Back in 2008 Amy and I founded Milele as a way to help children from difficult backgrounds in Kenya to access high quality education. We were young, naive and optimistic; with the help of our family and friends we managed to scrape together the money we needed to get Milele started and began sponsoring the first 4 boys.
Over time, Milele has grown from our original group of 4 boys to 19 children and whilst our family and friends are still being just as amazing as ever, we have added a wonderful group of new sponsors and supporters who help us to keep Milele going.
We have also been incredibly fortunate to be able to employ Rieder as a full time sponsorship coordinator to manage sponsorship on a day to day basis, provide support to more vulnerable families and make sure we are always doing the best for our sponsored children.
Milele will officially be 10 years old in September 2018 and we would love to get together will all of the people who have helped us over the years to celebrate our collective achievements and raise some money for the exciting years ahead.
We have sent out invites to all of our sponsors and supporters (so if you haven’t received one please get in touch and we’ll arrange for a replacement to be sent) and we would now like to extend the invitation out to anyone who is interested in finding out a little more about Milele and helping us raise some money for future children.
The event is being held at Dixie Pavilion in Market Bosworth on the 7th of July 2018, tickets are £60 each and can be bought directly from Amy or myself. We would love to have a room full of people so please consider bringing friends and family with you so we can celebrate together.
For Christmas 2017 we once again ran the ‘Save a Life this Christmas’ programme to raise money for food parcels and mosquito nets which we give out in and around Mtwapa.
We had a fantastic response and managed to raise money for 17 food parcels and 20 mosquito nets. What is even more fantastic is that just before Christmas the exchange rate improved which meant that we were able to stretch the money even further than expected.
Rieder did a fantastic job and provided lots of families with a very welcome gift of food and / or mosquito nets just in time for Christmas. Here are a few photos of the food parcels being put together and some of the happy recipients.
Rich took the plunge today in his first ever open water swim! Some would say he left it rather late with a mere 2 weeks to the big event… gossip speculates that this was an avoidance tactic or perhaps that he was hoping he could back out at the last minute? No chance Rich. We have your number.
The water temperature was a brisk 12.4 degrees but he didn’t let that put him off, warming up with 800 metres in his new wetsuit!
In fact, Rich is now a big fan of wetsuits, in a post-training interview he sung their praise saying “Yes. The wetsuit look is amazing. I’m about to start wearing it out and about – who doesn’t want clothing that smells of rubber, makes noises as you walk and feels like you’re wearing full body spanx? Get on board guys!”
CLICK TO DONATE HERE to make Rich’s painful training this morning worthwhile and keep him motivated as we lead into the big event on Sunday 15th May 2017!
I’m very glad to report that following Lucas and Imogen’s amazing climb, yesterday another 13 Milele volunteers have made it to the summit of Snowdon!
We walked 14.8 km and took a little over 6.5 hours including breaks for eating food and taking photos. Luckily the rain held off but the wind was very strong with 50 MPH gusts at the summit.
Our route took us through 14km of absolutely beautiful terrain slowly climbing to the maximum height of 1085m. There were lots of pretty tricky spots which caused a bit of trouble but we managed to support everyone to make it right to the top!
Huge thanks to all of the volunteers for their amazing hard work climbing and fundraising!
We’ll be collecting sponsorship money over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for the grand total but it’s not too late to donate! Please head over to our donations pageto give big or small and help us support some amazing children to do some amazing things.
We have a group of good friends who we met many years ago whilst doing youth work in Leicestershire. Over time we have been scattered across the UK for university and work but we still meet up when we find an elusive time when we are all free. After we have finished catching up and eating dinner we get onto the topic of Milele. Over the years we have discussed many of the big issues, talked about the direction of Milele and ran a few fundraisers. (See the CPR Marathon)
Last time we met up, someone (who will remain nameless) thought it would be a good idea to suggest a new idea for a fundraiser… Climbing Snowdon!
The bright spark who suggested the idea is a bit of a mountain goat but the rest of us are really inexperienced with this kind of thing. In addition Amy is somewhat terrified of heights and Chloe has a habit of dislocating her limbs both of which might create a few challenges!
