This is a night of celebration, and as such, it is on me to remind everyone here why we are celebrating. In 10 years of work, Um Pequeno Gesto:
- Supported well over 11’500 beneficiaries, including almost 900 sponsored children in 2014
- Applied well over €800’000 on the ground, directly in the children or the communities
- Provided a new house for 30 families and built 5 new water wells serving over 4’100 beneficiaries
- Provided well over 1’500 per year with access to education, including pre-school, primary, secondary or even higher education, with Silvestre being the first University graduate to have graduated this summer
- Supported technical education courses for children and young people, seeking to provide academic bases and tools adapted to the local reality, including sewing courses, arts & craft, IT, carpentry or locksmith
- Responded in a relentless manner to the 2013 floods in Southern Mozambique, raising well over €70’000 in Portugal and the UK, applied in emergency aid and reconstruction in our areas of intervention.
This night is not only a night to celebrate. This is also a night to launch the foundations and the dreams of the next 10 years of work. Yes, our goal is one day to be out of plan, out of goals because no one needs us anymore and we are out of business. But we know that day is a long time ahead, and work multiplies itself as we get more involved in the communities where we operate. At the same time, successes are often contaminated by children who give up from school to go work or beg, little 12 year old girls getting pregnant, children dying with malaria, floods devastating houses and schools built, between all the logistical nightmares work on the ground can entail. It would not be fair to not remember the daily difficulties on the ground, because each victory is the result of an intense fight, ours and from our local partners, who are with the children and the communities on the ground.
The balance is always POSITIVE.
Because we want to continue our work and celebrate more victories, this is a night of fundraising. A night where we are raising funds for one of our largest expansions ever, a daily feeding program for 802 children in the School of Santa Luisa Marillac. We started this program last year, following the floods that devastated the region and flooded the school and the little belongings of the families around. For a charity starting with 50 sponsored children, this jump will need a lot of Little Gestures. Tonight, there will be plenty of opportunities to contribute for this project.
UPG seeks to apply well over 90 cents per Euro on the children. This number is the result of an enormous effort of a team of volunteers in Lisbon, London, Mozambique and the world, who allow us to maximise each donation. When we talk cents, it looks like it does not matter. But when 20 cents per day can feed a child in the School of Santa Luisa de Marillac, every cent counts. Tonight, we could have spent €10’000 hosting you following traditional ways. But thanks to the restless work of Patricia and Marta, the generosity of our host Vasco Aragao, the participation of DJ Baratta and Selma Uamusse, and more than 40 sponsors donating multiple goods for the auction, lottery tickets, graphical materials and drinks, the costs of this event are a tenth of this and well over covered by the sponsorships raised. Everything you contribute tonight will be spent directly on the children.
- Thank you to those who thought it was possible and responded to my first appeal 10 years ago. Without that trust, I would not have known how to keep going
- Thank you to all the sponsors, some with financial difficulties, not giving up to support their child in Mozambique. From Escolinha do Andre comes the message “The sponsors are so important for these children that they each know their name, despite the difficulty to express their joy of how important they are to them. “
- Thank you to all the donors, small or large, because each gesture is to the measure of each one, and it is important for us
- Thank you to all the partners and volunteers that give their time and commitment so that UPG can go further, weather with work on the field or weekly hours from home or at HQ
- Thank you to all those who made tonight possible, minimizing costs and maximizing value to the Mozambican children. At headquarters, a special note to Patricia, Marta and Diana. Patricia is my sister, and despite being on the original group of 30 sponsors who supported me, I think the only did it because she did not have much of a choice. 10 years later, she is responsible for fundraising for both UPG and ALG and the driving force that finances the projects we want to do
- Thank you to my parents, family and friends, as no matter what they complain about my lack of time for anything and my constant running around, they know they made me what I am today. Despite the initial scepticism, my Mum is the force of nature that took on herself the task of knowing the name of each sponsor and child and coordinates the operations in Mozambique, from Portugal. She is the one many sponsors will recognise as the voice of UPG in Portugal.
- And a special thank you to Bernardo, for his unconditional support for my choice to have two jobs, and for never getting tired of hearing me speak of the children that are today also his.
Not being able to go for longer, I stop and follow the advice of a good friend, focusing on what we were able to achieve, with Your Help, with a lot of joy. Congratulations UPG.
Congratulations for what we have achieved together for the children.
At ALG UK, we want to continue building a better future in Mozambique together with UPG Portugal for another 10 years. Contact us to get involved or donate here!