Thursday 31 March 2016

The Elvet Project

The congregation and friends at Elvet Methodist Church, Durham believe that an important part of their mission is to support charities help people all over the world. In the last few years Elvet has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in Africa, Cambodia, South America and India as well as more local charities in Northumberland and Co. Durham.

The  current project (between September 2015 and August 2016) is the Grace Haven Orphanage in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and retired officers Sue and Paul Harrison have coordinated a busy programme of events to raise money for this worthy cause, run by Ex-Inspector Fred Farley and his wife, the Reverend Ma Lay.

The Orphanage was built in 1998 to help the poor and disadvantaged by providing shelter, education and a home to children who have lost one or both parent(s) through malaria, tuberculosis or deprivation of medical help. They have jointly established a mission that has now swollen to helping over 200 deprived children who receive help in the way of accommodation, availability of education and hope for the future. Grace Haven has grown from housing 15 children and now supports 75 who are aged 3-20 and who live there and attend the government-run school. Fred and Ma Lay have also funded and constructed 2 ‘Light of Education Centres’ where a further 125 children live. They receive after-school tuition and further education where appropriate and whenever financial help is available. The children pray frequently and take part in services. They enjoy artwork, singing hymns, and popular songs.

Grace Haven has a food-producing programme where rice and vegetables are grown and harvested, and they breed pigs (to sell) which brings in revenue, but life is hard and the Monsoon season can be devastating.

Events such as a Treasure Hunt, Murder Mystery dinner, Art Exhibition, Concerts, Fayres and the sale of related merchandise have provided frequent opportunities for socialising and have been very successful in raising funds. Coupled with the generosity of members, friends, family and visitors, the magnificent sum of £13,000 was raised within 13 weeks!

Shortly after Christmas 2015 the Project committee were able to forward most of this initial amount to Grace Haven as an urgent, interim payment and soon saw the delivery of a brand new KIA Vehicle to the Orphanage.  On Sunday, 14th February 2016 Ma Lay and Fred Farley dedicated it to the orphanage in prayer at their morning service.  They have named the vehicle ‘Elvet’.

Fred has taken some photographs to show the congregation and friends just how delighted they all are. These can  be found on Elvet’s Website and Facebook page.

Now, the children of the Orphanage can prepare each day to go to school without the worry of having to walk the four mile return journey and have peace of mind, especially at this time in their lives as they struggle to meet the recent demands made upon them to either pass their monthly and annual exams or remain static in their year.

Fundraising continues until 31/8/16 as the Orphanage still needs financial assistance to fund their food and medical expenses and to employ English-speaking teachers. Details of forthcoming events can be found on Elvet’s website (see ‘Project’ and ‘Events’) and also Facebook page. Pens and Original Burmese Art can still be purchased at reasonable prices.

Tuesday 12th April  Millennium Banquet A delicious Indian meal at the Millennium Restaurant, Framwellgate Moor.

Saturday 16th April    10am – 2pm Table Top & Bric-a-Brac Sale at Elvet.

Donate unwanted gifts to the Grace Haven Tables (100% profit goes to the charity) or hire your own table to sell your wares, homemade crafts or recycle unwanted gifts. Come and buy some bargains. Refreshments available. Ring 07522444788 to book a table; £10.00

Saturday 14th May - Games Night. ‘Call my Bluff’ meets ‘Would l Lie to you?’ Be in a team (of 3) or just come to watch; a fun night in the hall - with nibbles.  £5.00 Per person

18th June - Open Church and gardens –  A  Treasure Trail and refreshments.

Follow the clues in a fun, indoor (and weather permitting outdoor) trail and discover things in and around the church you didn’t know and which will help to solve the puzzle. Fun for all the family.

More events in summer include a Sponsored Walk (4th June )and a Sponsored Cycle (proposed for early August).   All are welcome to join us - or to help support someone who is able to undertake these events.

Anyone wishing to support Grace Haven can contact Sue Harrison on 07522444788.

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