News

Connections 40 - Summer 2022 Published: 17 Jun 2022

The Summer 2022 edition of our newsletter Connections (including our 2022 Summer Appeal) is now available and can be viewed online here - www.vinetrust.org/media/connections-newsletter

 

Vine Trust UK Office Team Update Published: 08 Jun 2022

We are delighted that Judy Grace has joined the team as our Expedition Co-ordinator and look forward to her starting on Monday 13th June!

URGENT NEED....

We are still recruiting a Finance Officer and have a need to cover the gap over the summer months. If you or someone known to you might be interested in a part time post over the coming months, please get in touch by emailing finance@vinetrust.org or calling Robert Alexander on 0131 555 5598.

Third Cluster at Kazunzu Published: 29 Apr 2022

Work has just commenced on the next cluster of homes to be built. This will consist of a home for a Head Teacher and the Centre Manager, as well as a Kindergarden/nursery school.

Mrs Luciola Published: 29 Apr 2022

An update from the Forth Hope ship from Dr Ronald Ramirez:

"Mrs. Luciola, 47 years old, suffers from myopia, she couldn't see even the largest letter on the Snellen chart, and she has never worn glasses. Now her life changed because we gave her a free pair of glasses that allows her to see."

2022 Jubilee Hope Expeditions Now Available Published: 10 Apr 2022

We are delighted to announce that applications to join the Jubilee Hope Medical Programme, Tanzania in 2022 are now open.

Over many years we have witnessed the multiple benefits of connecting volunteers with our partner programme in Tanzania through medical expeditions. This collaboration provides a range of opportunities to share knowledge and expertise, working together to develop the medical services for remote island communities.

Volunteers can sign up for trips scheduled to depart from the May through to November via the website - www.vinetrust.org/trips.  Please see the full list of dates below.

Some important information to note:

* Vine Trust recognises that it has a duty of care to the people in the communities in Tanzania, the workers in the Jubilee Hope Programme and to its volunteers.  These volunteer trips will only take place after agreement with our programme partners and regional stakeholders, and in full compliance with all national and international travel guidelines

* If the trip is cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, your deposit can be transferred to another expedition or you can receive a full refund.

If you have any questions regarding the 2022 Tanzania Medical Expeditions, please contact us by email - health@vinetrust.org

 

 

Remarkable Donation to Support our Medical Ships. Published: 16 Mar 2022

We never fail to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of our community of supporters and this month is no different! The good ship “Alexa” is being sold by Michael Schmidt and Partners Yacht Brokers at Inverkip on the Clyde with the proceeds being donated by the owners to support our existing medical ships. More details will follow in the next edition of Connections.

In the meantime, we are grateful to Michael Schmidt and Partners for their reduced brokerage fee in support of our work and to Inverkip Marina for some free berthing during the sale process. Click here for more detail. 

We often say there are many ways to connect and support our work!

Main photograph: “Alexa” with James McPhail and Martin Curtis from the Trust's Marine Group.

Below James McPhail Brokerage Manager at Kip Marina.

 

 

 

Vine Trust March 2022 Newsletter Published: 16 Mar 2022

Welcome to the March 2022 Vine Trust Newsletter. 

Read about the latest developments in this month's newsletter.

Best Regards, 

Vine Trust Team. 

Amazon Hope Update Published: 22 Jan 2022

Dr Ronald Ramirez has shared some photos of patients of the Shipibo-Conibo indigenous community receiving reading glasses.

Ronald reports that “they are happy to be able to obtain reading glasses for free! This changes their lives, and especially for women, as it helps them to embroider clothes, which can be for their daily use or to sell”.

 

Jubilee Hope Celebration Published: 21 Jan 2022

The Jubilee Hope has been visiting islands in the Muleba District of the Lake Zone. During the visit, the ship was visited by the Muleba District Comissioner, Hon. Toba Nguvile, at Chakazimbwe Island, to celebrate the work that the programmes provides to the communities and the new 5-year, multi-partner agreement to continue medical services through the Jubilee Hope Medial Programme.

Hongera sana to all the Jubilee Hope team!

 

 

Amazon Hope Working with Indigenous Communities Published: 19 Jan 2022

Dr Ronald Ramirez has sent us a few photos from the first expedition of the year, which has been working with the Shipibo-Conibo and Ashaninka indigenous communities on the Ucayali River. He reports that they have been delighted to receive the ship and the medical services.

As well as the core primary healthcare services, the team will also be providing vaccinations (including COVID-19) and mental health services in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Peruvian NGO, CEDRO.

This extended expedition will continue until the 17th of February, visiting many new communities for the first time.

First Expedition of 2022! Published: 06 Jan 2022

The Forth Hope set sail yesterday afternoon from Iquitos on the first expedition of 2022!

The team will be visiting communities along the upper Ucayali river for the first time on an extended expedition which will return to Iquitos on the 17th of February.

The MV Amazon Hope 2 (which you can also see in the picture) is at the final stages of the installation of the new engine and will return to service soon.

New Edition of Connections Magazine Published: 02 Dec 2021

Our latest edition of Connections is now available online, where you can read updates on the medical programmes in Peru and Tanzania, including:

  • * A new cooperation agreement for the Jubilee Hope Programme
  • * The new mental health service for the communities reached by the Amazon Hope Programme
  • * The latest news on the fish farm project at Kazunzu Village of Hope
  • * Plans to support the COVID-19 vaccine programme in Peru

 

Access the digital edition here - https://bit.ly/VTConnections39

Amazon Hope Team Continues to Deliver Published: 13 Sep 2021

The Forth Hope set sail yesterday on its latest medical expedition but didn't have to wait long before meeting a new patient...

Dr Ronald Ramirez and the Amazon Hope medical team helped with a home birth this morning. Ronald reports that both mother and baby are doing well!

Amazon Hope – Bringing Care To Remote Communities Published: 02 Sep 2021

One of the key features of the Amazon Hope Programme is that it works with communities to provide services where they are most in need.

It travels, often many hours, along winding Amazon tributaries, to reach riverine villages where healthcare is limited at best, and the option of travelling to a larger town is often outwith the financial reach of families.

Dr Ronald Ramirez, Amazon Hope Programme’s Head of Medical Services, shares with us one such example from the most recent expedition, and how the team were able to bring care and comfort:

“In the community of Puerto Auxilio, the first community to be served, we found a 20-year-old man who had been bitten by a highly venomous snake (Bothrops atrox) two days prior to our arrival. He was in great pain. He said that on the day of the accident he was taken to the Santa Rita de Castilla health center where the doctor told him that they did not have anti-venom and that he should go to Nauta for treatment. [Nauta is more than 5 hours away by boat].

His relatives did not have the means to take him to Nauta and could only hope for a miracle. The miracle arrived on board the Forth Hope ship! We went to his house and administered the anti-venom, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. The next day, he found him in a very favourable condition and the whole family was happy.”

Scotland’s Kiltwalk Published: 16 Aug 2021

After the great success of Scotland's Virtual Kiltwalk earlier this year, Kiltwalk will be making its live return with 'Scotland's Kiltwalk' taking place in Glasgow on Sunday September 26 (with Government guidelines adhered to). Once again, Sir Tom Hunter will be topping up all funds raised by an incredible 50%.  There are two walks available - The Mighty Stride (16.5 miles) that leaves in the morning from Glasgow Green and finishes in Meadow Leisure Centre in Dumbarton or The Wee Wander (3.5 miles) that leaves from Glasgow Green in the afternoon and finishes at the Riverside Museum.

Please consider taking part in this charity event (and select Vine Trust as your chosen charity). Registration is now open, for more information and to register, click here.

All support would be most welcome and much appreciated. 

Vine Trust Team. 

Big Developments in the Amazon Hope Programme Published: 05 Aug 2021

In the most recent edition of Connections we shared news of a new collaboration between the Amazon Hope Medical Programme, USAID and a Peruvian NGO, CEDRO which was to introduce a new mental health project as part of the response to the impact of COVID-19 in remote riverine communities.

We’re delighted to announce that the project has also been approved for a second phase to its work which will see a wider variety of the existing Programme’s activities be expanded and also new activities introduced. This extension to the project’s remit has been the result of hard work and dedication of the Amazon Hope team in Peru, with all their great effort resulting in this very important opportunity to significantly enhance the impact and reach of the Programme.

The new funding, which will last until the end of 2022, will see both medical ships reaching full capacity for expeditions, reaching existing and new communities including Atalaya, Datem del Maranon and Yurimaguas.

As well as the full complement of primary health services provided on the ships, counselling care and support will be available to patients and families, and the project will also run more mental health workshops for children, adolescents and adults.

A key element of the project is the building of local capacity to respond to health needs. Phase 2 will see an expansion of the training for health post personnel as well as materials provided for school teachers and community leaders. There will also be an extension to activities which provide training to communities to help them identify underlying causes behind many of the health challenges they face, as well as the development of locally-led strategies to address them.

The new phase of funding will also allow the Programme to bring in a new team member to work with the communities in the areas of nutrition and safe water, providing education and training as well as laying the foundations for the development of further activities in the future.

It’s a very exciting time ahead and, as the work develops, we’ll be providing more updates in our newsletters and social media.

Peru 2022 Medical Expeditions Published: 22 Jun 2021

We are delighted to announce that applications to join the Amazon Hope Medical Programme, Peru in 2022 are now open.

Over many years we have witnessed the multiple benefits of connecting volunteers with our partner programme in Peru with expeditions. This collaboration provides a range of opportunities to share knowledge and expertise, working together to develop the medical services for remote riverine communities.

Volunteers can sign up for trips scheduled to depart from the end of January through to November via the website - www.vinetrust.org/trips.  Please see the full list of dates below.

Some important information to note:

* Vine Trust recognises that it has a duty of care to the people in the communities in Peru, the workers in the Amazon Hope Programme and to its volunteers.  These volunteer trips will only take place after agreement with our programme partners and regional stakeholders, and in full compliance with all national and international travel guidelines

* If the trip is cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, your deposit can be transferred to another expedition or you can receive a full refund.

* Currently, volunteers will be required to obtain their own travel insurance and book their own international flights. 

If you have any questions regarding the 2022 Peru Medical Expeditions, please contact us by email - health@vinetrust.org

The full Terms & Conditions for 2022 Peru Medical Expeditions can be found here - www.vinetrust.org/assets/docs/uploads/Medical_Expeditions_-_Terms_and_Conditions_-_2022_expeditions.pdf

 

 

The Important Role of Island Dispensaries Published: 09 Jun 2021

When the Jubilee Hope Medical Programme was launched back in 2014, an important element of its design was that it should complement and work collaboratively with existing regional and local health services. 

Although medical services on the islands are limited, a small number of dispensaries mostly run by Africa Inland Church Tanzania, are strategic locations where community members and visiting fishermen can receive medical attention. Whilst the ship has the capacity to visit the islands regularly bringing a team of highly skilled health professionals and specialist equipment, the dispensaries are a permanent fixture on the islands, providing a reference point for the community members for treatment, medication, education and counselling.

