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Supporting Gathimba Edwards Foundation – Trip update from Jackie Burke, EVPE Office Manager

Supporting Gathimba Edwards Foundation – Trip update from Jackie Burke, EVPE Office Manager

We caught up with Jackie Burke, our Aberdeen Office Manager, after her trip to Karatina, Kenya with the Gathimba Edwards Foundation (GEF).

What was accomplished on the trip?

A group of 13 strangers from Scotland flew to Kenya to build 3 new houses (and supply materials for the 4th house) for 4 local families in desperate need of better accommodation.  With local volunteer help and some paid experts (you don’t just want anyone wiring up the solar panels) we completed the build in 6.5 days and witnessed the new families seeing their homes for the first time and moving into them.

Jackie and the GEF team

What were the highlights?

Seeing the stud walls go up on the first house toward the end of day one.  Arriving on day 3 of the build to see that each house had a roof (which meant shelter from the rain while we worked on the insides).  The copious amounts of banter, laughter and camaraderie onsite and off, especially during afterwork drinks “Tusker time” with my new friends.  Cutting the ribbon on the new Barako family house and opening the door for the family to see their new home.  Hearing the joyful celebrations of the families and other locals as we opened each of the three houses.

What about the lows?

Seeing the living conditions of the families we built for – the family that hit hardest was Elizabeth and her 5 daughters.  By our standards they were living in what I can only describe as a broken down shed that in the UK you wouldn’t even keep cows in.  Losing my birthday tiara down the long drop (there were tears).

What was the biggest shock/surprise?

Realising that rain in Kenya means mud – lots of mud.  To be fair we were there during rainy season but unlike here in the UK, when you are out in the sticks tarred roads and pavements are few and far between.  The mud made building more of a challenge, but the team knuckled down and got on with it.

In what ways do think you made an impact?

We’ve given these families their best chance to get themselves out of poverty.  They have a safe, secure and weather tight place to live.  They have space for the children to study, have access to a small amount of electricity and a tank to keep a supply of water.  The real hard work starts now as it’s now down to each child to work hard at school and get fully educated.

What impact did the trip have on you?

A realisation that I can do more than I think both physically and mentally.  Reinforcement of the fact that I am privileged to have the life that I do and that I have a duty to help those less fortunate.

What’s next for you and the project?

For the Gathimba Edwards foundation their next building trip is in August 2020 to Iten in Kenya (they also have a non-building trip in April 2020 for those keen to be involved but building is a step too far).  For me I’ll be supporting the Aberdeen fundraising events for GEF and have my eye on their 2021 building trip back to Karatina.

Final thoughts?

Anyone can do this trip – if you can take 2 weeks holiday from your work, you can do this.  There are jobs on the worksite for everyone, all you need is a positive disposition and be willing to muck in and try and job. You can change the world.

EV Private Equity have matched the total donation raised by Jackie, which will go directly to the Gathimba Edwards Foundation to fund projects like this building trip. A fantastic achievement achieved by all – you can catch up with Jackie’s blogs pre and post trip over on her LinkedIn and see the teams progress for yourself on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylpO1xDr3Xk

Recently we signed the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision-making to create more responsible investment and sustainable markets. Supporting international and local charities like GEF aligns with our ethos and we are delighted to help develop communities and improve the living standards of those who are less fortunate. We also want to extend our thanks to our portfolio companies, Deep Casing Tools and Aquaterra Energy, for joining us in supporting this amazing charity.