The past few months have gone by far too quickly for us. It’s one of those laws of life – time perceptively speeding up as you get older; but life doesn’t get any less busy and this seems to accelerate the passing of time too.
Since the beginning of May, we’ve been going through the interesting and at times frustrating process of setting up a new charity. It is something we’ve been prayerfully considering for a couple of years and after our last visit to Zimbabwe earlier in the year, we came home feeling that now is the right time to go ahead.
Interest in what we are doing has been increasing, as well as the influence and involvement we have in Zimbabwe. Taking into account various factors and receiving advice from a number of trusted friends and confidants, we felt it was the right thing to set up a distinct charitable framework within which we could operate, also facilitating people’s desire to give and the addition of Gift Aid to their donations.
Beginning the process of our application to the Charities Commission, we soon became aware of the large backlog in their work, apparently receiving unprecedented numbers of applications for new charities this year. Together with the large backlog of applications at HMRC too (for charitable tax status), the process has been taking a lot longer that it should have.
We have now come to a point where the charity is registered and operational and our new website has just ‘gone live.’
The charity is called SALT uk (Serving Africa-Led Transformation) and the name is meant to (hopefully) make us think. Those from a Christan/church background will be familiar with the ‘salt’ metaphor and its significance, but SALT also provided us with a useful acronym to convey something of our ethos in terms of Africa and the way we think about missions and overseas development.
As we’ve expressed on this blog before and to quote from the new website:-
“Our primary purpose is to promote long-term sustainable development and self-sufficiency – helping people to help themselves and break the pernicious and destructive cycles of poverty and deeply embedded dependency. We do not believe this will happen just through prescriptive solutions and resources coming from outside, but will come from Africa itself as the continent takes responsibility for its own future and leads the initiative for real and lasting change. Hence our name which conveys our ethos: Serving Africa-Led Transformation.”
Zimbabwe is currently the centre of our focus, but we also have interest and enquiries from other parts of Africa and remain open to the future possibility of the work extending – in fact we feel this is part of what SALT is meant to do. The charity is a framework that will facilitate any future developments. At the same time, it isn’t hard to extend a portfolio of involvement in Africa and we only want to follow the connections that we believe are being made by God, not opportunism.
We invite you to have a look at our new website: salt-uk.org
Also – of particular note and something I was going to post about separately, but it will be more efficient if you go to the post on the website – is the very recent fire at the Babies Home in Bulawayo. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt!
Coding websites nowadays is somewhat more involved than it used to be with the need for a site to render reasonably well on the plethora of devices people use to access the internet – large TVs, desktops, laptops, notebooks, tablets and smart phones; some with landscape and portrait views just by turning them in your hands. The site has been tested fairly extensively for these various possibilities, but you can never account for every combination of device, operating system and browser. If you encounter some problematic glitches, please let us know as we’d like to iron out any unforeseen problems. You can email me at my existing email address or at email@example.com
You will probably notice that currently the site doesn’t draw any attention to us as individuals. We may be being over cautious, but that is deliberate. As we’ve shared here before (and the reason we’ve kept this blog off the search engines), is that currently, as white Brits, we need to exercise wisdom about raising our profile in Zimbabwe. We’ve seen quite a few people (back in April, an Australian lady) who do raise their profile and advertise their presence in Zimbabwe (because God has called them there…) and it doesn’t take long before they’re told by the authorities that they’re not welcome in the country and get sent packing. The authorities know we visit regularly, but because it’s always fairly short term and we’re not there to do things off our own bat, they seem happy to leave us alone. They also seem happy if NGO’s work through Zimbabwean partners, not as independent entities doing their own thing. For these reasons, at this point in time, we feel it’s wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to advertising ourselves as individuals. It’s probably also a reflection of how we work and the role we believe God has called us to have.
In connection with the above, we’ll also keep this blog going for the foreseeable future. It has been a useful way to occasionally communicate with everyone, especially when we’re actually in Zimbabwe. As you can only get to it if you know the URL, not through a search engine, it affords us the opportunity to sometimes share more candidly than we will through the “Latest” news section of the website, which will be out there ‘in the ether.’
Just before I close – and thank you if you’ve got this far – we are also starting a regular SALT uk email News Letter using the popular MailChimp service that people can subscribe to from the website. As a subscriber to this blog, we have taken the liberty to include you in that mailing list and the first News Letter will be sent fairly soon (some of it will inevitably duplicate this post). If you would rather not continue to receive those News Letters (but we obviously hope you do), then you can easily unsubscribe from the service at the bottom of the email.
You can also take a look at our new Facebook page (and “like us”… some of you know I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook, but I’ve submitted to the wisdom of the day and current culture). Apparently “once your Page has reached 25 “likes” you are able to claim your own unique Facebook URL.” Now that’s really going to set my world on fire!
I will be going to Zim again on the 14th October for three weeks and will be in touch again about that.
As always, thank you for your interest, prayers and support. We really appreciate it.