Recognising their important role, for the past 5 years the Jubilee Hope medical ship activities have been designed to work closely with the dispensaries in all aspects of the work. Furthermore, the Programme has actively supported activities aimed at strengthening the dispensaries and their capacity to respond to the health needs of the communities and the large numbers of nomadic fishermen that visit.

This support has included capital investment, providing training to the personnel and the incorporation of the dispensaries into the national medical supplies network which has allowed them to receive medicines and equipment from the regional government.  Not only has this improved the quality of services they can provide, but has also supported their objective of becoming more sustainable in the long term.

The fruits of this collaboration, combined with the professionalism, hard work and dedication of the dispensary personnel have never been so visible as during the past 12 months. 

With many health services being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Jubilee Hope medical ship, the dispensaries have underlined how important their role is in delivering health care to the remote islands of Lake Victoria, providing over 25,000 consultations during 2020.

 

The Value of Volunteering Published: 06 Jun 2021

At Vine Trust, we are passionate about volunteering. When it is organised through careful planning and coordination with local partners and communities, volunteer support can bring significant value to the programmes Vine Trust supports in Peru and Tanzania.

We asked Dr Uzia Mohamed from the Jubilee Hope Medical Team to share his perspective on the value of volunteering:

“Volunteer support is undeniably valuable as they invest their time, money, skills and knowledge to treat patients and by offering a helping hand in the pharmacy and lab during each voyage. We consider every volunteer part of the Jubilee Hope family.”

"When speaking to our volunteers about their expeditions, we share three key areas which we believe mutually benefit both our individual volunteers, and our local partners and staff - innovation,encouragements and Inspiration."

1. Innovation

In the medical world, skills sharing can be an invaluable method of improving practices and health outcomes. When volunteers and the local medical team work together, they help each other to find sustainable solutions. Knowledge, and teaching methods, can be shared in both directions, as volunteers and staff learn together. Dr Uzia shared more of his thoughts on these benefits,“The teaching approach can be truly remarkable; I remember a volunteer drawing a face on a balloon and attaching it to a pillow, just to illustrate their point! It’s the small things that we overlook and don’t give enough credit for, that have made us gain a lot of experience, knowledge and skills, but at the same time, create a valuable bond with our volunteers.

2. Encouragement

Alongside knowledge and skills sharing, the participation of volunteers on board our medical ships can be an encouragement to staff involved in the work longer term. Volunteers often act as a catalyst by motivating the team to work collectively. As Dr Uzia shared,“It’s through these interactions with volunteers that we are inspired, feel challenged to go beyond the limits and become better people. We are more resilient, creative and innovative, not just in the work we do, but also at a personal level in our lives.

3. Inspiration

Fuelling everything is inspiration. Working alongside people with different cultural backgrounds and contexts can encourage individuals to be more considerate, flexible and reflective of their relationships with colleagues and patients: “Volunteering helps you enjoy not endure work and go beyond your expectations".  Working with a local team and treating patients from rural communities can be the inspiration for new solutions and perspectives that would otherwise have been neglected. For both volunteer and local team members, working together forms a pool of experiences and knowledge to draw from, during their expedition and for a long time afterwards.

Vine Trust is passionate about the value and impact of volunteering in the communities we work in. From innovation to inspiration, this unique partnership has proven to be an enriching experience for everyone involved.

It’s not just what you do… Published: 04 Jun 2021

In 1939, American Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald released a song which declared that it “'tain't what you do; it's the way that you do it…that's what gets results”.  Those words are actually a pretty good summary of many of the discussions that have been taking place at Vine Trust recently.

Understanding that it’s not just ‘what’ you do but also ‘how’ you do things is key to successful development programmes and projects.  It’s about recognising that the ‘ends’ don’t justify the ‘means’, but rather the way a project is run is of at least equal importance with what is actually achieved.

The work of Vine Trust has grown significantly since it was formed in 1985, but one constant has been the desire to ‘connect people to change lives’.  This ‘connecting’ has been done in a wide variety of ways for thousands of people over the past 36 years.  For many it’s been travelling to Peru or Tanzania to participate on a medical, construction or school expedition.  For others, it’s been supporting one of the Trust’s partnership programmes by generously donating time or resources, participating in a fundraising event or sharing about the work with friends, colleagues and family.  For many people in Peru and Tanzania, it’s been welcoming visitors into their communities and their places of work, participating in activities which allow the reciprocal sharing of culture, knowledge and expertise.

It is this ‘connecting’ which has allowed the work to grow and expand, enriching the lives of so many people from so many different backgrounds – and we want more people to have these opportunities in the years to come.  Together with this aim of connecting more people to the programmes, there has also been the strong desire to ensure that these experiences are rewarding, enriching and beneficial to all. This has been the motivating force behind these conversations of ‘how’ Vine Trust works with its partners, supporters and volunteers.

We feel it’s really important for Vine Trust to share openly and clearly the principles which guide its activities.  So, over the coming months we’ll be sharing more details about how Vine Trust looks to approach all aspects of its work, including its partnerships, programmes and volunteering opportunities. 

Keep an eye on upcoming social media posts and the website for more details.

 

Medical Expeditions Update from Peru Published: 03 Jun 2021

Although the Amazon Hope Medical Programme cannot receive any volunteer support at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ship is still travelling to the communities on a regular basis to provide vital healthcare. 

Dr Ronald Ramirez, Head of Medical Services, writes to share an update:

“The most recent trip in April was successful and we were able to visit communities on the Ucayali River that we have not visited for a year.

We are pleased to report that these communities were apparently only mildly affected by the second wave of COVID-19, according to testimonies from the residents.

Prior to the trip commencing, we were able to coordinate the participation of a Dentist from the Jenaro Herrera Health Centre, who boarded the ship on April 15 and worked alongside the Amazon Hope team until the end of the expedition, providing excellent treatment to all the patients. 

On this expedition we were also joined by a team of Peruvian psychologists from the new mental health project, who were able to hold 78 interviews and 13 meetings with community authorities to gather more information about the needs that exist in the communities, mental health workshops with children as well as provide 97 psychological consultations.

The villagers showed their joy at receiving the visit of the ship after such a long time. Patients with chronic diseases were found who had not been taking their medicines, either because of problems of access to existing services or because of the shortage of medicines in health posts, a situation which has worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most notable amongst the patients were those with diabetes who were found with very worrying glucose levels and pregnant women without adequate prenatal control. 

We were also very pleased to provide care to a 20-year-old woman who had been suffering for a long time with severe swelling and pain in her leg, accompanied by a fever.  We were able to diagnose Tropical Pyomiositis which required minor surgery and antibiotic treatment.  Over the last few days, we have been receiving updates from the local doctor at the nearest health post who has confirmed that she is doing well and very happy to have been given relief from the pain.”

 

Alliance for the Amazon Against COVID-19 Published: 02 Jun 2021

We are delighted to announce that the medical programme in Peru has introduced a new mental health service in 2021.  The project, which will initially run until summer 2022, has been designed in joint collaboration between the Amazon Hope Programme and two Peruvian psychologists who volunteered on board the ship in 2020.  Elena Pila, National Director, shares more information on this exciting development:

“The Amazon Hope Medical Programme has recently sealed an important partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent agency of the United States federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance.

The agreement is part of the ‘Alliance for the Amazon against COVID-19’, an initiative led by USAID and a Peruvian NGO, ‘CEDRO’ to mitigate the adverse social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations in Peru, particularly within indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. USAID, the Alliance and now the Amazon Hope Medical Programme will support the Government of Peru to adequately respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Amazon Hope Programme has become part of the Alliance with an innovative Mental Health proposal that will provide services to the most vulnerable Amazon populations, taking into account their needs and characteristics. The Mental Health project will use an approach that integrates orientation and  counselling for adults and children, as well as training for mental health professionals and community leaders/agents.

All activities will take place alongside our other medical services and will be provided from our vessels, Forth Hope and Amazon Hope 2.”

 

 

 

Kazunzu Village of Hope -  Progress Update Published: 31 May 2021

The development activities at the Kazunzu Village of Hope continue to make good progress with the first two clusters, each with four houses, now complete. These eight homes are the first of 40 that are planned for the village.

The farmland (shambas) connected at the back of the clusters has also been completed. Farming will provide a range of different benefits to the village, including a sustainable food source and income for the families, as well as training opportunities in the local community.

A total of 58 people now live in the homes, with the guardian parents serving as foster families to 4 or 5 orphaned children from the islands or lake zone. 

These 8 houses are home to 34 orphaned children, having been identified by the church (AICT) in partnership with local community leaders and social services. Reports from the residents reveal that, since moving into their new homes, a real sense of community has been developed at Kazunzu. 

Official Opening Ceremony

In celebration of the progress made at Kazunzu and the families moving into the homes, an official opening ceremony was held.  On 18th February, local dignitaries and the families joined with AICT Archbishop Mussa Magwesela as he officially opened the first two clusters (Jerusalem and Bethlehem Blocks).

This was a special day for all involved, in particular for Archbishop Mussa, who had had the original vision of building a sustainable village on the 53-acre site.

Fish Farm

The beginning of the year saw 22,000 tilapia fingerlings being put into the two fish farm cages which have now been installed on the Lake next to Kazunzu.

These fingerlings have been carefully looked after, kept safe and fed by the Kazunzu families. Throughout the development and ongoing care of the fish farm, a local expert has advised and guided AICT and the local families.

The fish produced by the farm will be used to feed the families and also be sold at market.  This project is a key component in the self-sustaining goal of the village and we look forward to news of a good harvest around June/July this year.

Community Hub

Progress continues on the community hub with the foundations of the multipurpose facility now complete and walls of the individual sections under construction.

The structure, locally known as the ‘Boma’, will be the focal point of village life, with a meeting place, kitchen, shop and 3 bedroom clusters. These chalet-type clusters will provide accommodation for visiting work teams during the construction stage of the village. 

The aim is for the Community Hub to be completed over the next few months.

 

Connections 38 Summer 2021 Published: 28 May 2021

The Summer 2021 edition of our newsletter Connections is now available and can be viewed online here - www.vinetrust.org/media/connections-newsletter

The Value of the ‘Little Ship’ Published: 24 May 2021

There is no better way of understanding the value of any work than to speak to the people most impacted by its activities. Ruddy Rodríguez, the Amazon Hope Medical Programme’s Head of Administration, grew up in one of the villages which the Programme works with and still has family living there today.  She shares with us what life was like and the role of the Programme today:

“As a child I lived in the community of La Pedrera on the banks of the Ucayali River.  A few metres away from my house was a medical post for a population of approximately 1,500 inhabitants which was manned by a nursing technician.  Sadly, there were no medicines available and the nurse technician was often absent as her home was in Iquitos, a full 3 days away by boat. This situation meant getting sick was always terrible because of the lack of services and the restrictive cost of traveling to the city in search of medical care. We felt like a forgotten people.

I got sick very often with stomach infections from the contaminated water I consumed, and because of the poor education that the population received about the use of water.  For several weeks each year I did not attend school, which was one of my favorite places. The only thing you could do was to eat some plants that an elderly woman in the community recommended, perhaps with intuition that it might bring some relief.

