Newsletter: Issue 5


Last Updated: December 2012


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Welcome to the fifth annual SEPIA newsletter. Every year we learn a little more about working with schools abroad and as a result we believe that every year we are becoming more able to target our funds into areas which make the most impact. As a charity we have three main roles; to raise funds, to use those funds wisely to improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves and finally to report back to our supporters to show you what we have done. So here is this year’s annual report, let us know what you think.

Money in...
In 2012 we have managed to raise £3450 as a result of a wide range of events. Local schools remain our best supporters and many thanks go to the staff, parents and pupils from Oakley Infant School near Basingstoke, Perins School in New Alresford and Ropley Primary School. All three of these schools have been very supportive again this year, however, the SEPIA School of the Year Award for 2012 goes to Perins School for their amazing contribution towards promoting both our One Book, One Pen campaign and our Building for the Future campaign. Special thanks go to teachers Mel Kirk and Pete Howe who put together a Transformational Learning project which focussed on the work of SEPIA and the year 7 and 8 pupils who organised and ran the first ever SEPIA Fete. As a result of the pupils’ efforts at the Fete and a range of smaller events held within school they raised a fantastic £1,000. Additionally, due to the pupils’ promotional work, our charity song One Book, One Pen was played on local radio boosting sales on iTunes; if you have not yet heard it click on the hyperlink and download it for yourself.

On an individual level I would like to thank Babs Bailey who, despite her poor health, continues to give up her valuable time to raise funds for us. Thanks must also again go to Lesley Jones who is our first supporter to set up a direct debit payment ensuring that even when we are all too busy to do things some funds are still available for emergencies.

We attracted our first SEPIA runner this year, when Beverley Taylor, mum of a pupil I teach, asked if she could use our Charity Choice website to set up a donation page for her Half Marathon run. This allowed her friends to read about our charity and then sponsor Beverley online with an option to include gift aid if appropriate. This service is available to anyone who may be thinking of completing a sponsored event, just let me know and I’ll help you set up your own event page. Thanks to my niece Gemma and her husband Chris our SEPIA charity bands gained a little publicity this summer when they decided to use them as favours at their wedding this August. It was a lovely thought and a lovely wedding; thanks and good wishes therefore go to the new Mr & Mrs Fehrenbach for their kind donation.

Our SEPIA stall returned to the Alresford Music Festival for the third time in June and we managed to raise £106.I would like to thank the organisers for letting us have a free pitch again and son Aaron and our Web designer, Lewis Desforges for helping me run the stall. It is always an enjoyable day as it gives us a chance to show people how our projects are progressing. Finally I would like to thank the numerous individuals who have raised money through their own sponsored events or just by responding to our information updates on the website and Facebook page. As you read below I hope you agree that your generous donations were well spent.

Money out…
Much of our expenditure was focussed around our two new campaigns this year. As a result of the One Book, One Pen campaign we were able to send a large collection of pens, pencils and other stationery to both Primary and Junior Secondary Ghanaian schools. Some of this was kindly donated by children from our partner schools; Oakley, Ropley and Perins, whilst the rest was bought following specific requests from Ghanaian teachers. In total we spent £370 and we hope to make further deliveries in 2013 Usually the shipment of goods can be an issue for us, firstly due to the cost and secondly due to the possibility that it may not reach the destination intact; however, because in May we hosted two teachers from New Tafo Methodist School we were able to send the goods back with them. The teachers were staying with us as part of a British Council Global School project I am running at my school. This means the flights are paid for by the British Council and when travelling with British Airways you get a luggage allowance of 2 x 23kg. It’s surprising how many pens and pencils you can fit into four suitcases! As you can see on the picture page below they were all delivered safely and we even managed to get the boys from the band DNA; who recorded the song One Book, One Pen, to present them to the schools.

Our second new campaign, Building for the Future, has resulted in some very exciting building works. Following several successful building projects within the town of New Tafo (see previous Newsletters) we decided for 2012 to focus our attention on one of the more remote schools we have been working with. Asafo Salvation Army School is roughly 30 minutes away from New Tafo by car; longer if it’s been raining, and is situated off a small track surrounded by a mixture of plantain, coconut and palm oil trees. Five years ago the school was battered by a particularly severe tropical storm and several classrooms were damaged. Since then we have been involved in helping them replace roofing and brickwork so that the children could learn in safety. However, when we returned to the school in November 2011 we discovered that a double classroom block had been removed as it had become unsafe. This prompted us to set up our building campaign and 12 months later we are pleased to report that the school now has two new and more substantial classrooms ready for use. We are also helping the school with some of the furniture needed; luckily most of it can be locally made which cuts down on the costs a little and also helps to boost the local economy. We are hoping that the government will also help although going on past experience this will be minimal. Overall the two classrooms cost us £1,500 and we are going to donate an extra £500 in the New Year to help them to buy furniture.

Other expenditure came in the form of our bursary scheme, outlined in earlier newsletters. This year we have awarded £610 in teacher and student bursaries. With the advent of free primary education in Ghana the numbers of pupils enrolling is increasing rapidly, whilst this is a positive step to allow more children access an education, it is proving quite hard for the schools as the increase in number is rarely match by any increase in state funding. So this year we were pleased to be able to help with teacher training costs in the hope that with more qualified teachers schools can keep class sizes to a manageable number. Our student bursary is helping a young man through his senior schooling; Seth is now in his final year and hopes to gain a job in Information Technology in the future.

Other news

We now have our own SEPIA Facebook page! Currently this is the best place to go in order to see our latest news because I am trying to avoid giving our web manager, Lewis, any additional work to do whilst he is preparing for his A2 exams. Our website; is still the place to visit if you wish to donate though as this also allows you to add Gift Aid.

Thank you to those who are now doing their internet shopping though the SEPIA Easy fundraising account, which has now raised £142.24. If you have yet to use it, click here - you will have to set up your own account, choose SEPIA as your charity and then, when you want to buy something from Amazon or M & S or hundreds of other well-known suppliers, just make sure you access their website via your sepia.easyfundraising account. It’s all free and it raises money, so try it out in 2013.

Our first ‘TEAM SEPIA’ running event! We have secured 6 charity places for the British 10K run in July so watch out for their fundraising pages on the Charity Choice website. Don’t worry; I’ll remind you well in advance

We will also be continuing our two major projects; One Book, One Pen and Building for the Future.

If you would like to find out more about or ask a question you can contact us at

Finally, Helen, Aaron and I would like to wish you a very happy new year and we look forward to sharing more information with you in 2013.

Michael Clarke


One Book, One Pen in action at New Tafo Methodist School


DNA band members present stationary to New Tafo Methodist pupils


Temporary classroom in 2011


Building materials for double classroom block


New double classroom block nearly finished in December 2012


Aaron and Lewis working hard at the Alresford Music Festival stand