A great start to 2017 with successful projects in Nepal, Mauritius, Sumatra and Tanzania making a profound difference to hundreds of disadvantaged children; funding 25 cleft lip operations in Sumatra, a new project in Mauritius to combat drugs and child sex work, the distribution of numerous school bags in Helambu Nepal whilst also initiating children’s olympic games, and finally, the build of a brand new school for a Masai Tribe in Namelok, Tanzania.
Unfortunately, in July it was sadly confirmed that the charity had been the victim of a fraud to the sum of nearly £20,000. Since this shocking news came to light, we have informed the Charities Commission, Dorset Police and the relevant banks and investigations are ongoing. For this reason, we cannot (legally) provide any further information on the crime other than to say the individual responsible was considered to be a trusted supporter of the charity and this has been the hardest thing to come to terms with.
However, we still have trips to deliver for those who have worked so hard both to fundraise their place on the projects but more importantly to support the numerous vulnerable children we help and so we have had to secure a substantial overdraft and take out a credit card to cover the cost of the largest outgoing, the flights. We have been informed by the Police that the money has – gone, that is, it will not be recovered.
What this means at least for the next three years, and unless we receive further funding is that the following projects have been detrimentally affected or even had to be cancelled (in the case of one project);
- Support for a children’s cerebral palsy unit and cleft lip operations in Sumatra
- School bags and educational supplies for children in the remote “earthquake hit” regions of Helambu, Nepal
- On-going financial support for our orphanage in Sattenapalli, Southern India
- School bags and educational supplies for children in rural areas in Iringa, Tanzania
- Support for our orphanage in Southern India through food, stationery and maintenance of the home
- Continued work to reduce child sex workers and drugs in Mauritius
- the cancellation of our annual “Courage Award” being two fully funded places for one deserving child and their parent from the UK to join a team to see our project and the Orangutans in Sumatra.
When one considers what the charity has accomplished for very many disadvantaged children across seven countries since 2010, the invaluable help and support it has given the most poverty stricken and the lives it has positively changed, it makes this incident even harder to accept. Why anyone would feel it morally acceptable to rob a children’s charity is beyond us and only a question the perpetrator can answer, but accept it we must and move forward by having more people join us on our 2019 trips and in the hope we might be fortunate enough to receive some generous donations.
No doubt in time more information will come to light but in the meantime please share this with your friends, family and employers. Spreading the word and raising awareness of this sorry and unfortunate situation can only be beneficial to the charity and hopefully will result in a public show of community spirit and support in reaching out to put right what has gone wrong for the charity’s children.
Ashley Platen-Mills – Founder
Adventure Aid UK