50 Years of Making a Difference

Sep 26, 2014

Turning 50 is certainly a milestone to celebrate. Feed the Minds did just that with a reception at Dr Johnson’s House in London on Monday.

50 years ago Feed the Minds was launched by Donald Coggan, who was the Archbishop of York at the time, and we were very honoured to have Dr John Sentamu, the current Archbishop of York, as a special guest on this occasion. He spoke passionately about the need for, and impact of, literacy and education for the purpose of unlocking potential; especially the potential of women.

We had chosen the veBrenda and lawyernue carefully, since Dr Johnson was a great educationalist who particularly supported the education of women, at a time when this was unusual.  Many of our supporters, trustees and friends who attended the reception enjoyed the connection with this history; but it was just as important to hear how lives are changed today through Feed the Minds’ work. Brenda Kayitesi, from our partner organisation Human Rights First Rwanda Association (HRFRA), made this come to life. She said “I am proud to be a part of this milestone event with Feed the Minds. Through our partnership I see the huge difference women have been able to make to their own lives every day”. Brenda is a talented, young human rights lawyer working closely with paralegals in villages to ensure women can correctly register land they have the right to, something that is not always accepted in their communities. The project with HRFRA will train 1,500 female paralegals on land rights, increasing their literacy over three years.

I had a truly enjoyable evening, meeting so many of our old and new supporters, some of whom, it was great to see, had travelled from Scotland. The evening was also wonderful to celebrate in a way so different to our day-to-day work, with music by Tir Eolas and interesting food made by Eat Jollof. Celebrations are important for continued inspiration and I went home feeling immensely privileged to be part of Feed the Minds, proud of our dedicated staff team, amazed over the commitment of all our partner organisations as represented by Brenda, and grateful for the support of trustees and donors. I was particularly happy to speak to new people during the evening, with several of them telling me how genuinely impressed they were with what we are able to achieve as an organisation.

The evening also marked the start of our new ‘Unlocking Potential’ campaign aimed at supporting women in some of the most marginalised communities. Women’s education is the key to development, yet it is so often overlooked.  We are calling on individuals and churches to get behind the campaign. Please contact my colleague Rebecca if you would like to get involved, rband@feedtheminds.org.

Josephine Carlsson,

Director of Feed the Minds