Thursday, August 27, 2015

Snake Island

Following on from last month’s announcement about Ibiye village leaving our programme, this week we can explain the reasons behind our decision to step down our project in Snake Island (also known as Itun-Agan).

We feel that it is so important to be transparent with our supporters about the standards that we expect from our projects and to make it clear that Ripples Foundation has strong values that we need each community to meet and understand that we do not just abandon our projects without good reason.

Snake Island in Nigeria came on board our Women’s Enterprise Programme so we could assist them in the growth of their crayfish business. For this growth to go ahead we needed land space where the production of the crayfish would take place to make sure that they could meet the right quality standards for export.

For Ripples Foundation projects to be successful we need the support of the whole community, which we always endeavour to get through meeting village chiefs, holding meetings with villages and discussing the options that are available for them. Unfortunately the local Council of Chiefs of Snake Island did not support the free provision of land for the women to use, and wanted Ripples Foundation or the women themselves to pay for it. Ripples Foundation always requires communities to have a stake on the land that we work on, as the projects will aid the whole community, so consequently when the community refused to provide the land needed, we had no choice but to step down the project.

Sometimes, however much you try and make things work you can only help people who have the willpower to help themselves, and we simply cannot afford to expend our time and resources in one location if we are not seeing any results there.

In the future we hope that that we can come back and launch our projects again there with more success. Until that time we have to continue to support women’s initiatives in these regions, which we hope will lead to a change in the cultural mindset of these communities so they can be energised and empowered to make change happen for themselves.

Please make sure to visit our YouTube channel to see updates on all our projects, including the much anticipated Ripples Box, our continued work on a new fishery site for the women of Iworo, and a look back at our team’s trip to Ogidi in June.

With your support, we can make change happen!
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Calais Migrant Crisis: The Real Problem

Last Wednesday (19th August) was World Humanitarian Day, and 2015 is definitely a year where attention to this theme is clearly needed. A record number of 1 out of every 122 people on the planet is currently displaced from their homes due to war, persecution and poverty, and in the last few months the media attention has been firmly placed on the French port town of Calais.

Calais is in crisis. Thousands of people are camped in and around the town trying desperately to make their way across the channel to reach Britain. French police patrol the area, are trying to push the people back and stop them from climbing into trains or clinging to the underside of cars and lorries in an attempt to cross the border. Eurotunnel has reported that they have blocked 37,000 attempts from migrants trying to cross illegally into Britain this year so far. But why are they so determined to get here, and what can we do to help them?

The UK newspaper coverage of the crisis is not helping to calm the fears of the public. By reading The Daily Mail you would think that there are millions of savage migrants who are all going to end up in the UK and run riot if we don’t keep them out. In reality, the UK does not take in a huge majority of migrants, and we fall way behind countries such as Germany, Greece, Turkey and Italy who have taken in vast numbers of people who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe. David Cameron, our own Prime Minister, has described the number of migrants currently camped in Calais as a ‘swarm’, which as a description totally dehumanizes them. We need to start looking at the people behind the media fear and deconstruct the myths that they have presented to us.

Here in the UK, there seems to be an increasing xenophobic attitude which can be seen on social media sites on a regular basis now. People seem to think that we spend too much on foreign aid and should be keeping our resources to ourselves and letting migrants sort out their own problems. This attitude is coming from the same country who took in thousands of Jewish refugees during World War II when the Nazi’s targeted them throughout Europe, so why can’t we show the same level of compassion towards migrants today? Many of them have been targeted and persecuted in their home countries in similar ways, and all they want is the chance for a better life. People have been trying to cross the English Channel for years, and it is only this year that the situation has escalated and captured the media’s full attention. We seem to think that these people are economic migrants and are coming to Britain simply to use and abuse our welfare system. This may well be true in some cases, however statistics show that 62% are refugees fleeing from war, oppressive dictatorships or religious extremism. 

The Guardian newspaper in the UK recently published a piece looking into the reasons why they have left their home countries, and told the story of a 29 year old teacher from Syria named Ali. He fled his home because of war and ended up settling in a Turkish village. However the Islamic State soon took over the area and his life became hell so he has made the long journey to Calais in search of a safe place to live. He says that he is not a migrant, he is a refugee. Buzzfeed UK published a similar article, and reports on the story of David, a 22 year old from Eritrea. David’s parents had both died by the time he was 15, and his wife recently died giving birth to their son. He fled his home country because of the lack of social freedom and not being able to practise his religion, and he wants to come to the UK because he can speak English and wants to study. He doesn't blame the French police for trying to stop them crossing the borders as they are only doing their jobs, but thinks the government are to blame. 
We have to remember that these are human beings, most of whom have survived through war and poverty that we can scarcely imagine.

