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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Hanna's Orphanage Newsletter - Oct 2011

Volunteers from Cass Business School

Nicole Garnier, Arnold Musisi, Aga Kuplinska and Caitriona Conway spent two weeks in Ethiopia in August, teaching at the orphanage.

They arrived with pens, clothes, sports equipment and other toys to teach the children at the Wollo Seffer branch and the Shiro Meda house.

The boys at Shiro Meda drew self-portraits and did presentations on their heroes in between games, songs and many games of football!

The younger ones at Wollo Seffer practiced their English and learnt about different countries.

The volunteers have so far raised over £6500 for us, which will be going towards buying a car for the orphanage, helping them to collect supplies for the children and Hanna to travel between branches.

Drought in Ethiopia

As most people have seen in the news, there is a severe drought in East Africa right now.

Although it's worse in Somalia and Kenya, the south east of Ethiopia has been affected and aid agencies on the ground say it's likely to get worse.

The biggest problem is that the Children's Prisoner Home in Harar is being affected by the soaring food prices.

We have already sent some money over to be able to help them feed the children, but if you'd like to donate, please go to

Amie and John CaswellWeddings!

For the second time, a couple getting married asked guests at their wedding to donate to Hanna's Orphanage instead of buying wedding gifts, and they raised over £1000!

Amie and John Caswell (pictured), as well as David and Anne-marie Shropshire have both made the amazing pledge on their special days.

If you'd like to donate to Hanna's Orphanage in lieu of wedding or birthday presents, or in honour of any other special occasion, email Jenny at

... And in other news

Challenge for the better
James Cockburn jumped out of an aeroplane for Hanna's Orphanage on 30th July 2011 and raised over £500 while loving every minute!

New Trustee
We're pleased to welcome our first Cass Business School volunteer Charleane Smith as our newest trustee.

Run Anthony, run!
Anthony Higgins ran The Great North Run on Sunday 18th September to raise money for Hanna's Orphanage and the Red Cross. He completed it in 2 hours, and arrived just in time for the Red Arrows flypast! You can still sponsor him at

Strong supporters!
On Sunday 10th July Valentine Hanson (left) and Nicole Garnier (right) ran the British 10k run and raised around £400 for Hanna's Orphanage.

Valentine Hanson showing his medal Nicole Garnier, smiling broadly, raises her arms in triumph

And finally ...

Hanna's Orphanage has a new look website on the way this year!
Watch this space!

image of the forthcoming new website!

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Yes, it's finally confirmed - on the 21st May 2011, there will be an amazing weekend of music, comedy, food, football and face painting, all to raise money for Hanna's Orphanage and Football Action. It's being held at Jimmy's Farm (yes, the one on the TV!) in Ipswich and we have Annie Mac headlining and a host of other fantastic bands and comedians already confirmed!

Tickets are £45 each (at the moment ... we have a couple of acts to confirm - and the tickets are definitely going to go up soon!) which includes overnight camping, or you could get a family ticket (two adults and two under 14s) for £100. It's going to be well worth it! Buy tickets at or email me!

And of course, all proceeds go straight to charity - split equally between Hanna's Orphanage and Football Action.

Buy tickets now - and don't forget to wear your best vest! :-)

This blog

When I lived in Ethiopia, this blog was all about my life there. It was a place where I could wonder at the fantastic experiences I was having, talk about how beautiful Ethiopia is, let off steam about my struggles and the adjustments I needed to make, tell stories about the amazing people I met, and promote the work of the charities I'm involved in. It also became a record of my mistakes and when I was very, very wrong (thanks, all those who took the time to point that out!!!).

At first, I was fairly sure that only my dad was reading it - but over the months it built up quite a readership. I received quite a few emails from people; some questioning my attitudes and opinions (shocking!), some wanting to get involved in the charities, others just wanting to chat about Ethiopia. People found the stories funny and wanted to hear more of me dealing with the pet rats, the power cuts, the language barrier, the children and all the other parts of my life in Ethiopia! I was happy to oblige.

Of course, I'm now back in the UK and, quite frankly, my life isn't that interesting any more. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but my commute to work, my day job, my social life, isn't nearly so interesting to everyone else. I just don't have that much to say.

