Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Volunteering in Africa and the UK

The primary aim of our Walk for Aids is to raise money to fund 3 volunteers travelling to Africa to work for two weeks in a orphanage for children living with HIV/AIDS. These are children whose parents have died of AIDS related illnesses.

80% of children who are HIV positive in the world live in Africa and we want to do something to help not just by raising money, buy donating time and gaining experience which we can use to help in the fight against AIDS.

We believe that the experience of working on this project will be transformational. Many of our young volunteers have never worked, not because they do not want to, but because there simply are not enough jobs in Hull or because like too many young people they have no qualifications. Some are from families where they are part of a third generation that has never worked, while others have faced discrimination and rejection because of their gender, sexuality or simply never got the chance of a decent education due to bullying and intimidation at school.

But all of them want to change that and we think that giving them a chance to travel and work with children far more disadvantaged that they are will inspire them to greater achievements. There will be no free rides: everyone travelling to Africa will have earned their place through their volunteering efforts here in the UK and will be expected to use their experiences when they return to help us to continue our campaign to raise awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

This will be a very moving experience for our volunteers, it is certainly not a holiday. They will assist in taking care of the orphans and giving them the individual attention they desperately need including:

  • Teaching the children basic English lessons
  • Reading children's books to them
  • Playing games, singing songs, and doing drawings with them
  • Helping refurbish the orphanage buildings
  • Helping to cook for and bathe the orphans

They will also be involved in AIDS awareness work by visiting local schools and community centre to

  • Explain what the HIV/AIDS virus is and how it affects the human body
  • Educate people about how the virus is transmitted and how infection can be prevented
  • Explain how, after infection, life can be prolonged through medication, healthy food, and a more health lifestyle.
In preparation for the trip we will be teaching all volunteers about HIV/AIDS and helping them to work with communities and schools here in the UK to communicate the same messages. There is still a great deal of misunderstanding and myth in the UK. 25% of people who are HIV positive do not know they are infected because they have never been tested.

Our help in donating to this project will make a real difference It will inspire young people to change lives both here and in Africa, and most importantly the impact of your donation will continue to have a real effect long after the initial Africa Project.

Please click on the link to the right and donate now to help tackle this global problem

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Join us for the Humber Coastal Walk for AIDS

One of the casualties of the public sector cuts has been support for HIV/AIDS. What little funding there has been in the past few years is no longer ring fenced, which means that local authorities can now use whatever limited funds they do receive for other purposes. In many instances the funding has simply stopped and people employed in raising awareness and providing support have been made redundant.

What that means for small charities and social enterprises like Mercury Trust is that there will be greater demands on us to deliver - all part of the Big Society - but at the same time there is less money available for us to do the work and we are having to be far more creative in raising money ourselves.

We received a small amount of funding last year from Sports Relief and we are using some of that money to both raise awareness of the issue and promote improved health by organising a challenging Walk for AIDS in June.

The Walk for Aids will be a coastal walk from Cleethorpes to Hull travelling through all four Local Authority areas in the Humberside sub region. This is a challenging 50 miles which we will complete in 24 hours.

We are planning a media campaign with this and will be posting reports as we travel to keep everyone up to date with the walk.

What we need are more volunteers to support the campaign and sponsors to fund the walk.

If you would like to get involved in the walk call Jamie Conner on 01482 755601 or Rikki Arundel on 01482 755606 or Click Here to email

If you would like to sponsor the walk - please click on the Donate button on the right of this article.