Obviously the UK cannot accommodate all of the migrants, but Europe as a whole could show these people the compassion that they deserve rather than treating them with disdain and fear. If we allowed everyone into the country who wants to come to the UK for a better life, we will still be ignoring the root cause of the problem: the unbearable living conditions of the countries that people are fleeing from. If the world can really make an effort to eradicate poverty and war in these countries, perhaps there will be no need for another crisis on this scale again. 

Here at Ripples Foundation we don’t claim to be able to solve huge world problems such as this crisis, but we are doing our small bit to improve the lives of people living in poverty in African villages. We run programmes for women and children and gives them the opportunity to learn, receive vital medical care and earn money, to eventually work their way out of poverty.

One step at a time we can make change happen!

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, August 14, 2015

5 shocking facts to make you really think about poverty

Everyone knows that millions of people are living in poverty across the world, but it all seems so far removed from our own lives. So how can we get the stark truth across to you? Here are just some of the most shocking facts about the lives of people living in poverty around the world:

1. The world’s 100 richest people earn enough money each year to end world poverty 4 times over.

2. More people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet.

3. Africa uses less than 3% of the world’s energy, despite having 12.5% of the world’s population.

4. The median income for people living in the developing world is $3 a day - that’s less than the cost of a frappuccino at Starbucks.

5. Americans spend more each year on Halloween than the whole world spends on combatting malaria in a year.

YOU have the power to make change happen. Just a small donation from you can make a huge difference to the life of hundreds of Africans in the villages that we operate in.

£2 means that one person can have access to a free medical consultation and medicines. If 8 people donated £10 each, we could give one group of village women the opportunity to start their own small businesses and work their way out of poverty.

Donate to Ripples Foundation today or support our campaigns on Causes, and be more awesome!

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Africa Isn't All About Poverty!

What do you see when you conjure up an image of Africa? Mud huts? Long dusty roads? Starving children? What if we told you that Nigeria is home to the third biggest film industry in the world? Nollywood is only behind the USA and India and continues to grow! It is facts like these that show us that Africa is so much more than what the rest of the world perceives it to be, and contrary to popular opinion not everyone is living in poverty. Africa is a continent on the rise and has a lot to offer the world, with landscapes full of wildlife and thousands of different cultures.
There is so much to see and do if you get the chance to visit any of the 54 countries that make up the continent, so here is our run down on some of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit:

Nike Art Gallery - Lagos, Nigeria

Copyright by Jeremy Weate

Nike Arts Gallery in Lagos, Nigeria is the exibition centre of Nike Davies-Okundaye, who is a very well known artist in Nigeria and across the world. She has reinvented the art of indigo dying and adire production, which were losing popularity when Chief Nike first came onto the scene. she now holds exhibitions around the world, and uses her galleries to hold workshops for children and share her talents.
Chief Nike hails from the village of Ogidi, in Kogi State, Nigeria, which is actually one of the villages on Ripples Foundation's Adopt A Village Programme - and she is a fantastic role model for the youth of the village and shows what can be achieved with a little hard work.

Art lovers - this is the perfect day out for you!

Zuma Rock - Abuja, Nigeria

Copyright by master_xpo

Zuma Rock is located just outside of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja and towers above the ground at 2,400 feet tall. The rock is such an icon in Nigeria that it is even featured on the country's bank notes! Locals say that if you look closely you can see a human face etched into the rock... why not visit and see for yourself? 

Mole National Park - Ghana

Copyright by Stig Nygaard

Mole National Park is Ghana’s biggest national park, and is home to an abundance of wildlife including elephants, buffalo, lions, monkeys and much more. Take a safari and get unforgettable views of all your favourite animals, you won’t forget that trip in a hurry! Ghana is a beautiful country to explore and seeing the natural beauty and wildlife on offer is a great place to start.

The Great Migration - Tanzania

Copyright by Roman Boed

Every year more than a million wildebeest and thousands of zebras migrate from Tanzania up through the Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara. Although this is a long event it well worth trying to see the herds at some point of their journey, the sheer number of animals alone is staggering!

Table Mountain - South Africa

Copyright by warrenski

Probably the second most famous mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro, but by no means the tallest, Table Mountain is the symbol of Cape Town. This city offers you the best of both worlds, you can go hiking, climbing and see amazing views, and then come back to the bustling city below for shopping, food and to relax on the beach. Why wouldn’t you visit?

Bazaruto Archipelago - Mozambique

Copyright by Richard Moross

You can find this little bit of paradise just off the coast of Mozambique. Now a national park, the islands are teeming with tropical fish making it a diver’s heaven, and there are a few luxury resorts right on the beach. Not exactly the image of Africa that you had in your head is it? Pass me the snorkel...

While this list truly does show off the best the Africa has to offer, we musn’t forget that there are still thousands of people living in extreme poverty across the continent.
Ripples Foundation goes to the remote villages that these people live in and works with them to empower them to climb out of poverty.
We cannot continue to do this without your support. Donate today at and help us make change happen.
Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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