At Open House Group, we’re committed to supporting charitable organisations whose values and vision match our own. We want to contribute to their good work, and over recent years have established valued relationships with a number of charities and NGOs in different fields.
As you can probably imagine, we receive hundreds of requests from very worthy causes every year. The truth is that many of these causes appeal to issues close to our hearts, and it’s always a difficult call in deciding on exactly which ones to support.
We do everything we can to analyse and evaluate the proposals before us. Above all, we want to work with credible organisations that can demonstrate an established track record in their area of specialisation. Where possible, we visit the premises of the organisations we work with, to get a first-hand idea of their people, structure and ethos.
In the past, we have tended to favour those projects with a focus on improving education in the third world. This could be improving access to or the quality of primary, secondary or higher education. It could also have a wider scope, such as teaching people the skills and knowledge that will stand them in good stead for the long term. For example, agricultural projects that encourage self-sufficiency, or projects aimed at improving long-term healthcare prospects for a region’s population.
Below you’ll find details of some of the charities we’ve been able to support over recent years.
The landlocked country of Burkina Faso in West Africa is one of the poorest in the world – almost half of the population lives in extreme poverty (surviving on less than $1 a day). The country’s economy is based mainly on agriculture and in the production of cereals, rice, cotton, fruits and vegetables in particular. However, the yield doesn’t meet the needs of the people.
The charity set up a project to support the farm workers of the Region of Cascades and the Hauts Bassins in the production and commercialisation of corn, cashew nuts and mangoes. It had an additional objective of improving the income on these foods for the local population. In the process, it instructed local farmers in how to negotiate better prices for their produce with the private sector.
In 2009 we contributed to several of Vicente Ferrer’s projects in Anantapur, India. These included providing secondary school pupils with bicycles to enable them to get to school and the construction of irrigation systems that would make best use of existing underground water resources.
In 2009 Save the Children launched the biggest worldwide campaign of its 90-year history, called ‘EVERY ONE’, with the aim of reducing the number of preventable child deaths.
Highlighting the fact that not every child has an equal chance of survival, the campaign mobilised millions of people all over the world into putting pressure on their governments to take action. Focusing on the biggest killers of pneumonia, measles, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV and AIDS, together with maternal mortality, the charity doubled its investment in its child survival programmes with the target of reaching 50 million women and children a year by 2015.
Committed to bringing about change that provides long-term solutions, this humanist organisation operates a range of educational and ecological projects.
In 2010, we directed our support to a project in Anantapur, India, that gave university grants to the most academically gifted students, enabling them to continue on to higher education and forge their own futures. Within the healthcare field, we also contributed to the organisation’s scheme to provide essential nutrition to pregnant women, elderly people and children up to four years old.
In the area of Tanzania in which the charity is based, 60% of the population lives with the uncertainty of whether they will actually eat anything in the next six months.
Between harvests, families have to get into debt in order to feed themselves, in some cases paying interest rates of 300%. Taking a long-term view, the organisation worked to boost the production capacity of the local population, so that they had access to food all year round and were better equipped to generate a more stable income.
In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, every third child goes without the fundamental human right to education. In 2010 we contributed to the second phase of Unicef’s high-profile Schools for Africa project, which aims to increase disadvantaged children’s access to a quality education on a sustainable basis.
This foundation, based in Barcelona, runs a therapy centre offering advice and personalised treatment for people affected by the issue of child sex abuse. We made a contribution towards the invaluable work that they do in raising awareness of this issue.
This NGO is a worldwide community of leading social entrepreneurs – men and women who can bring about change. We made a general contribution towards their pioneering approach to addressing the challenges facing humanity.
This is the UK’s leading charity devoted to the battle against childhood leukaemia and other childhood cancers.
At the start of this year one of our former interns was inspired to take part in a marathon aimed at raising funds for this organisation. We were glad to be able to make a contribution to her efforts.
In 2011 we chose to support Intermón Oxfam’s project ‘Connecting Worlds’, which uses modern technology to promote exchanges between children from different social, cultural and geographical backgrounds. ‘Think globally, act locally’ is its guiding principle. Encouraging teachers and other education professionals to use both classroom and internet-based methods, the project helps raise awareness of the causes behind poverty and human rights issues across various cultures.
2011 saw Save the Children launch a project to eradicate violence against children, whether in the form of corporal punishment, physical exploitation or psychological abuse. Initiatives took place all around the world, ranging from supporting the children of Catalan women subjected to domestic violence, to the fight against child trafficking crimes in El Salvador.
In 2011 our financial support went towards grants for 10 students in Anantapur, India, to allow them access to university. This was part of a wider educational outreach programme that spanned primary schools to universities, to improve academic and professional standards across one of India’s most disadvantaged communities.
In 2011, we participated in two of Ashoka’s pioneering projects. The first, a ‘service apprenticeship’, worked with children and young people to equip them with knowledge and help them make a useful contribution to their community. The second project was another example of an innovative educational approach, involving schools, local government and families. It aims to provide young people with the skills and values that complement the training they receive through the formal education system.
After what turned out to be such a disastrous year for the Spanish economy and for many Spanish households, we decided to support a cause close to home. Aeiraval is a charity dedicated to helping some of the most defenceless members of society within the Raval district of Barcelona, which has quite a different social and economic make-up to other parts of the city. The charity works closely with residents to improve the educational and social prospects of young people and families.
This foundation, based in Barcelona, runs a therapy centre offering advice and personalised treatment for people affected by the issue of child sex abuse. In 2011 we made a financial contribution to help support their ongoing efforts in prevention, outreach and training among the public at large.
We were delighted to give away a 3-night stay for two in one of our apartments as part of Passports with Purpose - an annual travel industry fundraiser. 2011 proved to be another big success for this project, which raised over $80,000 in donations with the aim of helping to build two libraries in Zambia.
Passports with Purpose 2012
We were so impressed with the Passports with Purpose project in 2011, we didn't hesitate for a second to be involved with it again in 2012.
This year, on top of donating a prize for the raffle, we have the honour of sponsoring the event.
The 2012 project aims to raise $100,000 for Water.org. The cash will go to fund wells in two communities in rural Haiti, providing desperately needed clean water.
We had worked with the non-profit charity AEIRaval in 2011, and in 2012 we decided once again to support this Barcelona-based initiative. The charity works towards achieving equal rights and opportunities for the disadvantaged children, young people and families of the Raval area of the city. It develops projects in the area which promote education as a tool for social change and integration and has a gone a long way towards providing a better life for people in this underprivileged neighbourhood.
As you can see, we’ve worked with several different charities and NGOs, and have contributed to quite a broad spread of projects. We find that it’s often more constructive to build on established relationships with our chosen charity partners than to embark on several new ventures each year. That said, we like to operate within a structure whereby we are not forever fixed to one particular organisation or project, and we remain open to suggestions for the future.
As always, we welcome any questions you may have, so if you’d like to find out more about our involvement with aid organisations, don’t hesitate to get in touch.