This was the reality you had to live if you were born far from the city.  Motivated by these challenges, one of my older sisters was excited to go to the city of Iquitos to work and study nursing. 

As she studied, with her limited knowledge, she would provide my mother with medication so that I could be stable and continue going to school.  I lived with these ailments until the age of 11 when we migrated to Iquitos, thanks to the efforts of my siblings to get us out of this beautiful but forgotten village. This is what many in our Amazon aspire to, to improve their situation.

We made a life in Iquitos, my health improved.  I went through secondary school and then graduated from university in Accounting.  Shortly afterwards I started working with the Amazon Hope Programme.  I feel so complete and committed to the fundamental role we play in the Amazon, reaching many communities in which there are no alternative medical services.  It is satisfying to see children, adults and the elderly leaving with a smile after receiving their care and medications.

They are always attentive to the talks we offer at school or in the boat.  Children are no longer afraid of vaccines and the mothers are aware of how important it is to attend vaccination services so that their children can have a better development.  The ‘little ship’, as they call us, is changing lives. 

We have achieved something very important with the communities – their trust.  Wherever we go we also always receive thanks.  They know that they are not alone, we return to them, for the children who are seeing improvements in the health of the Amazon thanks to the Amazon Hope Medical Program of Peru.

I appreciate having the joy of belonging to this Programme and being part of the change so that there are no more children with the childhood that I had. I can say that, with great effort, the Amazon is changing.”

Developing Skills Through Volunteer Expeditions Published: 24 May 2021

Over the years, as our strap line says, we’ve sought to ‘connect people to change lives’.  This has been done in a wide variety of ways, including many volunteers visiting one of our partner programmes in Peru or Tanzania.

At Vine Trust, we are passionate about volunteering for many reasons, particularly the reciprocal benefits that these opportunities can bring to all involved.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing about how this ‘connecting’ of volunteers with people and communities in the programmes has enriched the lives of so many in a variety of different ways, including testimony from our partners about how volunteers can help and support their work.

Hard and Soft Skills

A core element of Vine Trust’s volunteer programmes is to create opportunities for bi-lateral learning.  To achieve this, expeditions are specifically designed with our partners to allow the sharing and transfer of expertise and knowledge on a wide range of areas. 

Visiting medical volunteers, for example, work under the guidance of Peruvian/Tanzanian health professionals to learn about local practice and methodology when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases which are common in that setting. 

In addition, to gain a better understanding of the situation, volunteers are also given insight into the social, cultural and economic factors which impact health in the region.  The expeditions provide opportunities to visit the communities, to see and hear about what daily life is like and some of the challenges that exist.  Volunteers don’t just spend time on the ship, but also visit the homes and places of work of the patients who come for medical attention.

Having been part of a multicultural and multidisciplinary team, learning from each other, volunteers return home reporting many positive impacts on their professional and personal lives:

* 92% of medical volunteers in 2019-20 reported that the experience had enhanced their communication skills

* 88% reported that the opportunity had enhanced their clinical skills.

* 99% indicated that the visit had enhanced their understanding of delivering healthcare to communities with a different context and culture to their own.

* 91% stated that the experience had reinforced their professional capability.

These are just some of the reasons why we’re passionate about volunteering.  When done properly, the benefits are reciprocal and transformative.

Learn more…

Read more about volunteering opportunities, including medical expeditions which are currently open for volunteer applications – www.vinetrust.org/volunteer/medical-expeditions

To request further information or to request a phone call to discuss opportunities to join a future expedition, please send an email to health@vinetrust.org

Guild Project Partnership Scheme Published: 28 Apr 2021

With great excitement and delight, Kazunzu Village of Hope Tanzania is one of six projects selected by The (Church of Scotland) Guild’s Project Partnership Scheme for the three-year period, 2021 to 2024. Local Guilds (there are around 750 groups across the country) choose which project(s) they will support, with many choosing to address two each year over the three-year cycle.

As you are aware, development at Kazunzu has started where Vine Trust and Africa Inland Church Tanzania will create a multi-faceted and sustainable Village, on the shore of Lake Victoria. When complete, around 300 people will live in 40 individual homes. Each home will enable young guardian families to serve as Foster Parents to four or five orphan children from across the islands and lake zone. The children will be identified by the church in partnership with community leaders and social services.  A community hub, primary school, health centre, vocational training centre, community farm and individual family “shambas” are all in the master plan along with various additional facilities.

Vine Trust has had a connection with many local Guild groups over the years and being selected as one of their partner projects is a great opportunity to raise awareness further. Our partnership with the Guild over the next 3 years will enable us to ‘fact track’ the project with the hope of completing the village over the next 4 years rather than 10 years.

Watch out for future updates.

2021 Peru Expeditions Update Published: 19 Apr 2021

Vine Trust is delighted to be announcing that expeditions to join the Amazon Hope Medical Programme, Peru in 2021 are now open again!

You can sign up for trips scheduled to depart from September to November 2021 via the website - www.vinetrust.org/trips.

Details of 2022 trips will be announced in May.

Vine Trust recognises that it has a duty of care to the people in the communities in Peru, the workers in the Amazon Hope Programme and to its volunteers.  These volunteer trips will only take place after agreement with our programme partners and regional stakeholders, and in full compliance with all national and international travel guidelines.

Some important information to note:

* Registration for 2021 expeditions requires a £100 deposit. This reduced booking fee is for 2021 trips only.

* A final decision if a volunteer expedition is going ahead will be made 8 weeks prior to departure.

* If the trip is cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, your deposit can be transferred to another expedition or receive a full refund.

* If the trip is confirmed, full payment for the expedition will be required at this date.

* At this time, only volunteers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to join the expeditions. Approved forms of evidence will be confirmed closer to time of departure.

* Volunteers will be required to obtain their own travel insurance once the trip has been confirmed.

* Volunteers will book their own international flights once the trip has been confirmed.

 

A Zoom session will be held on 28th April for any volunteers interested in joining a 2021 expedition to ask any questions and receive more information.  To sign up for this Zoom session, please contact health@vinetrust.org

In the meantime, any questions can also be sent to health@vinetrust.org

Putting the ‘Fun’ in Fundraising Published: 09 Apr 2021

Every year, charities like Vine Trust depend upon the generous donations and fundraising of its supporters but the ‘normal’ bake sales, marathon events, coffee mornings have just not been possible over the past year or so.  However, despite the restrictions, many of Vine Trust’s supporters have used their creativity, sacrificing their time and hard work to look for new ways to raise funds in these difficult circumstances.  With spring arriving, the weather (hopefully) getting better and many of the restrictions planned to be relaxed in the coming weeks, we’d like to share one such example with you, in the hope that it may encourage and also inspire you to connect with others about the work of Vine Trust…

Dr Lois Sproat has visited both the Amazon Hope and the Jubilee Hope medical programmes which Vine Trust partners with in Peru and Tanzania.  As well as travelling to join the expeditions, Lois has also held events to raise funds over the past few years for the programmes and also to help other volunteers, including hosting summer garden parties at her home.

Rather than allow the COVID restrictions to get in the way, Lois embarked on an ambitious and highly creative ‘virtual’ garden party instead.  Invitations were sent out to friends and family to purchase boxes filled with scones, jam, cream, sandwiches and cakes which were available for delivery or socially-distanced collection.  Blessed with a beautiful sunny day at the end of June, the many boxes were collected and distributed, to be enjoyed in small groups across the community.  Many who took part shared photos of them enjoying the virtual party in their home gardens, and Lois even held a raffle in the afternoon.

The whole event proved to be a wonderful opportunity to connect friends and family, enjoying their own mini garden parties which were also part of a much larger activity – and all with the ultimate aim of raising funds to support the work of Vine Trust.

  

Later in the year, inspired by the success of this event, Lois decided to organise some virtual tea & coffee catch-up meetings with friends.  Emails were sent out to friends to see if they would like to join Lois for a chat over tea/coffee over Zoom as part of a fundraising event.  In the end, 9 different small groups of 3-4 people took part in these virtual events, with everyone being incredibly generous in their support.

The hard work, sacrifice, dedication and faithfulness of our volunteers continues to be a huge source of encouragement to all at Vine Trust. 

Despite the restrictions, both these events truly did fit with Vine Trust’s aim to ‘connect people to change lives’.  What creative ways could you use to share with others about the work taking place and raise funds to support the programmes in Peru and Tanzania?

Peru volunteer Expeditions Update Published: 09 Apr 2021

Vine Trust Chief Executive, Willie McPherson, provides an update on medical volunteer expeditions to Peru in 2021.

Watch the video for more information.....

The Kiltwalk 2021 Published: 24 Mar 2021

Please consider supporting Vine Trust by joining the 2021 Kiltwalk. 

The Kiltwalk will be an  important part of our fundraising this year. Listen to Willie as he explains how your involvement in the Kiltwalk will be  great support to the work of Vine Trust. 

The virtual Kiltwalk takes place on April 23 - 25 and to sign up, go to www.thekiltwalk.co.uk (During the application process, please select Vine Trust as the charity you are supporting).

Thank You. 

Life in a Rural Amazon Community Published: 22 Mar 2021

Roger Dávila now lives in Scotland with his family but for many years worked with the Amazon Hope Programme in Peru in a variety of roles.

In this video Roger talks about the work of the Programme, what the services mean for the people in the communities and the role volunteers can play in supporting the local team.

Families at Kazunzu Published: 19 Mar 2021

Click below to get another chance to meet the 8 families now living at Kazunzu Village of Hope, Tanzania. 

March 2021 Newsletter Published: 12 Mar 2021

Welcome to the Vine Trust March 2021 Newsletter. 

Read here to get the latest updates from Vine Trust. 

An Evening with the Chairman Published: 11 Mar 2021

Would you like to join a Zoom Session with Vine Trust Chairman Mr Alec Carstairs? 

Alec will give the latest update on the work of Vine Trust and then take questions. 

The session is scheduled for Wednesday 24th  March at 7:30pm. To take part, please register your interest to admin@vinetrust.org and a zoom link will be sent to you prior to the 24th. 

Hope you can join Alec. .

International Women’s Day Published: 08 Mar 2021

Today marks International Women’s Day - a celebration of the achievements and contributions women make globally.

Vine Trust would like to wish a very happy #InternationalWomensDay to the many amazing women who play such a vital role in the development of the work and in the communities in Tanzania, Peru, and the UK!

First Amazon Hope Expedition of 2021 Published: 03 Feb 2021

Despite all the challenges in during 2020, the Amazon Hope Programme was still able to deliver 35,121 consultations during that time.  Working closely with the regional authorities, the Programme was able to restart visits to the communities in September, completing an additional 4 expeditions before the end of the year.  Much of the success of these trips was a result of strengthening links with the health teams based in some of the remote villages, who worked side by side with the Amazon Hope teams on many of the expeditions. 

Building upon the progress of last year’s activities, we are delighted to report that the Forth Hope set sail on Monday the 1st of February from Iquitos on its first medical expedition of 2021.

The ship will travel for 20 days along the Ucayali River, working with the local communities to provide health services, all under the region’s approved COVID-19 protocols.

