The devastating tsunami of 2004, which killed hundreds of thousands of people following an earthquake under the Indian Ocean, was the kick-start for the Trade Aid Trust Fund.
Known as Trade Aid (a Business in a Box), it was set up in 2007 to support communities that had been devastated by disasters.
The charity was the brainchild of Rotarian John Asher, a founder member of the Grantham Kesteven Rotary Club in Lincolnshire, who had been so impacted by the devastation wrought by the tsunami.
He saw pictures of fishermen returning to their damaged boats, realising there was sufficient material available to repair the boats if they had the right tools.
Grantham Kesteven Rotary took on the idea of creating six different tool boxes ranging from carpenter, builder, mechanic to blacksmith, teacher and tailor.
Further tool boxes specifically for plumbing and electrics were later added.
It was agreed from the outset that, wherever possible, new tools would be supplied since, if you are giving help, then you give the best you can afford.
Since then, Trade Aid boxes have been sent following natural disasters in Haiti, Guatemala, the Philippines, Nepal, plus to areas of conflict in Kenya, Nigeria, Swaziland and Sudan.
Once Trade Aid became established it became obvious that there were other avenues where Trade Aid could help, such as education and vocational training.
This followed from an email from a Catholic Mission in Zambia asking for help to support local youths gain useful employment.
Four boxes were sent to set up a training workshop.
Since then, Trade Aid boxes have been sent following natural disasters in Haiti, Guatemala, the Philippines, Nepal, plus to areas of conflict in Kenya, Nigeria, Swaziland and Sudan.”
This developed into a long-term commitment and extended to other Catholic Missions in Zambia and Malawi.
Supporting education and vocational training is now the larger part of Trade Aid, but it will always be there to help after disasters, when requested.
In respect of our education and training programme some of the projects are listed below.
In northern Ghana, Trade Aid supports the Wulugu Project, which has built schools and takes young girls, who have been abused, off the streets.
The project gives the girls education and training in tailoring to obtain employment in the local area.
Trade Aid has supported this project for more than eight years.
During COVID-19, the girls took their sewing machines home while schools were closed to make protective masks, selling them in their community and supporting their families.
This is just one example of the 245 projects and 28 workshops Trade Aid has supported since 2007.
A donation of £425 for a Trade Aid box can change the lives of so many people.
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