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Departure Day +2 (years!)

Today (October 25th 2009) is two years to the day since the team left Hull. Many people have asked how the vehicles we delivered in 2007, are doing. Well, the answer is, very well as far as we can tell.

Rita Edmond from the Primed project has kindly sent these pictures to us. They show four out of the five vehicles. The L200 from the St. George Foundation was out and about on a job and therefore wasn’t available for the photograph.


However, everything is still not a bed of roses and finance is constantly a problem. Rita, in particular, has a constant battle to raise the wages for the teachers in the school she runs. She would like to know if anyone can help her get some regular money from Hull City Council. So if anybody reading this can assist then please contact us Email: jonathan@hullfreedomtrail.com

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Exciting update from St. George Foundation

I’ve recently received this email and wanted to share the news with you!


 

I just thought I would drop you a line to update you.

 
First of all the vehicle is doing great and apart from accidentally reversing into something and breaking the back window, the truck is still in one piece!  We have never yet worn a tyre out, they all get ripped before they get to that stage so I have taken to shipping remoulds from here, it’s cheaper. 
 
St George is doing fine and we have now assisted over 600 children in total and have managed to get through the past year of credit crunch amazingly in tact.  Our donors have stood by us almost to a man/woman  and although the exchange rate did horrible things to us (adding over £500 a week to our expenses) we have scraped through. 
 
One of the things about the world’s finances is that I decided that St George should be raising much more money in Freetown commercially or off their own backs.  A lot of the money we spend now is raised commercially here and I see no reason not to do the same over there… it’s just finding the opportunities.
 
Anyway we have had a real brainstorming and got a few fledgling ideas going, but one of the things I discovered was that renting 4x4s is about $100/day.  With a fleet that could be some serious income.  We had a look at the competetion and Hertz etc just don’t operate there and so it’s almost all just owner drivers.  We therefore decided that we would set up a small car hire business as an experiment and I called Rita and asked if she was willing to come in with us and I have purchased 3 other vehicles and shipped them out there.  We now have a little fleet of up to 5 vehicles which includes 2 Hull trucks, a Toyota 4 Runner, a Jeep Cherokee and a Mitsubishi Pajero which are all in really good condition for their ages.    With a hire rate of 50% of the time we hope to make at least £2000 a month.
 
The business is to be managed in the UK on line by a volunteer from my sister’s church and we will be doing all the bookings and payments on line through a website www.sierraleonecarhire.com  then we have one member of staff over there running it from their end as well.   If you look at the site now it’s still just a dummy page but we are hoping to go live within the week.  We will be concentrating our marketing efforts via the internet as it’s mostly by word of mouth in Sierra Leone for everyone else.   I am working on the principle that with such a small fleet we only need to few people to Google for car hire before they fly in and we will have a head start on the competition.  If it turns out to be a great success we will be looking to build a more substantial fleet as I reckon that there are long term chances in Sierra Leone with future stability and growth in the country.
 
Picture 1
 
Without the two L200s available I doubt I would have ever even considered doing this as shipping the three vehicles that we have has been a great expense and having two there that we know are reliable has allowed us to take a plunge.  They all arrived by ship OK minus radios which was not a huge issue and apart from some issues with suspension they all seem OK.
 
Anyway, please feel free to forward this (or maybe wait till the site is up and running)  to let the others know.  I doubt that you considered that this may be the outcome when you were planning the trip, but hopefully it will mean converting your project into something that helps us generate a future income….and that’s great.
 
Other than that, our vehicle has been really useful and in daily use ever since you left. Justina’s clapped out Mercedes died of natural causes shortly after you left anyway which meant that we lost the only vehicle that we were using at the time.
 
I will end here, but I hope all of you and the teams are in great health and spirits.
 
Very best wishes
 
Philip Dean

 

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Recent screenings in Swanland and Lincoln

Just last week on the 27th and 28th November, ‘Hull Freedom Trail’ was screened at St Barnabas Church in Swan, East Yorkshire and in "The Collection" in Lincoln.

Overall, around 70 people attended both events and watching the film and learning about the issues really touched people. Talking with them after the event, it was great to hear their opinions and about how much they enjoyed the film. Many were surprised how much of an easy watch it was. They previously thought it was going to all be ‘heavy going’.

