You have helped us raise £1,000,000 to support ACF projects in Africa.
Six years ago Carluccio’s began working with Action Against Hunger, a fantastic charity that is committed to ending child hunger. We donate 50p every time you order a Penne Giardiniera in our restaurants and our staff run marathons, cycle from Glasgow to London and organise many more activities.
To date, over £1,000,000 has been raised to help their projects.
Visits to see how the money you have helped ys raise is being spent
As a result of this work I have been lucky enough to visit projects in Liberia and Burkina Fasso to see how the money we raise is being spent.
In May 2013, Marcus Weedon, out Senior Recruitment Manager (and keen fundraiser) and I visited Burkina Fasso.
We left London early on a Sunday morning for a flight to Paris and then onward to Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Fasso. We continued our journey driving over five hours South East via Fada to Pama. Finally after more than 48 hours we climbed into the truck this morning to visit our projects.
We saw a clay hut village where we are running a "warrantage" project. Warrantage is loan system where families put their harvest into a store and are paid 80% of the value as a loan. 6 months later they withdraw their grain and sell it at the higher out of season price for only a miniscule interest rate.
I was asked to unlock the grain bank and we saw the 69 sacks the village had stored last season. The villagers are advised to spend the grain loan on setting up income generating activity and we saw a family who dry and de husk rice raising the value by 60% and another who brews a local "beer" Dolo. We tasted her half finished product - it reminded me of beer I brewed as a student!
Next stop a vegetable garden where we help provide the well, the seeds, the training and fence to allow a community to grow their own food in what is otherwise a bone dry landscape.
Last stop a community meeting in a very poor village where last year they suffered terrible drought and our money helped out. I was asked to speak to the meeting which I did in English, then translated to French, then the local language. As the translation trickled through all 150 villagers laughed! I don’t know why.
If our previous experiences were about seeing successful projects in the field then the next were much harder, visiting the malnutrition projects that are at the hard edge of the work AAH do here in Burkina.
We have debated what images to send as some of what we saw was quite difficult but what is an enduring reminder of the trip is the MUAC band. A simple tool that measures arm circumference in children from 6 months to 5 years old. It is a reliable indicator of whether a child is severely malnourished. It includes a simple green, orange, red indication, unfortunately all too many of the children we met were in the “red” zone.
But though these experiences are hard it makes me all the more proud of the difference we have made. But whilst £1,000,000 is a big number, it’s really just a start.
Visiting the projects supported by Carluccio's in Liberia
In early May 2009 Neil Pangbourne, our logistics manager, and I had the opportunity to travel to Monrovia the capital of Liberia in West Africa to see the Action Against Hunger Projects where the money we are raising from Penne Giardinera sales is being spent.
Liberia was a wealthy country in the 1960s and 1970s helped by natural resources of diamonds and rubber, but years of political strife and civil war have destroyed infrastructure and displaced millions of people. Monrovia a city who's population has doubled in just a few years to 900,000 (the size of Birmingham) has no electricity, no running water and wholly inadequate sanitation, 85% of the people are unemployed and life expectancy is only 45 years.
Despite this awful and frightening backdrop our money is delivering results. We saw the children's feeding centre which cares for 120 mothers and their severely malnourished babies. There we met emaciated babies who would die without access to the clinic and a wonderful 18 month old boy called Maddison, cured with our help a few months ago and now a bouncy and very cheeky young man.
We visited the slum town of Westpoint to meet people living in the worst imaginable conditions there joining Ernesto, a social worker who we support, and his group of teenage mothers who simply have no idea how to care for their children. Children who without Ernesto's and our support could simply fade away.
Glasgow to London Cycle Challenge
An idea born from a company Christmas party - cycling from Glasgow to London to raise money for Action Against Hunger, was a huge success. At over 480 gruelling miles the team of 6 employees and our CEO took 6 days to cover the distance. In the process they raised over £48,000.
And because the challenge was serious Bianchi Cycles kindly teamed up with us and donated the excellent Nexus 7 bikes to help the team on their quest.