The Programme personnel, based in Lima and Iquitos, have been working very hard since the turn of the year to put into everything into place to make the trip a success.

We are also incredibly grateful to all who generously supported the Crowdfunder campaign which VT launched at the end of last year.  Supporters from many parts of the work, including the UK, USA and in Peru, came together to raise sufficient funds to make it possible for the programme to run 20 medical expeditions in 2021.

 

KILTWALK 2021 Published: 19 Jan 2021

Scotland’s Kiltwalk is to be held from the 23-25th of April.

With it being a virtual event again this year, you can take part wherever you are and all funds raised for charity through your efforts will be boosted by an additional 50%!

We would like to invite the Vine Trust community to come together again to help ensure our overseas programmes continue in this difficult time.

Can you help us reach our target of raising £30,000 for the work of Vine Trust by taking part?

You can find out more information about Kiltwalk and register to take part at the website - www.thekiltwalk.co.uk

During the application process you can indicate that you are selecting Vine Trust as your charity to support.

MV Forth Hope Amazon COVID Crowd Funding Appeal                                                                 Published: 17 Dec 2020

16th December 2020

YOU DID IT!

Earlier this evening I was delighted to not only receive the total funds pledged on our Crowd Funding Appeal Page, but to add up the total of off line giving here in the UK and finally to include the total of funds raised in Peru.

I am delighted to report that the total amounts to £51,500

(Watch the video and scan down for the rest of Willie's letter). 

 

   
 
Eight weeks ago when we were planning our 2021 budgets after a year in which the Trusts income was reduced by 50%, we feared that MV Forth Hope would at best be only able to operate at 50% capacity due to available funds so we launched a crowd funding appeal to replace the lost funding that our volunteer medics would typically bring to the project. Your generosity has made up that shortfall, so that we can ensure full deployment throughout 2021 and aim for our annual target of some 100,000 consultations during the new year to be met.

It is hugely humbling for us as a Trust to receive your support and to recognise the trust you place in us and our overseas colleagues. Thank you so much for your partnership and kindness. So much came together in the last 10 days which makes the result such an encouragement to everybody associated with the project.

On behalf of Vine Trust and our partners Projecto Medico Esperanza Amazonia Peru ( Amazon Hope Medical Project Peru) thankyou.

With warmest best wishes for the festive season, Christmas and 2021.

Kind regards,

Willie McPherson

Chief Executive

Indigenous Group’s Support for Amazon Hope Medical Programme Published: 11 Nov 2020

The MV Forth Hope has recently returned from another expedition, this time to communities along the Puinahua river. 

Dr Ronald Ramirez, the programme’s Head of Medical Services, has sent in a report where he highlights some of the medical needs which were most in demand during the expedition, as well as details of an important collaboration with a local indigenous groups and health facilities.

“Most of the communities in the Puinahua river basin are recognized as indigenous communities. Each of these communities has a leader and among them they have organized to form an Indigenous Federation, which is led by Mr. James Pérez.

The Federation of Indigenous People is currently participating in discussions with the Regional Government and an oil company that is working in this area. The dialogue is to obtain greater benefits for the communities in the areas of health, education, electricity.

As part of our recent trip to this area, it was important for me to meet with Mr Pérez and share with him about the Amazon Hope Programme and the work we do.  Mr Pérez told me that he already knew of the work of the programme and that in previous years he himself was a volunteer nursing technician at the Huacrachiro health post (Puinahua river), his native community, and that he has good knowledge of the health problems for the people living in the region. He was very supportive of the work that the programme is doing in the region with the communities and will seek to support through the Federation's links with government and corporate contacts.

The recent expedition also saw us working alongside health workers from the Bretaña Health Centre, which is located in the capital of the Puinahua district.  The Centre’s newly appointed manager is Dr Henry Cora, who only took office two months ago and is very excited to continue working in coordination with the Amazon Hope Programme. The Health Centre has professional staff hired in response to the current COVID-19 challenges and also through the Directorate of Indigenous Populations of the Regional Ministry of Health.  Through this support, Dr Cora has offered to assemble a complete team to accompany us on our next expedition in November and seek the provision from the regional health authorities for medicines to be used in the treatments of the patients.”

During the last trip to the Puinahua basin, the following health needs were found in the communities, many exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19-related travel and work restrictions which limited health care service availability, including access to medication:

• High demand for dental care, both for the recuperative and preventive.
• Increased number of women who became pregnant when unable to stop using contraceptive medicine due to supplies not being available and who now require prenatal care.
• Increased number of children who require vaccination in line with the national vaccination schedule. The need is even greater due to a diphtheria outbreak that is taking place in Peru and which highlights the low vaccination coverage that has worsened during the pandemic.
• Greater number of children requiring growth and development control and iron supplements.
• 100% of patients with diabetes found with glucose levels higher than 400 mg/dl, some of them had values ​​so high that the glucometer only indicated HIGH, so we had to proceed to hydrate them and restart the treatment immediately.
• 90% of patients suffering from hypertension were without medication treatment, with blood pressure values ​​higher than 180.
• Health Centres and health post reported a scarcity of medicines since they were not supplied regularly during the pandemic.”

Further updates on the work will be shared after the next upcoming trip, which will be the last expedition for 2020.  To help with the ongoing delivery of these health services in 2021, we would be grateful if you would consider supporting our crowdfunding campaign -  www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-support-amazon-communities-affected-by-covid

 

The Indirect Impact of Covid-19 on Communities   Published: 02 Nov 2020

The rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in many European countries has recently seen their respective governments respond with measures and controls not witnessed since the very early impacts of the virus back in the spring.  These decisions have often come with great reluctance, primarily due to an ever-increasing acknowledgement that these lockdown-type restrictions have multiple and complex indirect consequences on the population beyond the more obvious impacts on the economy. 

And these indirect impacts are being seen around the world.  The Amazon Hope (AH) Medical Programme is based in Iquitos, the Peruvian city worst hit at the beginning of the pandemic.  Lockdown measures were quickly introduced, which restricted travel between the city and the many hundreds of river communities for all but essential services.  Due to the concern of spreading the virus to the villages, all mobile health services were also suspended, including the visits by the AH Programme’s ships.

Thankfully, the local COVID-19 situation has improved and the programme was able to return to service in September under strict protocols and procedures.  Whilst the Amazon Hope team were delighted to receive reports from the communities that the impact of virus had been very low, it was also challenged to see how the lack of medical care and support had resulted in exacerbating other health issues.

Amongst these were increased levels of malnourishment and anaemia amongst children.  Travel restrictions not only made the trade of food more difficult between Iquitos and the communities, but also the regular vitamin and supplements provided by health services to children had not taken place over many months.  The AH team also reported many women being unable to access their contraceptive medication as normal resulting in an increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies, which bring with them a significant additional emotional, physical and economic challenge.

These or similar indirect consequences are being repeated in villages, towns and cities across the world and the legacy of the virus will undoubtedly include an increase in non-COVID-19 related health issues for many months and years to come as a result of restrictions and controls that had to be put in place.  Faced with these challenges, Vine Trust is as committed as ever to support our overseas partners as best we can in the development and delivery of vital healthcare services to isolated and vulnerable communities in Peru and Tanzania.

To find out more about the work of the AH Programme, please see the following page – www.vinetrust.org/about/medical-services

VT also has a crowdfunding page for the AH Programme’s expeditions to the communities in 2021.  If you were able to support this initiative, please click this link - www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-support-amazon-communities-affected-by-covid/backers#start

 

 

Help us support Amazon Communities affected by Covid19 Published: 22 Oct 2020

Click the video below and hear Willie introduce this appeal: 

It has been over three years since our last crowd funding campaign which helped deliver the MV Forth Hope Medical ship to the Peruvian Amazon where it has proved to be an outstanding resource in serving the Peruvian Amazon and its tributary rivers. Unfortunately, as reported in the press, the Amazon City of Iquitos where Forth Hope is based has been one of the worst affected cities in Peru by the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Since 17th September Forth Hope has resumed its monthly medical expeditions in a Covid secure manner but we urgently need support to continue deploying the ship at this time of emergency whilst health budgets are limited across the Amazon Region.

The ship is now operating in a Covid secure manner and subject to funding will continue to do so throughout 2021.

We urgently require to raise £50,000 to bridge the gap between available funds and the required budget to maintain our full schedule of expeditions in 2021.

If you feel this is something you could help us with, we would appreciate any support and you will find information on the Crowdfunder page which will tell you more about our plans.

Crowdfunder Page Link

Please help us by sharing the link to this page / this email with your family and friends.  

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-support-amazon-communities-affected-by-covid

Would you be willing to consider supporting this appeal and share it with all your contacts to do the same?

We are delighted that crowd funder has agreed to waive all fees for any Covid Appeal and would be hugely grateful for any support you may be able to give.


With our sincere thanks and best wishes at this time.

The Vine Trust Team

Happy Families Published: 06 Oct 2020

Join me and have a wee peek into family life within cluster 1 at Kazunzu Village of Hope. Children who now have a home, a future and a family - Happy Families indeed! 

 

Update from Kazunzu Published: 18 Sep 2020

Join Samuel Limbe as he gives an update on the Kazunzu and shows us round one of the family homes. Many thanks Sam. 

Volunteering and UK Update Published: 02 Sep 2020

Please see the following update from Willie McPherson.  

 

Elly visits one of the homes built in 2015 Published: 21 Aug 2020

Join Elly as he visits the home of Anton and Emma. The home was built in 2015 by Vine Trust volunteers. 

Elly at home with Mama Valentina Published: 12 Aug 2020

Join Elly Kimaro as he visits the home of Mama Valentina. The home was built in 2017 by a workparty from Babcock. Enjoy

Meet the first children to arrive at Kazunzu Published: 03 Aug 2020

It's a special day.  Watch this short video from Samuel as he introduces the first children to arrive at Kazunzu Village of Hope. 

At Home with Elly Published: 30 Jul 2020

Join Elly Kimaro as he revists the home build by the Vine Trust 2018 General Workparty in the Moshi Region of Tanzania. Come inside with Elly and see around ...... and don't miss seeing the goats. Click to watch. 

Our thanks again to Elly. 

Latest News from Peru Published: 27 Jul 2020

Elena Pila, National Director PMEAP, provides an update on the COVID situation in Peru. 

Many Thanks Elena. 

Elly revisits Home 100. Published: 22 Jul 2020

Elly Kimaro sent a couple of short videos from his visit to the 100th home build by Vine Trust volunteers in the Moshi Region of Tanzania. It's the home of a young girl called Eva Marie and her grandmother Rosemary. The video starts with an introduction from Willie.

Our thanks to Elly. 

Searching for water at Kazunzu Published: 13 Jul 2020

Kazunzu Village of Hope, may be on the side of Lake Victoria but the search for water for the village continues. Watch Willie introduce a video update from Samuel Limbe.   

Good News!  First Families at Kazunzu. Published: 10 Jul 2020

Watch Samuel Limbe welcoming and introducing the first two families to Kazunzu! Click Here

Good News Story - on the way! Published: 09 Jul 2020

Please see the 'Heads Up' video from Willie McPherson about some exciting news from Kazunzu. 