We have a donations page and any contributions would be greatly appreciated! Anything you donate will go towards helping us support an amazing young girl through an incredibly hard part of her life.
We will be climbing on the 6th of June so providing I haven’t fallen off I’ll post some photos from the top afterwards.
At the end of February one of our (extremely brave) sponsors and a good friend of mine, Fae Vincent, will be doing a shark dive to raise money for Milele!
She is braving cold water in Edinburgh sea life centre and jumping in with over 60 different species of shark, including one in particular which is pretty dangerous in the wild… you certainly wouldn’t want to bump into one of those on a dark night!
Fae visited Mtwapa herself with me on my very first ever trip back in 2007, where she volunteered at Mtwapa Academy, worked to distribute lots of toys and to help lots of children. She has had a really close link with the children out there ever since and now also sponsors one of our own children, little Saidi. On top of all this Fae is keen to do more to help children in Kenya and is now doing a shark dive to raise some money.
Fae has a target to reach of £450… if we can reach this figure then Milele will receive an additional £155 donation! So we are really working hard to hit this target! If you are reading this and you would like to dig deep and support Fae in her plans then you can donate now!
I’d just like to say a massive thank you for everyone who donated to, advertised and helped with the cycle. It has surpassed all of our wildest expectations and we now had chance to gather most of the money together (if you have any more please contact us to find out how to donate) and wait for the gift aid to trickle in.
We managed to raise more than:
This means that when we go back to Kenya at the end of this week we will be able to sponsor another child!I cannot thank everyone enough for your generousity.
A special thanks really needs to go to Tomo and Andy for their cycling and fundraising efforts, there is no way I could have ever done it without you! This has been one of our best ever fundraising events and I can only say thanks so, so, so much to every one who helped in any way!
We finished our cycle on Sunday evening after about 30 hours of cycling and covering over 330 miles (we may have deviated from the route from time to time). Thank you so much for everyone who has donated! I thought it might be nice to share our experience here for anyone wants a little more information than has been on twitter. Hopefully you will find it interesting.
On the first day we woke in Blackpool at the Ashcroft Hotel, Robert provided us with a great room that was very comfortable. After breakfast we made the short cycle to reach Blackpool North Pier which was the official start point. We took a couple of quick photos and then started our daunting journey. It wasn’t too long before we were unwittingly heading off north through Blackpool in pretty much the exact opposite direction to where we needed to go. We realised after just a few minutes and managed to recover and find our way out of the city towards Preston. Our first stop was on the south side of Preston and came as a very welcome break. Although the terrain was fairly flat we had been riding in cities for most of the first leg and this is really quite unpleasant. For the remainder of the first day we unfortunately had to make our way through an array of towns and cities including: Chorley, Bolton, Leigh, Trafford and finally Congleton. The going was quite tough and navigation was a constant issue as our maps just weren’t detailed enough for the tight twists and turns of built up areas.
About a mile outside of Congleton we had our first flat tyre. A thorn had gone through the wall of Rich’s tyre so luckily it was a fairly easy one to fix. We finished after a very long day of cycling at around 8:00pm with 91.5 miles under our belts and a total of 7:25 cycling time.
Upon arriving in Congleton we met Drew who showed us to our rooms at the Queen’s Head Hotel, it was just about perfect for what we needed. Nice comfy beds and a really good shower! We went into the pub of the same name to find the kitchen had shut for the night. We thought we would have to go about searching for somewhere which was still open until another bar maid came up and said that they would open it back up for us. We were so grateful to hear this and the menu had a dish which just called out to us both after a hard day’s cycling. Beef and Potato Pie!
