album addition

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Stephen McCreight and Matthew Cooper experience at first hand the music of West Africa played by their new friend, Sherrifo. The Manding people of West Africa are families of hereditary musicians and historians, the story tellers of their region. Sherrifo comes from one the most famous of the jali or ‘griot’ families, his whole life steeped in this rich tradition. He plays the Kora, a 21-string gourd harp, considered to be Africa's greatest musical instrument. The earliest references dates it back to the eighteenth century though it may be older. It is unique to the Manding people of West Africa, known for the remarkable virtuosos who have played such a vital role in their societies over the centuries, recording orally the history and genealogy of their people, noting customs, laws, archives and composing songs honouring famous figures.

A Very Special Photo Album.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

New friends on a memorable day, in a prestigious building in the presence of Her Majesty, The Queen.
on Monday, 24th October, 2005.
Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of United Nations

Good Wishes

Friday, October 28, 2005

From our dear friend Dame Mary Peters.
Northern Ireland
  Dear Don,   Congratulations & best wishes to the choir for their performance at St Paul's.   Best wishes,   Mary P.

New Liaison and Advisor for London

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It gives me the greatest pleasure to inform members of A Ray of Hope that David Wardrop will be our Liaison and Advisor for London and assist with Special Projects.

 As those who were in London know, the opportunity given to the children and teachers of A Ray of Hope came from David. The most magnificent of administrators and a wonderful friend. 


David is a board member of the United Nations Association and is Chairman of UNA Westminster. He serves as Administrator of Strategies for Peace which is developing a new Virtual Library for Peace Support Operations. He is Secretary of the UK Friends of the Alexandria Library and Secretary of the Hammersmith & Fulham Local Agenda 21 Forum. David Joined UNA in 1977 and served on UNA-Marylebone's Committee 1977-1980. He was Chairman of the London &SE Region 1984-97; and from 1988-1993 he was Chairman of UNA's Finance and General Purposes Committee. Throughout this period, David has played a major role in a number of UN - UNA sponsored projects, conferences and events. In recent times these have included the Hans Correll International Law Lecture and attending the UN Conference in New York on Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society Takes Action.

A Ray of Hope" described as the "Pride of London".

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

 A Ray of Hope" described as the "Pride of London".

The event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations in the presence of Her Majesty, The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, in St. Paul's Cathedral on Monday, 24th October, 2005 was a memorable occasion. Representatives from many nations of the world gave thanks for the endeavours of the United Nations all wishing that our earth would be a global milieu for peace.
"A Ray of Hope" thanks Rt. Hon. Mr. Tony Blair Prime Minister and Mrs. Blair,  Rt. Hon Lord Ashdown KBE,  Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC MP Leader of the Conservative Party, Rt. Hon Charles Kennedy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Mr. Charles Clarke Secretary of State to the Home Office, Lord Michael Ancram MP for giving of their precious time to speak to the children before the service of commemoration. One child described the experience as a surreal fantasy. Full report and photographs to follow shortly.............

 View Press Releases in Comments.

Well Wishers

From Sun of Baghdad Iraq.  

Wish you luck at your performance.   I'm not forgetting you, but intending to send you some info. after you finish your performance.   Once again, I wish you all the success.   Haider  

Nepal - Metta Centre   Wish you all the Success of the Programme Today.   Love and Hope from Himalayan Princesses   Piya  

CEWC UK   the service was most meaningful and significant. The Ray of Hope choir were so beautiful. It was good to shake your hand.   I'm so pleased to have been there.   Les

The Legendary Jimmy White meets A Ray of Hope  

Members of A Ray of Hope, when they thought that their minutes of meeting people were over, had a surprise waiting for them at Heathrow when they spent time with the legendary Jimmy White.  

Jimmy White  is an English professional snooker player. He is almost certainly the most popular player on the circuit (he is often introduced at matches as "the most popular player the game has ever known") due to his combination of natural play and a 'lovable rogue' image

White grew up in London  with fellow snooker player Tony Meo and the two of them used to skip school in order to play snooker. It is rumoured that his headmaster allowed him to practise snooker in the afternoons, in return for school attendance in the mornings.

He has won nine ranking tournaments, including the British Open (in 1987 and 1992) and the UK Championship (in 1992). However, the World Championship title has remained elusive, despite reaching the final six times (starting in 1984, and then each year from 1990 to 1994). He has thus been described by many commentators as "the greatest player never to win the World Championship.