A Message from Elly Published: 03 Jul 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in none of our summer trips to Tanzania going ahead. Elly Kimaro, Senior Tanzania Coordinator, who had been looking forward to welcoming all our volunteers sends the following message. Click here to view. With all our thanks to Elly. 

Vine Trust Update from Willie Published: 23 Jun 2020

Watch the following update from Willie McPherson. Click here.

Good news update from Vine Trust Published: 22 Jun 2020

A good news story from Vine Trust this week.

I’m delighted to advise you that our Chief Exec, Willie McPherson, is recovering well from a long illness over the last 3 months and is planning a gradual return to work from this week.  Please welcome him back !!

There will be more news coming from him in the future but I’m delighted that he is getting stronger each week. 

Alec Carstairs, Chairman

International Nurses Day Published: 15 May 2020

As part of International Nurses Day on Tuesday 12th May, members of the Royal Family interviewed various charities in celebration of the day. Vine Trust was honoured when our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, had a zoom conversation with Ronald Kebaso (Jubilee Hope Medical Programme Manager and a trained nurse / midwife). Ronald was delighted to be interviewed and was very positive and thankful to our Patron for her continued support. To view the official royal video, click here and watch out for Ronald.

Our thanks to Ronald.

Message from the Chairman Published: 07 May 2020

Dear Friends,

COVID 19 has changed our lives and I hope that you are managing to cope with all of the restrictions imposed on us. I hope most sincerely that you and are your family are healthy and safe.

COVID 19 has also made a significant impact on the work of your charity, Vine Trust.  As Chairman, I want to update you with the current status as follows:

  • All school trips planned for this summer to Tanzania have been cancelled.
  •  
  • We have an expedition trip to Kazunzu, Tanzania  planned for October but it is at risk.
  •  
  • All bookings of medical volunteers for Peru and Tanzania are at risk for the remainder of this year.
  •  
  • MV Forth Hope and MV Amazon Hope, based in Iquitos, Peru, have been berthed at the request of the Peruvian Authorities since the start of April.  Our key medical team, based in Peru, are working for the Ministry of Health.
  •  
  • MV Jubilee Hope stopped its work on Lake Victoria last week and is berthed in Mwanza, Tanzania.
  •  
  • We closed the Barge office in Leith, Edinburgh at the start of the lockdown in UK and 5 of our staff are currently on furlough with the remaining 3 staff working from home.   

 

Although we finished 2019 in a good financial position, we now seek to save costs throughout each of the programmes to get through 2020. The UK government support through the furlough scheme has been helpful for meeting the wage costs of our staff. We continue to plan to construct key buildings and to start the fish farms in Kazunzu, Tanzania, as the resources are available to do so.  These plans may change if COVID 19 causes further restrictions to movement in Tanzania. An additional challenge in Tanzania is that they have experienced very high rainfall over the past few weeks with severe flooding across the country making access to the site at Kazunzu more difficult.

Our partners, AICT, TAWREF and ELCT in Tanzania continue with their programmes to provide shelter and care for the vulnerable people in their areas.  Tanzania is beginning to show significant increases in positive cases of COVID 19.  In Peru, the lockdown is easing but the medical programme will not restart in order to protect the villages in the Amazon. Conditions in Iquitos are very difficult with many cases of COVID19 and a lack of equipment and medical resources.

We remain very concerned for our staff in Tanzania and Peru, especially our frontline medical teams some of whom have tested positive to COVID 19. Much of the work of Vine Trust in UK has paused during the lockdown and we will restart when the restrictions are eased. We thank you for your support during these challenging times and we look forward to sharing further news in the next few weeks. Many of our bookings for this year have rebooked for 2021 which we hope will be another year of significant progress.

Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook sites for news on a regular basis.

Many thanks again for your continued support

Alec Carstairs, Chairman

An Update from Vine Trust Published: 09 Apr 2020

In light of the ongoing and uncertain global health pandemic, Vine Trust would like to keep you informed of our latest developments. Please check back on this page for any updates as the situation develops. 

 

Thursday 9th April

Due to the evolving health situation surrounding COVID-19 and the government response, Vine Trust has been faced with financial and organisational challenges, as have many others across the globe.

With worldwide restrictions on international travel, border closures and lockdowns, our UK team has seen significant changes: our upcoming school expeditions have been postponed until 2021 where possible, all 2020 building expeditions have been put on hold, the Amazon Hope medical programme has had to temporarily suspended its activities due to restrictions on movement within the region and a number of the medical personnel seconded to support local efforts.  At the moment, activities in the Jubilee Hope Medical Programme and the Kazunzu Village of Hope are still being actioned by our partners and their national personnel, but this could change in the coming weeks if local COVID-19 responses dictate. In light of these challenges, the decision has been taken to temporarily suspend certain aspects of Vine Trust’s UK-based activities.

From Monday 13th April, our Expeditions Team and Communications & Events Officer will be placed on furlough. In accordance with the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furloughed staff will not be able to work during their furlough period and will have no access to emails. Vine Trust will continue to have a core admin team in place who will work to support our partners and volunteers during this period. All emails sent will be automatically forwarded to the admin core support team (or can be contacted on 0131 555 5598).

 

Friday 27th March

Our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, has written a message of support. Read the message here. 

 

Thursday 26th March

Our Chief Executive, Rev Willie McPherson has written an update on our programmes. Read more here: A Message From Our Chief Executive.

 

Tuesday 24th March

We are delighted to report that the Forth Hope has returned to Iquitos after the completion of it's latest journey to the communities of the Amazon river. The in-country medical team set out in early March, and have provided the local communties with primary health and dental care; a level of service which they would not otherwise receive due to the remote and isolated nature of the communities. 

Last year we marked our 2 millionth consultations provided by our medical programmes. As we look towards an uncertain time of global health, we hope that these ships and local teams can continue (albeit without the international volunteers) to provide this much needed service as safely and cautiously as possible at this difficult time.  Both programme national offices will coordinate with their respective regional health authorities for guidance and instruction on these matters. 

 

Friday 20th March 2020

The Vine Trust office is closing and all staff will be working remotely until further notice. If you need to reach one of our teams, please email us at admin@vinetrust.org. 

 

Monday 16th March 2020

In light of the evolving health situation surrounding COVID-19 and government response, Vine Trust are taking every measure available to us to manage the organisation of our expeditions at this time.

As the health and safety of our volunteers is paramount, Vine Trust are working to make contact with all of our building and medical volunteers concerning their scheduled trips. At this point in time, we will not be taking any further trip bookings for 2020. All UK office barge venue bookings will also be suspended until further notice. 

As the situation is ever-changing in the UK, Tanzania, and Peru, we know that many of our partners, supporters, and volunteers share in the uncertainty of the future. Vine Trust will be monitoring all developments and we thank you all for your understanding and patience at this time.

If you need to contact our team, who may be working remotely, the best way to reach us is via email. Any general enquiries made to admin@vinetrust.org will be forwarded to the relevant team who will respond accordingly. Please check back on this page for any updates as the situation develops. 

A Message From Our Chief Executive Published: 29 Mar 2020

Dear friends and supporters,

As we all seek to manage in extraordinary times, I firstly want to send you and your extended family our best wishes and good health as we all find ourselves in national lock down.

As an international volunteering development charity, we are acutely aware of how fortunate we are in the United Kingdom to have an exceptional NHS and to observe the outstanding national response by over 500,000 volunteers to do all that they can to support our selfless NHS and Social Care Staff.

As a nation our focus is rightly here in the UK, but as a Trust it is also about seeking to support our colleagues in Peru and Tanzania as they too face the coronavirus and all that it will bring to their countries. At time of writing, our team in Peru is in detailed discussions with the Regional Health Directorate in direct response by them to use our ships to support COVID-19 monitoring in the Amazon river communities.

In Tanzania, Jubilee Hope likewise on its return to port will be at the disposal of the Regional Health Authorities to support their plans in support of the island communities and at Kazunzu Village of Hope, funding is already in place to continue construction throughout 2020 subject to any movement restrictions.

The closure of international borders and the automatic requirement for quarantine in both Peru and Tanzania has made our volunteering expeditions for the foreseeable untenable. A good number of schools due to travel in summer 2020 are now looking at postponement till 2021 and our medical volunteers are hugely impacted by the needs here in the UK, quite apart from the closure of airline scheduled services.

As a Trust a huge part of our income will be affected during 2020 and we will be taking all necessary steps to mitigate this for our overseas partners and UK staff and operations.

We are very conscious that many people will be facing huge uncertainty at this time not least financially but would like to invite our community of supporters to consider giving whatever they can, large or small, so that we can maintain core programmes and put ourselves in the best possible place for when this crisis passes. 

Our office is operating remotely, post is being received and of course online and telephone is available during office hours, though it may take us a bit longer than usual to respond.

Kind regards and thank you for your connection with Vine Trust and the part you have played in enabling us to reach our 35th year and deliver the programmes we have achieved with our overseas partners.

With sincere best wishes for good health in the coming weeks.

Rev Willie McPherson

***

If you can support Vine Trust and our programmes, pelase consider giving here. 

Spring Connections Released! Published: 27 Mar 2020

Our latest edition of our Connections newsletter is ready to ready online. Read it here and a message from our Chief Executive here. 

Family Homes Almost Completed! Published: 25 Mar 2020

The wonderful fundis (builders) have been working hard to complete painting and the finishing touches on the homes for Filomena and her mother Bernadetta. The construction of the house was supported by volunteers from Inverness Royal Academy in February; Tanzania Senior Coordinator Elly stopped by earlier this week to check out the progress.

In these uncertain times we are humbled by the great work of our partners and the strength of the communities in which they work.

Filomena and Bernadetta's home 

Community Empowerment Through Knowledge Sharing and Involvement Published: 25 Mar 2020

By Ronald Jackson, Jubilee Hope Programme Manager

The Jubilee Hope Programme began six years ago on the islands of Lake Victoria and was started as a response to the healthcare needs of the islanders. It followed an in-depth assessment of the community health needs that was carried out before the programme started. The findings included high child mortality, high rates of preventable diseases, lack of access to essential healthcare, lack of safe water supply, poor sewage and waste disposal among many other difficulties.

Looking at the health situation described above, one would easily wonder where to start. The Vine Trust and the African Inland Church Tanzania who are partners in the Jubilee Hope Programme, sought to work with other stakeholders in addressing the situation that the island communities were facing. Key among these stakeholders were the community members themselves and their leaders who were involved in the assessment, diagnosing, planning and implementation of interventions.

One gap identified during the assessment phase was the lack of knowledge on disease prevention and control of preventable communicable diseases. The key intervention in this gap was the sharing of public health information. Therefore, it was considered very necessary to share with the islanders the information regarding preventable diseases. This had to be done in a language and manner that is easy to understand and applicable to the islands circumstances and in respect to their culture.

The Jubilee Hope Programme has been successful in the sharing of public health messages, mostly it has been more informal than formal. This has been because a majority of the islands community have had limited formal education, therefore making it difficult to use formal education system to share the public health information. We mainly used public speaking including the use of pictorial posters to pass on the messages.