After a good night’s sleep we got up and ready for the day to begin cycling at 9:00. We managed to make it all of 1/4 of a mile before Tomo got his first puncture. This meant another quick stop to sort this out before we forged ahead on our second full day of cycling. We had been lucky on our first day that the roads had been quite flat, on the second day we had no such luck! The hills began as soon as we left Congleton and they just kept on coming at an alarming rate. One minute we were climbing a really steep hill the next we were hurtling down the other side. The problem with this is that we were going so fast down the hills that our legs had barely had time to recover before the next mini mountain appeared before us. Nevertheless we had to forge ahead and we really had to dig deep to get through the day. We must have consumed 5 or 6 sharing bags of peanut M&Ms over the course of the day and we really used every last drop of energy they gave us. One thing we did enjoy very much about the second day was the stunning landscape that we were cycling through; some of the best views came from the top of hills which gave us a good excuse to stop for a minute’s break. As we started to cycle through North Warwickshire we got a little boost from starting to recognise some place names and knowing that we couldn’t be too much further for our stop for the night. We finished the day at 8:00 at Rich’s home in Wolvey after 80.5 miles and 7:05 hours of cycling. It was great to get home as it gave us the chance to have lovely hot baths and home cooked dinners.
So day three started and we had another long day of cycling ahead of us. Andy joined us at Wolvey and we headed off with at least one of us feeling up to cycling another 80+ miles. The terrain had luckily flattened out a little which made the cycling much easier than the previous day. We started to see more people around as it was a Saturday and this included 9 people jumping out of a plane! Quite late in the day we were going over a rough piece of road, something happened and Rich managed to jar his right ankle. This was the first injury of the trip and very luckily it came close to the end of the day. One of the most memorable points of day 3 came right at the end when we were whizzing down a long hill which stretched into the distance. Tomo had managed to reach about 20mph when a deer ran out into the road less than 10 meters in front of him. We were very lucky that it decided to carry on as that could have been one very bad accident! On the bright side it was incredible to see a wild deer that close; this was followed by seeing several birds of prey in the sky and an incredibly beautiful sunset. We finished the day just north of Reading after 86 miles and 7:35 cycling time. A friend of Tomo’s (Ratty) was good enough to put us up for the night so we had a really great shower and then straight to bed for the night.
So the final day had come. We made our way (by car) back to the north of Reading and set off for the day. We spent our first 20 miles wriggling between cities so we could avoid having to stray onto very busy roads. In my haste to avoid the main roads when planning the route I had inadvertently included a small ford. The river was quite high for the time of year (just less than 1 foot) so we had to carry our bikes through it! We couldn’t risk stripping the chains of oil and the bikes getting damaged when we only one day to go.
We stopped in the morning in a small town called Blackwater to have a snack and a local cyclist who had just popped to the shops struck up conversation saying “Lovely day for a peddle. Where have you come from?”. This was the chance we had been waiting for so casually we said “Blackpool” and his jaw dropped. We then had to confirm that we did start quite some days ago and were not cycling at 100mph! He wished us luck and we went on our way. We had some really nice patches for roads on the final day; one that particularly stands out was the road between Seale and Puttingham which was just fantastic. It was beautiful scenery, a nice big downhill at the start followed by many little ups and downs which you could really keep your speed up through. I don’t think we were the first to think this as we saw more cyclists on this bit of road than anywhere else!
We had been cycling for about half the day and made really great time so we decided to stop for lunch in a small village called ‘Hurtmore’. We seemed to at least still have our sense of humour after so many miles! We started cycling again after lunch with quite some speed. We all knew how close we were to the end and just wanted to get there. As we got nearer our pace rose until we just had to stop about 16 miles from the finish point. We quickly took on energy drinks and food and got back on the road. From here it took us just an hour to reach the sea front but seemed to take forever to make the short trip from Shoreham-on-Sea to Brighton. As we pushed through the sea breeze we drew ever closer to the finish point until the pier was in sight. This gave us all we needed to forge ahead and reach the finish line with a flourish. Our final day had taken us just 6:25 hours and we had covered 81 miles.
When we reached the pier we could see some of our family and friends waving us on and cheering gleefully! It was great to see them all and it really made the end that much nicer. So that was it, we had finished our mammoth cycle all that remained was to get our first estimates of our total. We have smashed our £750 target, partially because Andy decided to come along for the final two days but also because Santander will double Andy’s sponsorship (up to £700) as he is an employee. This means that our total is likely to be in excess of £1000. There is still plenty of money coming in from various places so we will count our final total in a week or so just to make sure we include everything!
Once again thanks for all of your donations and help with organisation. A special thanks goes to Ashcroft Hotel and The Queen’s Head Hotel for providing us with accommodation and food.