Melanie Reports from Serbia


Hi Don   Here are some pictures of the children in the school. A lovely orthodox priest called Peter the Priest, who was wondering who we were, and why we came. He approached me in the middle of the city and asked who are you, and what are you doing here. When we explained he was just so helpful, and wanted to come along as well.  Sasha, left hand corner, is looking after 150 poor people in Kryiover, Serbia. We travelled 3 hours on a coach, just to see him and his wife. We stayed for 3 hours, and then took the 3 hours back. They were so happy they cried with joy. We are looking to support the work here in Kryiover, and to help Olgaritza with her work with the poor children in Belgrade. The last photo, is of me in the market place, where I spotted these lovely colourful women. They were just so delightful, a mother and her daughter, and daughter-in-law, and grand-children. Serbia is  up and coming, because people like these live there.

News from India


 Hi Don    Sorry for the delay.  Life at work has been manic just lately!!!   Anyway we can send a parcel of 16 kg to rural India for £96, so if you could provide us with suitable educational materials for that we will go ahead.  The district we are sending too is Raj Samand,   Rajasthan 31 33 31 (PO Kamili Ghat via Deogalh - Madariya).   Our school address is Mrs Margaret Coe, William Stukeley Church of England Primary School, Spalding Road, Holbeach, Lincs PE12 7HG.   Many thanks for all your help.    Margaret

Report from Serbia. The Sunflower Trust

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mrs Melanie Price  Manchester

Mrs Thelma Lynch Holyhead, N Wales

Mr Dragan Novokovic Podgaritza, Montenagro 


This was my first visit into Serbia, although I had been to the Old Yugoslavia, many years ago for a holiday. At first I wasn’t very impressed, as the people looked so downcast and aggressive.

The city of Belgrade, showed the evidence of war, as we saw bombed buildings all over the place.  I was mistaken about the people though, what I thought was aggressiveness, was really resilience, and their downcast faces, soon awakened with life once the ice was broken with a friendly smile and "Dobur Dan".

Our aim was to see the conditions of the poor children in the city, to visit a persecuted Church in Belgrade, to show our support, and to bring communication and connection from our organisation.

We wanted to go to the villages, to meet with some locals who are trying to set up an education programme, amongst the poor peasant, and gipsy children. We achieved all our aims, and more besides.

The little school we visited was extremely basic. There were 22 students, and it started at 6pm and finished at 8.30pm. On arriving in this district it was already dark, so I couldn’t see the immediate surroundings, but I could hear lots of children’s voices, shouting with excitement, and then our vehicle was smothered with flattened faces stuck to the windows, as they tried to see who was inside. Thechildren were dark skinned, and raw boned, with beautiful dark flashing eyes. They had been told that some "Anglesias" ladies were coming to speak to them. I had 1 hour to speak to them, and share about the reason that we were there.


The children were so receptive, and we spent half an hour answering questions, about England. Many of the boys wanted to know about Manchester United football club, they were excited to know that I came from that city.

I told them about the work we were doing in Hungary and Romania, with the poor children, and as poor as they were themselves, they to wanted to help”. 
We shared about the differences in language and culture, but emphasised on the common aim of bringing peace, understanding, and tolerance of each others traditions, cultures, and beliefs. Most of the children came from Muslim homes, so they were mainly boys who were allowed to come to the tiny little school room, on the outskirts of Belgrade.


The average wage is 120 Euro per month, but the ethnic minorities in the city, just didn’t stand a chance of getting a job, because of lack of education. These few children will have a chance, as they are being educated with love, by Olgritza, and her team of 3.

They demonstrated in turn, their ability to recite the ABC s in Cyrillic and Modern Latin Alphabets. In unison they said their times tables. They have no desks, only a plank of wood. They have no paper or pens. Olgaritza s husband made a black board out of an old piece of metal sheeting, and chalk substitute was some kind of sulfer stone. No matter what these children lacked in resources, they lacked nothing in their enthusiasm for knowledge and information.

I kissed everyone ,as they left that tiny upper room, and gave each one a little bracelet of remembrance, with coloured beads, which had a meaning, referring to my visit. When the room was empty, and the voices gone ..I sighed a sigh of satisfaction, knowing we had done something worthwhile, and had had an impact on these children’s lives, that I believe they will never forget. The Sunflower Trust is looking at ways we can help Olgaritza and her team. WE want to send in some educational tools, and resources, so the children can have the best chance. Remember the children of today, are our teachers, and leaders of tomorrow. 

A Plea for Help

Thursday, October 20, 2005

(original letter, translation follows.)

Buna ziua , domnule Don!

Ma numesc  Georgeta Constantinescu si sunt invatatoare la Scoala Generala nr.109 din Bucuresti .

      In primul rand va multumesc pentru sansele pe care le oferiti acestor copii de a invata intr-o clasa mai frumoasa si pentru a avea ce au nevoie .

