C.R.E.E.R was formed last night.
Finally after years of wanting to do something to assist children, I've formed a French charity with a wonderful team of people who are all committed to the cause; Centre de Reinsertion et Education des Enfants de la Rue; Cote d'Ivoire.
It's going to be a lot of hard work. Prior to forming C.R.E.E.R I had some great news that 5ha of land would be donated to us; we'll be under an hour from both the Ghana border and the coast in a very quiet & un-touristed area of Cote d'Ivoire.
The idea is to run it as a farm with workshops. We will initially take in street kids between the ages of 12-15 and train them in various trades so that when they're ready to leave, they will have a trade to help them find employment; we're looking at carpentry, metalwork, sewing etc for both boys & girls. Many of them will have been affected by the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, have been the victims of trafficking or encountered some personal catastrophe to be living in the streets.
Controversially we will be opening the doors to volunteers. I've previously said that I'm anti-volunteering organisations, but as a French charity we are non-profit making. All the funds will go to Cote d'Ivoire with very little held in France, solely to pay website fees, banks transfer fees and charges of that nature.
Our plan is to ask volunteers for a one-off sum to reserve their place, they can stay as long as they like. It's not going to be anywhere near 1,000 euros a month as others charge. They can go & assist with a number of projects initially clearing of the land & construction of the centre; accomodation will be offered locally.
Accomodation will eventually be provided on site in very basic dwellings with a small sum being asked of the volunteers for their stay. The reservation fee will pay the salaries of the small team that will run C.R.E.E.R, buy materials & offset any other costs they may have. Other funding should come from the produce on the land, vegetables, eggs, meat etc plus the products that the children will be able to create with their new skills.
To my mind it's a 'HAND UP and not a HAND OUT' project. In 5 years I'd like to see this being self-sustainable. If there's 'extra' money available in the longer term then we plan to build a second centre elsewhere in Cote d'Ivoire with the same principles.
I'm just back from a business trip to South Africa & Botswana, it's been 27years since I was last in South Africa, went as a child; very pleased to see the changes there. However my heart is still firmly in W.Africa, there just wasn't that vibe down there that I was expecting!!! Whilst there I visited a few projects in my spare time which gave me a lot of ideas about what could be done in Cote d'Ivoire with the children & made a few very useful contacts.
At the moment, this is a word of mouth project. If you know anyone who would like to help us, either by coming & assisting with the project or by fund-raising at home, we'd be very grateful to hear from you. I hope in the near future we'll have a website up & running with constant updates on the progress of the centre.
Post a comment on here with your e-mail address if you like (it's not published unless you ask me to do so) or e-mail us at: c.r.e.e.r.rci AT gmail.com