Now I know I’m no Bob Geldof or Mother Teresa but when I started Jellybean in 1987 with a mighty team of 2 (me and a PA) not only did I want to brave the waters of building a successful new business, I also had a vision to make a small difference to the world at the same time. That’s why Jellybean has always supported children around the world through Plan International and during our 31 years in business we have helped literally hundreds of children in underprivileged countries around the globe. From the very first day and throughout our growth we have adopted/funded at least one child for each employee from countries as far apart as Timor Leste to Ecuador, from Thailand to Egypt and many countries in between and will continue to do so.

On the back of this long established relationship and in recognition of the great work that Plan International do around the world, I am delighted to announce that Jellybean is supporting an additional initiative. The Safe School Project is situated in the Gambella region of Ethiopa and helps refugees access safe and high quality education. This is a wonderful project which will reach 39,550 children aged 3-14, many of whom will have gone through the terrifying and scarring experience of fleeing their homes in South Sudan. In Gambella they will benefit from a better education in permanent school buildings with good quality teaching and access to specialised counselling to help them overcome the challenges of being away from home and living in a refugee settlement. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan has forced around 2 million people to flee to neighbouring countries. The vast majority of those fleeing are women and children who have experienced great trauma. Plan International is supporting refugee children in Ethiopia to go to school, offering much needed counselling and support, and we are going to be part of this exciting project.

It has always been important to me that charitable support is sustainable and that monies go to the point of need. Plan International pledge that 80p out of every £1 donated goes directly to projects as an absolute minimum, and they are proud that some years they exceed this. Obviously money going directly to projects needs to be balanced with employing staff to monitor the work they do to make sure it’s as effective as it can be, along with investing money into fundraising to help raise even more.

With increased funding from the EU Jellybean’s donation will cover the building of 5 new classrooms along with essential books and learning materials for 700 children. As Nelson Mandela famously said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” We believe this initiative will have a huge impact on their lives and hopefully through education give them the foundations to pull themselves out of poverty as well as helping them deal with the trauma of being displaced. We are immensely gratified that we will be supporting such great work to help South Sudanese refugee children and their families in Ethiopia and we will keep you posted on progress in the coming months and years.

The Safe Schools project does not affect any other charity work we undertake at Jellybean for other worthy causes closer to home such as HA, CWSNF, Debra or any sponsored activity we do from time to time, and we will continue to support where we can local and national charities that are close to our hearts.

Watch our short video here.