     In aceasta scoala sunt copii cu posibilitati materiale mici , majoritatea cu parinti someri , care nu-si pot permite toate lucrurile de care au nevoie la scoala .Materialul didactic s-a deteriorat sau este mult prea putin si avem nevoie de mult mai multe lucruri la aproape toate obiectele .De-a lungul anilor eu am desenat multe planse pentru toate obiectele de invatamant si am incercat sa-mi fac singura materialele didactice pentru a nu mai forta copiii .In general ma descurc destul de bine la desen , pot mari orice desen fara aparatura necesara , asa ca mi-a fost usor sa-mi desenez harti , planse sau ce am mai avut nevoie .Multe din cele facute de mine au fost furate de copii de la clase mai mari deoarece , dupa cum se poate observa si in pozele trimise de d-na Laura Ionescu , usa de la sala de clasa nu se poate incuia , nici macar inchide ca lumea .

     Deoarece materialele didactice sunt foarte scumpe si scoala nu are fonduri iar parintii sunt prea saraci pentru a face ceva , am incercat sa ma descurc cum am putut .Dar si pentru asta e nevoie de creioane , carioci , coli de scris , hartie glasata , carton si multe alte obiecte pe care le-am cumparat singura din umilul meu salariu ( 150$ pe luna aproximativ) .

    In vacanta de vara am venit la scoala si am vopsit bancile si peretii clasei , incercand sa le creez copiilor o clasa cat mai confortabila dar cand au venit ploile puternice de toamna , apa a patruns prin tavan si ne-a stricat peretele din fata clasei .Florile pe care le-am adus si le-am ingrijit cu mare drag , au fost in mare parte furate sau stricate de copii de la alte clase .

     Cand avem ore de sport stam in clasa deoarece in curtea scolii nu putem face nimic asa ca preferam ca in orele de sport sa facem exercitii la matematica sau lectura .

   Sunt copii care vin la scoala zile , saptamani in sir cu aceeasi pereche de pantaloni , aceeasi bluza sau geaca pentru ca parintii nu au bani sa le cumpere altele .

   Asa ca ajutorul dumneavoastra est mai mult decat bine venit si in numele tuturor acestor copii atat de minunati , va scriu eu acum si va multumesc .


                                                                                  Georgeta Constantinescu


{This was the original in Romanian and now I will give you my translation .Please forgive my mistakes.I wrote fast and my emotions covered my soul thinking of those children .Kisses for you because you help me to help them. Laura.}



Hello , Mister Don !
My name is Georgeta Constantinescu and I’m a teacher at Scoala Generala 109 ( General school ) from Bucharest .
First I would like to thank you for the opportunities you offer to make this classroom more beautiful and comfortable and to offer what these children need.
In this school our children with small financial  possibilities , with unemployed parents and they cant afford what their classroom needs .The didactic material is too old and not good anymore or too less and they cant afford all the things we need. From years ago till now I painted a lot of maps , posters , placards to not force the children anymore to pay for them .I m quite good at painting and drawing and I can copy almost anything to make it bigger without special tools .But many things I did were stolen by older children fromother classes because , like u can see in photos sent to you by Miss Laura Ionescu , the door from our classroom cannot be locked , nor even closed right .We have to buy a new one .
    Because the tools I need and other materials are very expensive , the school cant receive enough money from the government and the parents are too poor to help me , I was oblige to handle how I could. Many times I was obliged to buy crayons , pens , pencils , papers , pasteboards, boards and many other objects I needed from my own salary ( about 150$ per month ) .
   In our summer holiday I came to school and painted the walls because I wanted to offer a better and a more beautiful room to this children but the autumn rains came and the water came thru the ceiling and broke the in front wall .The flowers I brought and cared with so much love were stolen or broken by the older children.
When we have sport hours we have to stay in class because we definitely cant do it in the school yard so we have to stay in class and make mathematic exercises or I read something to the children .
Are children coming to school with the same blouse , same trouser or even same old  jacket or shoes because their parents can not afford to buy others .I love this children very much and I am trying to make their life better everyday but I cant so because of this I need your help and I thank you for all you are doing .
                                                                               With many thanks , yours
                                                                               Georgeta Constantinescu


New Pictures from Nepal

Supplies Received and Asked For.


Hi Don

The two parcels arrived safely and in good order this morning - thank you  very much. They will go on the container next month and I know that  Nyakasura Primary school will be absolutely delighted. I should be there  when the container arrives so I will let you know when the school receives  the parcels and hopefully send you some photos too.

Very best wishes


Serbia Melanie Price  

Hi Don   I've just returned from Serbia. Had an interesting time there. I met some very poor people there trying to run a school for poor children.  I spoke to the children and they were so delightful. Their desks were just planks of wood, and they had nothing else. I wondered if we could send some educational supplies out to them, or if you know any one out there already. The need is quite urgent. I will send you a brief report of my visit as soon as I can. Hope all is well with you   All the best Melanie