On Monday 23 May, the Cecily’s Fund staff team and Trustees were extremely saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Gift Shanyinde, Community Mobilization Officer at our partner Afya Mzuri. He was involved in a serious car accident in Zambia last week and died from his injuries.
Gift was based in Afya’s Kitwe office and had been responsible for implementing our education support programme for several years. Gift’s conscientiousness and dedication to supporting orphans into education enabled Cecily’s Fund to reach thousands of vulnerable children and strengthen links with schools and the Ministry of Education in Kitwe.
At one time an employee of our former partner organisation Hodi, he transferred to Afya Mzuri when our new partnership began in 2013. He worked closely with schools and communities in and around Kitwe, advocating for better education and health provision for orphaned and vulnerable children. One key part of his role was to conduct field visits to schools and colleges to monitor the progress and welfare of children supported by Cecily’s Fund and Afya Mzuri.
Gift often served as a key point of contact in the important partnership between Cecily’s Fund and Afya Mzuri. He was a welcoming presence for visitors to Zambia, such as when Comic Relief sent teams to document the stories of three Cecily’s Fund-supported children in 2014. Gift would later describe these occasions as his favourite memory of his job.
Mutale Bowa, Executive Director of Afya Mzuri, said: “Gift was a humble, hardworking and committed young man. He was able to fit in with the different groups he worked with and bring himself to their level - be it the pupils we supported, the contact teachers or other community members, Gift managed to fit in.”
The news of Gift’s accident and of his passing has had a tremendous impact on everyone who knew and worked with him. Our thoughts are with Gift’s family, friends and colleagues at this most difficult time.
A further piece about Gift will be published in our summer newsletter.
On Sunday April 24 Sarah Richards completed her second London Marathon for Cecily's Fund. We're hugely grateful for Sarah's brilliant efforts, which won her an even better time than she achieved on her first attempt in 2014. "It was an amazing day", Sarah says. "The Marathon definitely showcases London at its best. Thanks to all who supported me!"
The £1,000 Sarah has raised is enough for Cecily's Fund to support 20 children with their school fees
The generous donors who have supported Sarah through her Virgin Money Giving page have so far helped raise over £1,000 for Cecily's Fund. That's enough to pay 50% of the school fees for 20 children in Zambia, or 20 life-changing business startup grants for young entrepreneurs. It's this fantastic impact which makes us so grateful to all our runners and their sponsors.
If you'd like to follow in Sarah's footsteps by taking on your own sponsored run, Cecily's Fund is building a team for the 2016 British 10K London Run right now. To register your interest or request a sign-up sheet, simply fill in our online form and you could soon be in training for your own run on Sunday July 10!
Back in 2014, our supporter Sarah Richards completed the London Marathon and raised almost £2,500 for our work in Zambia. Afterwards, we featured her in our Easter 2014 newsletter. This year, Sarah has once again secured a place in the biggest race in the UK's running calendar and is supporting Cecily's Fund for a second time.
Sarah attended the same school as Cecily - Bedales School in Hampshire - and the two became close friends. For that reason Cecily's Fund is close to Sarah's heart and we hugely appreciate her amazing efforts to run and fundraise for us. The amount Sarah raised in 2014 made a very significant contribution to our work in Zambia - helping children to access education and opportunities and ensuring that young people and their families have better health outcomes and stronger communities.
With your support, Sarah and Cecily's Fund can again make a terrific impact in 2016. We've been fortunate enough to have runners in the London Marathon on a number of occasions, including 2015 when Chris Childs took part. Your sponsorship will help make Sarah's run another success!
The first Cecily's Fund newsletter of 2016 is now available to download. Subscribers who receive the newsletter via post should receive them by the end of next week. Highlights of this latest packed instalment of our newsletter include:
- Our supporter Colin Chesterman shares his thoughts and photos from his trip to visit BISO community school in February
- An update on all our upcoming challenge events for the year, including the British 10K London Run and the first-ever Swim Serpentine
- A report from our Programme Manager Liz on her trip to Zambia in March, including two inspiring new initiatives
There are also stories on fundraising done by Warwick African-Caribbean Society, Carlton Male Voice Choir and our longtime supporter Peter Clifton, who raised over £500 by taking on the Minchinhampton 10K in early March. Plus, an interview with Frank Kanyambi (who is co-ordinating our Connecting Communities programme) and exciting information about the Cecily's Day events planned for 2016 and 2017. Download your copy today, be sure to contact us with any comments or queries, and look out for our next newsletter in the summer. If you're not yet a subscriber, you can sign up simply by filling in the form on our homepage.