In implementing the interventions planned, the Jubilee Hope considers community involvement as key in ensuring empowerment. This involvement ensures that the community makes a contribution in ideas and other means to the intervention therefore fostering ownership. We have been successful in this through meetings with both community leaders and members from the islands that we serve. This has also been successful through participation in community activities like an organised community cleaning day planned for every first Saturday of the month and through sports, particularly, starting a men’s football club (very popular on the islands where we serve). This has led to the programme expanding to initiate other smaller projects like the safe water provision and women’s HIV Support Groups. It is within these groups that we have been able to forge a strong relationship with the islands communities we serve and through this we have seen real changes in the health status of the islanders.

In conclusion, indeed knowledge is power and knowledge shared is knowledge gained. An involved community is an empowered community. This has been true for the islanders and the Jubilee Hope Programme.

The Remote Communities of the Amazon Published: 20 Mar 2020

The Amazon region has the world’s largest river system and is the lifeblood of a complex mosaic of ecosystems as well as home to millions of people who depend upon it for fishing, farming and transport. Whilst sustaining life through its rich resources, these same rivers can be, paradoxically, the biggest obstacle to the health of its inhabitants.

As well as the large majority of the water being unsuitable for safe consumption due to biological components and/or contamination from industry, the yearly fluctuations in river water levels caused by the seasonal changes impacts daily life in dramatic ways. Trillions of gallons of water transform the region during the rainy season, whilst the contrasting dry season can see river levels dropping by up to 10 metres, cutting off some smaller tributaries or making them almost unnavigable by anything bigger than small canoes.

The Amazon Hope Programme has to take these challenges into account when planning its yearly activities. In February, following a request from local community leaders and the Ministry of Health, the Forth Hope visited a remote tributary, the Tapiche River, with a team of Peruvian health professionals and Vine Trust volunteers providing vital medical care to the different villages for the first time since 2018.

One of the volunteer team, Scottish GP, Maris Buchanan reflected upon this visit to the Tapiche communities:

“The Peruvian medical team were keen to extend their services to this area, the river certainly provided navigational challenges for the crew and for the volunteers this was another area to explore.

The Tapiche River was narrow and very winding but the water level was sufficient for Forth Hope to progress without becoming grounded. Sailing so close to the river banks meant that one had the feeling of really being in the jungle. There were interesting birds to see, pink dolphins were around most days and monkeys were occasionally spotted in the trees.

Compared with larger less remote villages, one had the impression that for villages on the Tapiche River the people are living in even more basic conditions. There was often little evidence of any electricity in the villages and we did not see any new latrines or any clean water projects. There are some really isolated villages in the forest accessible only by walking along the river bank or by canoe via small channels.

“Clinical work on the Amazon involves seeing lots of people with coughs and colds, musculo-skeletal aches and pains, gastrointestinal disorders and skin problems and the work in the villages on the Tapiche River was no different. However, there were more patients requiring minor surgical procedures and with wounds requiring cleaning and dressing.

There were many, many babies and children and I think that the antenatal, contraceptive and immunisation programmes provided mainly by the Peruvian medical team were invaluable. The daily clinics were very busy and our last clinic, at the furthermost point we reached on the river, was especially busy as people were coming by canoe from villages further upstream. Even without mobile phone signals, news about the Forth Hope was spreading quickly!”

You can find out more about our medical programmes by visiting our medical page or getting in contact with our medical team at health@vinetrust.org.

Calling All Teachers! Published: 03 Mar 2020

We are delighted to announce that we will be running a building expedition to Tanzania in the summer of 2021 for primary and secondary school teachers who would like to spend two weeks during their summer holiday on a rewarding, life-informing trip.

The expedition will have an education focus, giving you the opportunity to build on your professional and personal development. With visits to local schools to share with and learn from teachers in the local area, the trip will provide unique learning opportunities to bring into your classroom and school back home.

“I would highly recommend this challenge to anyone hoping to "make a difference". That "difference" has extended far beyond the time spent in country working with inspiring people, and something that I believe will be life-long!"

Jill Drummond, Clifton Hall School, Edinburgh

Be part of a team of teachers from across the country on our July 2021 Teachers' Building Expedition. To find out more and register interest click here.

My Vine Trust Story: Elly Kimaro Published: 01 Mar 2020

We recently spoke to Elly Kimaro, Senior Tanzania Coordinator about his Vine Trust story. Read on to find out more about Elly!

When did you start working with Vine Trust?

It was the year 2013; soon after university I started looking for a job. It was very difficult to find a job as I was just a graduate with no experience. So I was looking for even a place to volunteer, when I came across Gilly Sifuel who was leading Vine Trust groups at that time. He connected me with Vine Trust and I started working as a volunteer, assisting teams. The year after I was very happy to have my first contract with Vine Trust - up to this year I have managed to lead a lot of teams from Vine Trust successfully.

What do you enjoy about working with Vine Trust?

I chose to work for Vine Trust because I like working for mission-based organisations rather than profit based organisations; working with Vine Trust helped me to get close to the grassroots society. I like where the priority is to work towards a specific goal that somehow helps people and communities rather than to work primarily for a profit. 

What do you enjoy about working with Vine Trust volunteers?

Working with Vine Trust volunteers has opened my eyes, and has given me a lot of experience of dealing with social issues, learning about different cultures, learning about team work – things I didn’t experience before. Meeting volunteers has helped to build my professionalism, and makes me feel like a part of the UK community in Tanzania.

What impact has the Vine Trust/TAWREF partnership had in the Moshi Area?

The Vine Trust and TAWREF partnership has become a key factor in responding to poverty and related suffering like housing issues. Having 136 homes built in my community is a a huge and very positive contribution. The lives have been transformed for the families who were without safe shelter before; they are now enjoying being protected and comfortable in their new home. Vine Trust does more than build homes - it also provides love, happiness and builds connections with the individuals, families and the community at large.

What value do Vine Trust volunteers add to the partnership with TAWREF and to the home-building programme?

The benefit of Vine Trust volunteers is to strengthen the partnership and friendship between the Vine Trust and TAWREF. Volunteers are actually seeing where the funds raised are going, and they are a part of the building team. This brings more transparency, builds trust and builds partnership at large. The volunteers can tell their families and friends at home about their experiences of visiting those families; their stories will allow the building program to grow and last longer.

What is your hope for the future of the home-building programme?

I hope to see more building teams in Moshi, to continue to see the huge and exciting transformation of the individuals and families empowered by the Vine Trust volunteering programme. More than that, I hope Vine Trust will continue the happy and healthy partnership with TAWREF for a long lasting time.

Asante sana, together we can.

Inverness Royal Academy in Tanzania! Published: 12 Feb 2020

Our first school expedition of 2020 has begun! Team Inverness Royal Academy are flying to Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. 

They'll be supporting our partners in the building of safe, secure homes for vulnerable families and children in the community. Over the next two weeks, they'll be sharing their story over on their blog. Watch this space to find out more: Inverness Royal Academy Team Blog

***

You could be next to head out to Tanzania! Find out more about volunteering individually, or arranging a bespoke expedition for your business or community group over on our building pages, or find out more about our school expeditions here

A Great Start: 8 Homes At Kazunzu Published: 05 Feb 2020

2019 was a landmark year for Vine Trust as we began construction of the first of 40 homes at Kazunzu “Village of Hope”, a village which will provide a stable and secure upbringing for orphans from the islands and shores of Lake Victoria. The first two homes were constructed in May 2019 with the support of a team of volunteers from Falkirk Trinity Church. After working tirelessly over the summer to complete these initial homes, our team of “fundis”, led by Programme Director Samuel Limbe and site manager Leonard Chegene, also completed a further two houses!

October saw the arrival of 19 volunteers who received a warm welcome from the surrounding communities before coming together to work on homes 5 & 6. They were joined by Archbishop Musa Magwesela (pictured with volunteer, Rev Alex Currie) to plant a line of pine trees along the main avenue of the village and visited a local plant nursery to choose citrus, mango and avocado trees to accompany the next houses to be built.

November saw a team of 19 volunteers from Babcock International. The third team to travel to Tanzania as part of the Vine Trust-Babcock volunteering partnership, the 2019 group were the first to visit Kazunzu. The seventh and eighth homes flew up with the team efforts of our volunteers, our great fundi team and even chef Titus, and Samuel’s wife, Pendo joining in with lugging the bricks. On their last day, the group made sure to pass by seamstress Hannah’s stall at Sengerema market before their departure to collect the traditional clothing she had created for them over their two-week stay.

“The biggest impact from the trip was probably the positivity of the communities in Tanzania. Everyone is always smiling and welcoming and making the most of what they have.” Babcock Volunteer 2019

The fundis continued on site to complete the homes, resulting in 8 fully completed homes by the end of the year – a resounding success! We very much look forward to seeing how the village progresses.

Can you support Kazunzu Village of Hope? Please consider giving to support the future of this programme. 

 

Meet the Families Published: 28 Jan 2020

It won't be long until our first volunteer team of the year, a team from Inverness Royal Academy, head out to Tanzania to help support the local team and builders in the construction of new homes for families in the Moshi region. 

Meet the familes who they will be supporting:

Simon, Wilson and Aviti

Simon (14) and Wilson (8) are brothers who are cared for by their single father Aviti. They do not have a home at the moment, and are dependent on the support of the community for food and shelter.

Simon and Wilson are both very interested in music, and Simon hopes to have a career as a musician some day!

Wilson loves science and his dream is to be a mechanical engineer. Their favourite meal is rice, and both boys love listening to and playing music in their free time.

Filomena and Bernadeta

Filomena is 19 years old, and she lives in a rented room with her mother Bernadeta. She has a disability that limits her mobility. Her mother Bernadeta works in a day care centre to support them both, but she earns very little and so they are living in very poor conditions. Filomena also has three siblings who are older and have moved away from home.

A new home will provide Filomena and her mother with stability, security and comfort. It will also give Bernadeta the opportunity to set up her own business of raring chickens and growing vegetables to sell.

**

You could be next to head out to Tanzania! Find out more about volunteering individually, or arranging a bespoke expedition for your business or community group over on our building pages. 

Meet Elly, Senior Tanzanian Coordinator! Published: 21 Jan 2020

Those who have been with us to Tanzania, might recognise his smiling face as he is often there helping volunteers settle into their time in-country. We thought we'd ask him a few fun questions so you can get to know him!

Q: What languages do you speak?
A: English, Swahili, and Chagga

Q: What's your favourite food?
A: Rice and beef or fish stew

Q: Do you have a favourite drink?
A: Coca Cola and Iron Bru

Q: What's your favourite song?
A: The Jambo Song, and Flower of Scotland

Q: Do you have a favourite quote?
A: 'Always be happy, team work makes the dream work!'

Elly is always encouraging everyone to live their 'Hakuna Matata' lives, and we can't wait for our 2020 volunteers to meet him! 

Join us at this year’s Kiltwalk! Published: 16 Jan 2020

Do you share Vine Trust's vision to support some of the most vulnerable communities in Tanzania and Peru with safer homes and medical care? Do you like a good walk?

We would like to invite you to join us in one of the four Scottish host cities for the Kiltwalk this year!

