In the year to 31st December 2016 we sent a total of £44,260 to the two Missions in East Pokot, for the relief of poverty and disease. This was the second largest donation by the Group, exceeded only by the previous year’s £50,000. It brought our total donations since the Group was set up in 1996 to the truly magnificent sum of £250, 520. The balance in hand at the year-end was £1,471.44

Breakdown of the £44,260

We received two grants totalling £13,600 from a Christian charitable trust. £3,363 came from tax refunds in respect of Members’ Gift Aided donations and the balance of £27,297 came from weekly donations in the little orange envelopes, some very generous one-off donations, the proceeds of raffles as well as donations by friends and families in lieu of birthday and Christmas presents.

How was the money spent?

£32,160 went to Fr Conway at Barpello. £8,900 paid the fees of 19 students at the Mission school and 7 former students now at university. Other students from poor families were also helped with their fees.  £5,400 paid for a new dispensary at the school, a legal obligation due to the large number of people on site, including 388 boys and 252 girls. £8,060 purchased bedding, furniture and equipment for a new fourth Form in Year 1 to cater for the larger intake last year, particularly of girls. A charitable trust gave £4,000 towards that project. They also gave a further £9,600 for Fr Conway to set up a breeding dairy herd of Sahiwal cattle to provide milk for the Mission school and some surrounding schools and as a long-term food project. Finally, £150 was donated for Fr Conway to buy a cow for an impoverished family with elderly and disabled parents.

Fr Sean McGovern received £12,100 for projects at his Rotu Mission. £1,500  paid for a year’s breakfasts for children at the school. £800 bought the children footwear. £700 paid for two water tanks to catch run-off rain from Mission buildings. £2,000 went on major repairs to a priest’s termite ridden and dilapidated house. £2,100 was spent on major renovation of the huge over-head water tank at the borehole. £5,000 bought emergency food, paid for the repair of the animals’ water trough and helped fund Fr Sean’s educational projects including a contribution to a girls’ dormitory at another Mission school.

To mark the Year of Mercy we decided to work with the Barpello and Rotu Missions to fulfil the Corporal Works of Mercy. All but one were completed. Can you identify them from the projects described above?

Expenses. A small bank charge of £4 was paid by a member of the Group. Another donated a year’s supply of the orange Pokot envelopes costing £105.95. There were no other expenses.

Since 1st January 2017, we have sent a further £26,650 to the two Missions, for  school fees but mostly for emergency drought relief projects.

Eugene McGivern                                                                           27 April  2017

Pokot” is the name we have given to our Parish project for the relief of poverty and disease, coupled with the spreading of Christ’s gospel of love and development to the people in the Third World.

  The project currently supports two Missions run by the Holy Ghost Fathers in East Pokot, a remote and impoverished region of Kenya.  The predominant tribe there is the Pokot people, hence the name of the region and our project.  The area is subject to frequent droughts and food shortages, at times approaching famine proportions.

You can find out about the Barpello Mission and Rotu Mission on these pages, along with the Camel Project.  You can also read the POKOT diary of the development on these areas through the generosity of the Pound a Week Group amongst others.

The Pound a Week Group was set up specifically to raise funds for selected projects in East Pokot.  As its name suggests, members try to give a £1 each week or whatever they can afford.  Donations are made in little orange envelopes put in the collection baskets at weekend Masses.  Some parishioners prefer to pay monthly or yearly.  Donations can be Gift Aided and apart from recording those donations for HMRC purposes, no separate record is kept of members or their donations.  Parishioners simply give what they can afford whenever they can afford it.

Since our new Parish was formed in 2006 from the Cranleigh and Bramley parishes, the Pound a Week Group has sent the Missions in East Pokot more than £93,000.  We have supported the camel project, the medical and food programmes; and nine members of the Group are currently paying the fees for thirteen children at the Barpello school.  The Mission there played a major role in tackling a cholera outbreak a couple of years ago and Fr David told us that the Pound a Week Group was the first to respond to his appeal for emergency funding to help tackle the disease.

Reports from Pokot about the work of the Missions are included in the Parish Newsletter from time to time and in the POKOT Diary, but if you would like to know more about “Pokot” and the Pound a Week Group, please contact the Parish organiser of the Group , Eugene McGivern, at emcgivern@btopenworld.com