Norfolk Christian launches African Nursery fund
On Saturday 19th May at the Proclaimers church in Norwich, Barbara Royce launched a campaign to raise £50,000 to build a nursery school in the South African township of Rosedale. Jenny Seal reports.
Barbara ‘B’ Royce and her husband, John, are living the retirement dream – based in George, South Africa for six months of the year and Ludham, West Norfolk for the remainder. But 'B' isn’t sitting back and taking it easy.
Last Saturday morning she launched an ambitious campaign to persuade people in Norfolk to give £50,000 to fund a purpose built nursery school in the South African township of Rosedale, in the George suburb of Pacaltsdorp.
Speaking to an audience of over 100 friends and acquaintances at the Proclaimers church in Norwich, where ‘B’ is a member, she gave a persuasive and powerful presentation of why we should care about young children living half way across the world.
‘B’ said: “I want this morning to encourage a positive and thoughtful response rather than a guilty reaction.”
“The people who live in Rosedale are poor. Many are single parents with little or no work. But we’re not talking about children who are dirty or malnourished. The parents of these children, like most parents, try to do their best for their children with what little they’ve got. “
“Poverty in the developed world is nothing like poverty in the undeveloped world. We have the NHS, the Jobseekers Allowance, we have Child Benefit, we have council houses, we have state pensions; the list goes on. These people have got nothing in comparison.”
“It is my belief that we that are fortunate, have to build bridges and forge relationships with those that are less fortunate.”
Rosedale is a new development of 905 small, identical houses, built without any nursery school facilities for pre-school children.
The Rosedale Nursery is the vision of a local lady, Cynthia Papah, who ‘B’ first met through a post on a Facebook group appealing for books for the nursery.
Cynthia has successfully established a nursery school where 75 young children (aged 1-6) currently cram into a small house in the township each day. However the lady who owns the property wants it back. Through their campaigning the municipality of Rosedale have recognised the need for a nursery school facility and have agreed to provide the land. But beyond this they haven’t got the funds to help.
‘B’ has adopted the cause with a passion. She recently held a fundraising event in George where she was able to persuade a group of people to provide the running costs to make the nursery sustainable, on the basis that she would establish a building fund when she got back to the UK.
‘B’ said: “The event was a great success and the nursery school now has a regular income. In addition the parents of the children have agreed to pay a little of what they have towards the running costs of the nursery. They appreciate that once it is established it ultimately must be something that they are responsible for.”
Appealing to the gathering in Norwich, ‘B’ appealed for assistance with the cause, not simply through monetary donations: “I hope in this room I have found the right people. I hope that I have found people that are willing to mobilise and strategise rather than fossilise! I hope I have found movers and shakers.
“If you know companies or organisations that might also be willing to be involved please make them known to me. Personal introductions are so helpful and as often in life, it is who you know, not what you know.”
‘B’ has also launched a regular sponsorship scheme where donors can become an ‘oom’ or a ‘tannie’ (an aunt or uncle) to a nursery school child for just £5 a month. The money goes directly to the nursery school but a relationship is formed with the child through the occasional letter and photograph.
Concluding her presentation, ‘B’ said: “I firmly believe that all humans are morally equivalent. Surely we that can, should help those who need it, irrespective of whether we know them or not.”
If you would like to give to the Rosedale Nursery School fund or if you are able to help fundraise or provide fundraising ideas please get in touch with ‘B’ at email@example.com.
The fundraising comes under the governance of Out of Africa Missions, a small Christian charity that is based in George and registered in the UK.