Kiltwalk is a community event that enables walkers to raise money for any Scottish charity of their choice. There are three distances to choose from, suitable for walkers of all ages and experiences. The Kiltwalk will boost all your fundraising by 50%, meaning for every £100 you raise, Vine Trust receives £150, making your donation go the extra mile.

Dundee 16th August 2020

Edinburgh 13th September 2020

Glasgow and Aberdeen dates TBC

Will you join us?

To take part in the Kiltwalk register at thekiltwalk.co.uk and choose Vine Trust as your charity.

2020: Year of the Nurse and Midwife Published: 06 Jan 2020

Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. They are often the first and only point of care in their communities, and their roles are essential to the goal of universal health coverage by 2030.

That's why we're marking the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in 2020, to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives throughout the world!

Do you know a nurse or midwife who could join us for 2 weeks on the Amazon or Lake Victoria? Check out our medical expeditions page to find out more. 

New Year: New Calendar! Published: 01 Jan 2020

Happy 2020 to all our volunteers and supporters!

Don't miss out on our limited edition 2020 calendar which features winning photographs and quotes by our Vine Trust volunteers. This calendar 'gives back' the whole year round!

Get yours for just £5 at our online store today. 

Thanks for your support! 

Working Towards the Global Goals Published: 17 Dec 2019

This month, the Scottish International Development Alliance published its new report ‘Working towards the Global Goals’, providing detailed insight into its members’ contributions to sustainable development across the world.

The United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are the plan to improve and create a more sustainable future for the world by 2030. Vine Trust's work contributes towards several of the goals, most prominately Goal 1, No Poverty, and Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing. The Alliance report maps the contribution towards these goals by all it's members, emphasising the holistic nature of sustainable development and the interdependency of different goals and targets.

We are proud to be featured as a case study for Goal 3 which highlights the Jubilee Hope Programme which is contributing towards universal health coverage (Target 3.8) in the remote communities of the islands of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. We believe no one should be left behind. Together, we are working towards a brighter future by 2030. 

You can read the full report at the Alliance website here.

Carbon Neutral Announcement! Published: 14 Dec 2019

On December 14th, World Energy Conservation Day, we are delighted to announce that from January 2020, all Vine Trust international flights will be carbon offset! As a Trust we are also working towards our charity operations being completely carbon neutral by 2025 or sooner.

We hope that those who choose to support us and volunteers who chose to travel with us will know that we are doing our best to minimise our negative environmental impact to help the planet towards a brighter future. Thank you for joining us on this journey. 

Thanks and Best Wishes Published: 10 Dec 2019

We wish Martin Holt best wishes for 2020 and beyond as he prepares to leave Vine Trust on the 18th of December.

Over the last few years Martin, as our Chief Operating Officer, has provided support to our team on the barge and fast tracked the development of the Kazunzu Village of Hope in Tanzania. He has also has been particularly involved in developing our response to the revised GDPR regulations and creating and rolling out our safeguarding policies across all our operations. 

We wish Martin well and thank him for his commitment and hard work over the last few years.

2 Million Medical Consultations! Published: 25 Nov 2019

We are delighted to announce the completion of 2 MILLION consultations carried out across our Medical Programmes! This is a fantastic achivement by the staff teams in Tanzania and Peru, and from our volunteers who have supported the expeditions since our first ship to the Amazon in 2001!

We invited medical volunteer Maris Buchanan to cut the cake at the 2019 Gathering earlier this month.

The Gathering 2019 Published: 19 Nov 2019

We're back from a busy and engaging weekend at The Gathering 2019!

The weekend was a time to celebrate all that our partners, volunteers, and supporters have achieved this year, and to look ahead to our vision for 2020. We have seen huge progress in our Tanzanian building projects from over 130 homes built in Moshi, to the beginning of our new construction project at the Kazunzu Village of Hope, near Mwanza. 

In our medical work, we have continued our innovative and successful medical partnerships on the Peruvian Amazon and Lake Victoria Tanzania, and are delighted to report that together we will have delivered over 2 MILLION medical consultations by the close of 2019. 

***

The conference began with a Welcome message from Vine Trust Chair Alec Carstairs and Chief Executive Willie McPherson.

We also heard about Scotland's contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an interesting talk given by Scotland's International Development Alliance's Lewis Ryder-Jones (pictured below left, with Vine Trust's Martin Holt). 

 

Following the introductory talks, we were delighted to announce the milestone of 2 MILLION consultations given across our medical programmes, with a cake to celebrate! One of our most frequent volunteers Maris was given the honour of the first cut. 

 

 

The coffee and cake break then led onto the morning talks, beginining with an update about Kazunzu Village of Hope from our AICT partner Samuel Limbe, and Martin. It was fantastic to see the progress of the first homes, and to hear about the vision for the future of the village. 

 

 

The medical and construction break-outs were a fantastic mix of volunteers, our partners, and supporters sharing about their involvement with the Trust. Just some are highlighted below:

 

Above: Nicole Loen and Colette McQuade - How Volunteering Changed My View of My Career

Above: Professor Andrew Brierley - A Multidisciplinary & Multinational Approach

Above: Rev Samuel Limbe - Foreign Aid From An African Perspective

Above: Jenni Knak - The Role of International Volunteering in Education

Above: Donna Maplesden - Babcock: A Partnership

Above: Elena Pila (National Director of the Amazon Hope Programme) - Development in Peru, Update & Future Plans

 

It was fantastic to share the weekend with supporters who had travelled from lots of different places, including some medical volunteers from Canada!

 

Our Gift Shop was popular, especially our 2020 Calendars (sold by Vine Trust's Duncan). Don't miss out on yours, have a look in our shop here. 

 

 

The Closing Session heard from Chief Executive Willie McPherson, Amazon Hope Partner Elena Pila, Tanzania partner Mussa Magwesela, and Chair of the Board Alec Carstairs, on their vision for 2020.

 

 

The weekend was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievments of all our partners and supporters and to share time together as a community. We even had the opportunity to show our partners Samuel, Mussa, and Elena,  the Branches Gift Shop- the origins of Vine Trust!

 

 

Thanks to all our partners, speakers, supporters and volunteers for their involvement and interest in The Gathering 2019. We look forward to the next chapter in 2020.

 

Limited Edition Calendars Available! Published: 18 Nov 2019

Our 2020 calendars are the perfect way to support Vine Trust 'year round'! For just £7 in our online shop, these calendars feature beautiful photos from our volunteer expeditions in Tanzania and Peru. 

These calendars start early with a month for December 2019, so make sure you get yours today! 

Kazunzu Village of Hope Published: 16 Nov 2019

We're delighted to see photos from our partners in Tanzania on the progress on Kazunzu Village of Hope! It's exciting to see 6 houses already up, with houses 7 & 8 already underway with the support from our latest volunteer team. 

To find out more about the origins of this project, and what the village will look like, visit our Kazunzu page to find out more. 

Next Team Heads To Kazunzu Published: 14 Oct 2019

We're delighted to welcome more volunteers to Kazunzu Village Of Hope- our newest and biggest construction project so far! Our next teams will be heading out to support the building project which is situated near Lake Victoria in Tanzania in October and November. 

Make sure to follow their blogs for the latest updates about the homes being built at Kazunuzu! 

Why We Send Volunteers Published: 03 Oct 2019

At Vine Trust, we have seen huge value arise from our medical volunteering programmes. However, this view is a frequently discussed topic within the international development sector, facing particular critique about the need to send volunteers overseas instead of solely supporting projects financially. We asked Dr Uzia Mohamed from the Jubilee Hope Medical Team to share his perspective on the value of volunteering,   

“Volunteer support is undeniably valuable as they invest their time, money, skills and knowledge to treat patients and by offering a helping hand in the pharmacy and lab during each voyage. We consider every volunteer part of the Jubilee Hope family.”

When speaking to our volunteers about their expeditions, we share three key areas which we believe mutually benefit both our individual volunteers, and our local partners and staff.

Innovation

In the medical world, skills sharing can be an invaluable method of improving practices and health outcomes. When volunteers and the local medical team work together, they help each other to find sustainable solutions. Knowledge, and teaching methods, can be shared in both directions, as volunteers and staff learn together. Dr Uzia shared more of his thoughts on these benefits,

The teaching approach can be truly remarkable; I remember a volunteer drawing a face on a balloon and attaching it to a pillow, just to illustrate their point!

It’s the small things that we overlook and don’t give enough credit for, that have made us gain a lot of experience, knowledge and skills, but at the same time, create a valuable bond with our volunteers.”

Encouragement

Alongside knowledge and skills sharing, the participation of volunteers on board our medical ships can be an encouragement to staff involved in the work longer term. Volunteers often act as a catalyst by motivating the team to work collectively. As Dr Uzia shared, 

“It’s through these interactions with volunteers that we are inspired, feel challenged to go beyond the limits and become better people. We are more resilient, creative and innovative, not just in the work we do, but also at a personal level in our lives.”

Inspiration

Fuelling everything is inspiration. Working alongside people with different cultural backgrounds and contexts can encourage individuals to be more considerate, flexible and reflective of their relationships with colleagues and patients:

“Volunteering helps you enjoy not endure work and go beyond your expectations.”

Working with a local team and treating patients from rural communities can be the inspiration for new solutions and perspectives that would otherwise have been neglected. For both volunteer and local team member, working together forms a pool of experiences and knowledge to draw from, during their expedition and for a long time afterwards.

Vine Trust is passionate about the value and impact of volunteering  in the communities we work in. From innovation to inspiration, this unique partnership has proven to be an enriching experience for everyone involved. If you'd like to be on one of our next medical expeditions, find out more on our information page. 

Babcock International Group Supports Vine Trust Published: 02 Oct 2019

It was great to have volunteers from Babcock International aboard the Vine Trust Barge this week for their orientation!

As one of our pioneering teams for Kazunzu Village of Hope, they will be the third group to head out to the village this year.

This partnership offers the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to support the building of homes alongside our local partners, develop team work and to also bring their experiences back into the core of the business and wider community.

Could your staff team be next? Find out more about creating a bespoke expedition for your team.

Doors Open Day: 28 & 29 September! Published: 20 Sep 2019

A busy time at Doors Open Days this weekend! We welcomed over 200 people to the Vine Trust Barge to share more about our work in Tanzania & Peru.

Did you know you can hire our rooms on the Barge? We have the perfect space for your next meeting, event, or conference! You can find out more about our venue by emailing admin@vinetrust.org or visiting our barge hire page.  

A HUGE thank you to our volunteers who helped make this weekend possible!

 

The Gathering: Tickets Now Available! Published: 05 Sep 2019

Join us for our annual gathering to be part of a global community 'Connecting People to Change Lives'.

Through a full conference programme including speakers, energising discussion and ideas sharing, we will celebrate the achievements of the year and look forward to lift-off action on our new 2020s vision. You won't want to miss it.

View the details here: www.vinetrust.org/gathering 

Education Partnerships Published: 04 Sep 2019

We are continuously striving to develop and improve our building expedition volunteer experience and looking for opportunities for our volunteers to gain an insight into Tanzanian culture and environment. Climate change impacts Tanzania with higher temperatures, more flooding, droughts and a rise in sea level and is threatening agricultural production and livelihoods for millions of Tanzanians. Many of those living in the Kilimanjaro region have seen significant impact to Mt Kilimanjaro and its habitat.

