Rotary Corner: Providing the tools to do a job

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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Remember images of the fishing boat washed up following the devastating tsunami on Boxing Day ten years ago?

The Rotary club of Grantham Kesteven put together a box of tools and the rest is history.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; give him tools to mend his boat and you give him back his livelihood.”

Hygiene supplies were arriving in Sierra Leone helping to stem the ravages of Ebola. But they needed help in the construction of toilets.

Trade Aid Carpenter boxes fitted the bill and were sent out to replace their very rudimentary tools.

Peterborough Ortons Rotary Club recognised the value of this project and recently presented Trade Aid with a cheque to finance a further box.

The carpenter box is just one example of these custom made boxes. There are sets of equipment for a builder, handyman, blacksmith, teacher, mechanic and tailor/seamstress.

Each box costs just £425 and can give a person independence and self-sufficiency.

Boxes are also invaluable for training young people. In Malawi, a graduation ceremony was held for the first carpenters and tailors to qualify.

To the delight and happiness of their families, each student was presented with a certificate and their own Trade Aid box. Now the community will be able to prosper.

Ten Trade-Aid boxes of tools were sent to Kianjai School in Kenya.

Students from the school will use the tools to help build a respite centre for children with complex disabilities and their mothers.

Once the work is completed, the tools will be returned for school use.

The students will have gained worthwhile experience for their future trades. Everybody wins!

Trade Aid works with another charity -PENHA (Pastoral & Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa).

A recent report from Somaliland read “The people that we work with in Somaliland like the concept of “a livelihood in a box”.

These boxes give people tools that enable them to do things for themselves. Too often development agencies simply provide handouts that promote dependency.

This initiative helps people to help themselves.” PENHA had distributed Trade Aid boxes, for teachers, carpentry and tailoring/dressmaking to local schools, cooperatives and women’s groups in six villages.

In Awbarkhadle and Dinqal, where farming is severely affected by the spread of the invasive tree species Prosopis Juliflora, carpentry equipment was given to a farmer cooperative that makes products from Prosopis wood.

The group will set up a stall to display their products at a conference/training workshop that PENHA is organizing.

Rotary can be very proud of this `home-grown’ project.

More about Trade Aid Trade Boxes at

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