Surprisingly around £900 was collected and a large proportion of this will go towards Rita Edmonds school project in Sierra Leone.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and attended. It’s very much appreciated.

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Film Night in St Barnabas Church, Swanland

Thursday 27th November is an opportunity for you to see the film of the Hull Freedom Trail at St Barnabas Church in Swanland. One year on from our arrival back in the UK and it would be a great time to reflect on the situation in Sierra Leone before Christmas starts in earnest. 

It starts at 7.30pm and entry is £5.00 on the door. There will be either a glass of wine or fruit juice as well as some nibbles to eat. We’ll also have a Fairtrade stall for those essential Christmas presents! Souvenir DVD copies of the film will also be available at £12.00 each.

You can help

Even if you can’t come, then please help out by circulating the PDFs or the JPEG of our flyer to whoever you think would be interested in coming. Thank you.

Film Night Flyer Low Res PDF

Film Night Flyer High Res PDF

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The Hull Freedom Trail 1 year on – what difference does a year make?

How time flies

In some ways the past year has both flown by and seemed like an eternity. We departed for our adventure, to help those less fortunate than ourselves, on the 25th October 2007. You can see the news item on departure day below. Brings back waves of emotions I’m sure, and makes the passage of time feel so quick. The month of the trip seemed like a year in itself!

Departure Day BBC Look North Feature

Feelings then and now – post your comments

As we all take time to reflect on the past twelve months, I think it would be really good to take the time to post your feelings from this time last year as well as now. You could include some thoughts about the work we embarked upon as well as some reflections on your personal journeys since arriving back from Sierra Leone.

To get you started, I’ve collated together some footage which I think is mostly unseen footage. You can probably see why, but I thought it would be interesting and entertaining on this 1st anniversary. Seems to include rather a lot of me, so you can see how much I was edited out of the final film! Sit back and enjoy/cringe/weep!

Unseen Footage

Let us not forget 

For those we have helped, things have changed since the addition of the vehicles to the aid agencies. This post contains details of the support they have provided and the difference they have made. But the picture is not all rosy. Rita Edmond from Primed is struggling financially with her commitment to the school her friends and family run. They rent out the vehicle to raise money to support the school but times are hard for them and we will be running an appeal to help her soon. Below are some pictures of her vehicle in action with the children.

 

Extracts from reports from HANCI and the St. George Foundation

HANCI – Impact on the Street children’s project in Bo

Since its arrival in November, the vehicle has been making an invaluable contribution towards the attainment of the objectives of the project especially the tracing and reunification of beneficiaries. Before the arrival of this vehicle, social workers encountered great difficulty in tracing the families of street children. Many of these families had fled to distant places during the war so it was very time consuming and costly to trace them if one does not have their own means of transport. Social workers used to take almost three months in tracing the family of street child especially for families that were located far away from Bo.

However, the arrival of the vehicle has brought about dramatic changes in the project in the reunification and follow up processes. With this dynamic machine, social workers can now promptly follow on information about the whereabouts of parents of street children in the remote concerns of the Southern province. We now spend just a couple of days in tracing families in distant places which hitherto used to take months in achieving. It is now possible to reunify children with their parents as soon as they could be located.

Download the full report here

The HANCI vehicle in action

 

St. George Foundation

From the date of donation onto this present moment, St. George Foundation has observed a number of distinct achievements such as:

• The vehicle is used for patrolling in and out of the city for identifying street children and recruiting them at the centre where they will undergo counseling and rehabilitation.

• The vehicle is used to reunify children with their parent/care takers. And the reunification is done in the Western Area and the provinces. since the time this vehicle was donated to us, all the staff and children demonstrated a great deal of excitement.

More so, we say so many thanks and appreciation to Hull Freedom Trail team for the good thing they have done for us as this vehicle as created a great impact in the standard of the organization, without the donation of this vehicle, it would been a great constrain for the organisation. As we are praying that God will provide more for them and they will put us in mind for any further assistance.

Download the full report here

Pictures of the St. George vehicle seen around town

(above) 25 children in the back of ‘Hannah More’ on their way to the beach on Christmas Day. Photo Steve Tong.

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