The following are just a few of our diverse base of generous donors who have helped us achieve clean water and improved sanitation for over 45,000 beneficiaries across the region.
Sir John and Lady Sheila Houghton
In 2009 when Sheila took over the management of a Christian Cafe and Fairtrade Shop, run with volunteers in Tywyn, she wanted to link with a charity to which she could give the profits for use in specific areas of basic need in the developing world. Sheila says: “WATSAN was ‘heaven sent’ and ideal. Their willingness to link to a project with regular personal feedback enabled me to feel able to continue to give WATSAN substantial sums each year, even after the shop’s closure.”
John, who is a leading climate scientist, also became involved in fundraising and was particularly impressed by the ongoing sustainability work. He has now joined Sheila in supporting WATSAN’s work and mentions the charity in his recent autobiography.
Anne owns Faringdon-based enterprise Farmer Gow’s, a family-friendly day out amongst the animals and staff of a working farm. Anne says: “I went to Africa for the first time when I was 19. It was an eye opener. Despite having only been back once (when I was 21) I’ve never forgotten the huge disparity between my life and the life of millions of Africans.
“I ‘discovered’ WATSAN at my little church in Cumnor when Ian Bensted came to preach one Sunday. A small church with a very big heart, its influence has been an amazing experience. So when Ian mentioned clean water I knew straight away that I wanted to become involved. It didn’t take long for my small monthly donation to be arranged.
“Next step: a fantastic Walk for Water experience in the Shropshire hills. The longest I have ever walked in one day! And then the idea of the Sculpture Trail came to mind and that was another great experience which was a combined fundraiser with my other favourite charity.” Anne went on to host an art and sculpture trail at her farm, with proceeds of the sales benefiting WATSAN.
Tim and Ali Fergusson
Tim and Ali wanted to do something a bit different to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. Ali, an engineer in the UK water industry, was intrigued by a ‘Tearfund Go’ trip to visit water and sanitation projects in Uganda. As the dates coincided with an upcoming sabbatical from Baptist ministry for Tim, it seemed an ideal trip for them both.
“When we went on the preparatory weekend,” Tim said, “we discovered we would be visiting projects that were being delivered by WATSAN. We had come across WATSAN before, so we were delighted to hear that we would experience their work firsthand.” Ali said, “It was inspirational to see the transformation of daily life that WATSAN brings as the staff work with local communities to deliver truly sustainable improvements. We came home with a massive respect for WATSAN and now give to WATSAN regularly.”
Neil has been working for 40 years as a teacher and parish priest in North Wales, after studying at Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cambridge and Oxford universities. He is welsh speaker and writes on Welsh history, as well as chairing a UK charity working on educating children in India. He pioneered a hospice charity shop and coordinated meals-on-wheels service for many years.
Neil says: “I support WATSAN because it is focused on low-tech, practical technology which can make a big difference for modest cost; because the regular visits to and from Uganda keep the charity personal and give confidence to donors that it is working well; because the website and communication is kept fresh and informative; and because it has attracted committed volunteer support over many years.”
Martin is now happily retired after a career as a teacher and headmaster. Most recently, he was Academic and Pastoral Principal at the Royal Ballet School for eight years, and before that a teacher at Alleyn’s School for 23 years.
Martin says: “WATSAN’s overheads are minimal yet the returns phenomenal. The transforming power of clean water and sanitation best seen in a project at Burema school which resulted in better teachers joining, the school role doubling and top exam grades trebling. As an ex headteacher this resonated with me, I immediately trebled my monthly subscription!”