So this blog has become much less about my daily life and posts have become less frequent. I've started to make it focus more on the charities I'm involved in - especially Hanna's Orphanage - and the events of the charity world. What happens when a woman with a lot of passion and a little knowledge sets up a charity and gets involved with two or three more, and tries to do this on top of a full time job? Can charities grow and continue to be ethical? What is ethical? Do charities do more harm than good? Will I ever manage to finish the risk assessment for our fundraising festival in May?!

But maybe that's not so interesting either?

All thoughts welcome!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Sometimes it’s really hard trying to find the time to do all of this stuff. I’m not trying to get sympathy (I choose to do this after all!) but I do wish I had an extra four or five hours in the day – or a team of staff! At the moment I like I’m constantly trying to catch up with myself: snatching a few minutes at work to make phone calls to toilet providers for our upcoming festival (I get the best jobs!), spending my weekends re-writing the website for its new format (it’s going to be great – if I actually ever get it finished) or sitting on the tube trying to plan the trip in August. Add to that two house moves, a full time job and the normal day to day stuff, and you get a bit of a mess where nothing actually ever gets done.

Take the website. Our current one looks great, but is hard to update and probably only reflects where we were a couple of years ago. Loads of stuff has happened since then, and we want to publicise all the great things we’ve done, the money we've raised, the partnerships with Cass and with Football Action, and all of our upcoming events. The new website is designed and created, and just needs me to actually edit the writing and restructure the info on it so it can go live.

But I also need to sort out the teacher training for the volunteers, complete the licence application, speak to the fire brigade, organise the route for the sponsored walk, publicise the festival, speak to the orphanage ... and on and on and on. It can all get a bit overwhelming and I don't feel like I'm doing justice to anything!

Ah well, I guess if I didn’t have this stuff to do, I’d only moan I’m bored!

At least being busy generally means that we’ve got lots of events coming up! These are the dates for your diary for the next few months:

1st April - Cass are throwing a party to raise money for Hanna's

7th/8th May – Some hardy souls will be walking the rout of the Piccadilly tube line (overground, not underground!!) for sponsorship. If you’d be interested in walking with us, please send me an email!

21st May – Our festival ... more about that in a couple of days!

28th May – The new volunteers will spend all day learning new teaching skills, activities and games to use with the children in August

11th June – Cass are holding a Charity Cricket match ... possibly with a surprise guest!

18th June – our crazy and insane new Cass volunteers are going to do Bungee Jump. I think they’re completely insane - but please do sponsor them anyway!

Contact us if you want more information about any of this, or want to help at all! In the meantime, I'm off to edit the new website ...

Cass Cake Sale!

Fundraising by our Cass volunteers continues, with raffles and five a side football tournaments and networking events.

In true Hanna's style, and following the success of the last couple, there was another cake stall at Cass. This one raised £300! Another one is planned for next month - and I don't intend to miss out on the cakes this time!

Thanks to everyone who donated cakes, and all those who bought them!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The planning begins!

The Cass volunteers have now started planning their trip and doing their fundraising. Their Justgiving pages have been set up, so if you'd like to donate and help their fundraising, please go to their pages:

Nicole Garnier

Caitriona Conway

In other news, we're working with Football Action in a mad idea to put on a festival to raise money for our charities. It's going to be huge if we manage to get it running - and if the venue says yes!

Last week we had to put a detailed pitch together so I went through a crash course in talking to councils (thanks to everyone who helped!), generator engineers and various licensing bodies, and found out really important facts like how many toilets are recommended per 100 people (1, apparently!). Four of us spent a frantic day putting it all together ... so now we're just waiting to hear whether we've got the go ahead or not. Fingers crossed, please!

(and if anyone has any farmland around an hour outside of London that they want to donate, please let me know!)

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Would you like to donate to us? In a quick and easy way, with very little fuss? AND ensure we can get GiftAid on your donation (if you're a UK tax payer)? Of course you would!

We now have a general Just Giving page:

This doesn't replace Paypal - we still have that - but Justgiving is quicker and easier for lots of people (and we get Giftaid!)

Thanks in advance for all your donations! :-)