This summer we were lucky to have Dr Francis from the Department of Geography and Environment at University of Dar es Salaam to speak to some of our school volunteers about the effects of climate change from a Tanzanian perspective. His insightful presentation gave our volunteers a comprehensive picture of the ways in which climate change is impacting local communities in the Kilimanjaro region.

Following the environmental talk, a group of school volunteers had the opportunity to work with Environmental Studies students from Mwenge University. The students shared their knowledge on environmental issues in the region and paired up with our volunteers to plant a number of trees around the home of Mama Mbise, which the volunteers assisted to build.

The conversations between Tanzanian and Scottish students covered a wide range of topics from the different political landscapes in Scotland and Tanzania, to favourite football teams. It was a great day for all, and as one of our volunteers remarked, the day was spent learning, planting trees, and “making many good friends along the way”.

***

You could be on our next building expedition! Find out more here. 

The 2020 Calendar is here! Published: 30 Aug 2019

We are delighted to announce the arrival of our 2020 Calendar to our online store! 

Following the success of our summer photo competition, the calendar features 14 inspiring photos and stories by Vine Trust volunteers about their expeditions to Tanzania and Peru. With space for all your important events, it is the perfect way to keep track of the year ahead. Get yours in our shop here. 

Our Gift Aid Cards are also available and directly support the work of our programmes. Each card bought supports our work and features a stunning picture, as well as space  for your own message, making them a truly meaningful, alternative gift. View them here

And don't forget about our country-themed notelets. With a unique volunteers’ insight into the countries in which we deliver our programmes, these notelets make a great stocking filler! Each pack has 6 different cards which come with an envelope and are blank inside for your message. 

Make sure you check out our store for more!

Kazunzu Village of Hope: Summer Update Published: 26 Aug 2019

This summer saw an exciting milestone for us and our in-country partners based in Mwanza, Tanzania, as we welcomed the arrival of our first volunteer team to begin construction at our new project, Kazunzu Village of Hope.

Kazunzu is situated on the shore of Lake Victoria and is our largest construction project undertaken to date. The islands of Lake Victoria have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania, and our hope is that this village will provide stability, security, and sustainability to some of the most vulnerable orphans and widows in these communities.

In May, a group of 12 from Falkirk Trinity Church, were welcomed by members of the local community with great celebration through song and dance. Representatives from the local ward and executive officers from the local government were also there to greet us, and together we laid the symbolic foundation stones. By the end of the expedition, the first two houses were completed to lintel level – an incredible start to the Village of Hope.

Our volunteers embarked on their journey home, sad to be leaving after what had been a life-changing experience. As one volunteer remarked, “a little bit of Tanzania will be forever in our hearts”. Three teams will have visited by the end of 2019, including our first individuals to go to Kazunzu in October and our Babcock International team in November.

Would you like to be part of the Kazunzu Village of Hope journey? Join one of our teams for individual volunteers:

15th April - 29th April 2020

24th October - 7th November 2020

Find out more & apply here.

If you would like to discuss creating a bespoke expedition for a group from your business, church or community organisation, get in touch with our Expeditions Team: expedition@vinetrust.org

Winners Announced: 2020 Calendar Photo Competition! Published: 29 Jul 2019

We are delighted to announce the winners of our photo competition! Get your 2020 Calendar featuring the winning entries here!  

We received lots of fantastic entries and heard some great stories about your volunteer experiences. If you didn't win this year, keep an eye out for next year's competition and get snapping! 

And now onto the winners...

'Nora and Dora: The girls were excited about getting a new home built by the team.’ 

Submitted by: Sandra - Tanzania Building Volunteer

Submitted by: Roslyn - Berwickshire High 

‘We were told the story of how Jacob was treated for a snake bite by a team on the Amazon Hope. We then had the privilege of meeting him at the boys' home. A happy, healthy boy.’

Sandra - Kincorth & Cove Church Volunteer

Submitted by: Roslyn - Berwickshire High 

Submitted by: Mayfield Dental

Submitted by: Mayfield Dental 

Submitted by: Laurie - Forth Hope Volunteer

'We had the most amazing time In Tanzania, teamwork was very much a part of the journey!’ 

Photo submitted by: Nicola - Berwickshire High

Submitted by: Nicola -  Berwickshire High

‘We met this friendly group of Maasai whilst travelling in Tanzania near the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area. Although we the Maasai are mainly on the mainland we did see a few on the islands who came for medical assistance and attended our health education talks.’ 

Submitted by: Helen - Jubilee Hope Volunteer

‘This photograph shows a health education talk aboard Amazon Hope. Gaining trust, connecting with people and sharing medical knowledge is a real privilege and an important part of the Vine Trust trips to the remote villages in the Amazon rain forest. ‘

Submitted by: Helen - Amazon Hope Volunteer

'It takes a village to raise a child'

Submitted by: Ellie - Jubilee Hope Volunteer

Submitted by: Laurie - Forth Hope Volunteer

‘The reason I love this photo so much is because every time we would play with bubbles with the children, we would just see them in pure, simple joy.’

Submitted by: Katie Rose- Earlston High 

Celebrating 1000 School Volunteers! Published: 23 Jul 2019

A big thank you to all 158 of our summer school volunteers who have supported our building projects in Tanzania and Peru over the past three months!

Amongst them, we're delighted to have marked the milestone of 1000th Vine Trust School Volunteer and we look forward to connecting more people and changing lives!

If your school are interested in visiting our projects in Tanzania, head over to our School Expeditions page for more information. 

Welcome to: Sinéad Conway! Published: 18 Jul 2019

We are excited to welcome Sinéad Conway to Vine Trust as our new Programme Coordinator.

Sinéad has previously completed a masters in International Development and spent some research time in Tanzania, so will feel right at home with our volunteering expeditions.

After a busy summer in Tanzania with our school teams, Sinead now joins the team on the Vine Trust barge. As part of the team coordinating our building and school expeditions, she will be ensuring a safe and first rate experience for all our volunteers!

We are delighted to welcome Sinéad to the Vine Trust family!

New Partnership to See Safer Water Provision on Lake Victoria Islands Published: 16 Jul 2019

A new partnership is set to address water-related health concerns in the island communities of Lake Victoria. The year-long pilot project will be undertaken by Signpost International, African Inland Church Tanzania, and Vine Trust.

For most people on the islands, water for drinking, cooking and cleaning is only accessible from the heavily contaminated lake water. Though there is knowledge of waterborne illnesses, without the resources to treat the water, community members are often left with little option but to use it. As a result, there is a high prevalence of waterborne illness recorded as a direct consumption of contaminated water sources.

The pilot project, led by Dundee-based organisation Signpost International, has emerged from the initial partnership between Vine Trust and the African Inland Church Tanzania (AICT), who provide healthcare services via the medical vessel Jubilee Hope to the remote island communities.

Project partners AICT will implement the provision of water-treatment solutions to 65 island households alongside the development of education and awareness raising programmes. The partnership hopes to see a strengthened approach to improving water, sanitation and hygiene in the households of the lake islands.

Vine Trust are delighted to support this project to complement the existing Jubilee Hope programme operating on the islands of Lake Victoria, Tanzania.

Announcing the Gathering 2019! Published: 15 Jul 2019

Join us for our annual gathering to be part of a global community 'Connecting People to Change Lives'.

Through a full conference programme including speakers, energising discussion and ideas sharing, we will celebrate the achievements of the year and look forward to lift-off action on our new 2020s vision. You won't want to miss it.

 

Conference streams for medical, building & school volunteers

Engaging future focused discussions • Refreshments and lunch

Talks from our in-country partners • Evening dinner reception

Overnight accommodation and breakfast included

 

We'll send you all the latest annoucements about the Gathering, including booking details, programme schedules and more. Interested? Click here to register your interest. 

School Volunteers Blog Published: 10 Jun 2019

We have a busy summer coming up, with over 140 school volunteers heading out to our building projects. During their two week expeditions, they'll be helping to support the building of homes for some of the most vulnerable members of the communities we work with. 

They'll become global citizens and make a practical difference to the lives of marginalised children and families. Building a house does not just provide a safe shelter, but an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and provide a place to call home. 

We'll be sharing all their updates during their expeditions, so head over to our blogs to read more! 

Falkirk Trinity Church - Kazunzu Expedition Blog Published: 31 May 2019

Find out all about our teams heading out to Tanzania and Peru via our Blogs.

Below find an update from our pioneer team to our new project at Kazunzu, Village of Hope in Tanzania. 

Tuesday 28th May

After three flights, a ferry, and two buses, we arrived at Sengerema where we are staying. Our first impressions - somewhat chaotic at the airport; busy; warm; friendly; strange geological rock formations which were amazing plus the land is very green. We are all getting used to either cold showers or scalding hot; some even have boutique toilet facilities know within the group as either a hot or a cold drop!

Wednesday 29th May

The people have given us a very warm welcome especially the children who have followed some members of the party, no names, like The Pied Piper! First day on site was today  where we received the formal welcome with lots of singing and dancing which was fabulous.

We were welcomed by representatives from the local ward and Executive officers from Kazunza local government. Importantly there were senior representatives from the African Inland Church of Tanzania, who are the key partner with the Vine Trust on this project.

Bishop Dr Peter Kitula led short service of dedication for this project. Iain presented a commemorative plaque and plan of the site which will be mounted on a cairn on a hillside overlooking the site. The Falkirk group then said the Lord’s Prayer and sang “Amen Siakadumisa”.  This was completed by a procession down to the first house site where the symbolic foundation stones were laid. This was a longish process but valuable-we are learning to adopt Tanzanian “Pole Pole” time, this means slowly slowly.

With the help of a lot of children we carried buckets of water from the reservoir in a human chain to the first two houses, although hard work there was lots of laughter and sweat.

Continuing reading the Falkirk Trinity Church story over on our blog page...

Jubilee Hope 2020 Published: 20 May 2019

We are delighted to announce that our 2020 Jubilee Hope expeditions are now live for application.

Want to join us on board in 2020?

To apply: https://www.vinetrust.org/volunteer/medical-expeditions

2020 NOW OPEN!!! Published: 13 May 2019

We are delighted to announce that the Amazon Hope programme 2020 expeditions are now open for application.

Will you join us in 2020??

Apply here: https://www.vinetrust.org/volunteer/medical-expeditions

HRH The Princess Royal Visits Vine Trust Published: 01 May 2019

We were delighted to welcome our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal on board the Vine Trust Barge at the end of April to learn more about our upcoming projects. Our Board Chair Alec Carstairs greeted HRH on arrival. 

 

 

The visit included viewing of a new display designed by our Communications Officer. The exhibition presents the story of Vine Trust, including developments of our latest building project, Kazunzu Village of Hope. 

 

We were delighted to have hosted this visit during a key time of project development. Since joining us as Patron in 2009, HRH has shown us invaluable support as we carry out our work in Peru and Tanzania.