We encourage our readers to read the newsletter for in it you will discover another dimension of the wider SMA family. The dynamism and commitment of this group of young people can be seen in the summary of their 2019 activities:
- 34 Volunteers working in partnership in Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa
- Over £30,000 sent to our partners to improve the lives of young people
- Opening up new office in Belfast’s Shaftsbury Square
- Active members undertaking training opportunities in Dublin and Waterford
- FOA members volunteer at Camp Dromantine
- Inaugural 4 peaks challenge raised over £10,000
- Active board of directors insuring good governance
- Continued partnership with the SMA’s
- Reengaging our school immersion programme
- New partnership programme in Ghana and new partners in South Africa
- Monitoring visit to Tanzania with help from the OLA’s in Cork
- 40 people at our members weekend in Todds leap, Co. Tyrone where we developed our new mission
- Hosting a discussion as part of the CADA One world Festival
- Offering more structured Internships and volunteering opportunities in FOA office in Belfast
Brief History of the Friends of Africa:
Friends of Africa (FOA) was formed in 1998 after some ex-members of the SMA Boy’s Club at Dromantine and their friends met with the SMA Superior General, Fr Daniel Cardot. They wanted to be more involved in the work of the mission of the church. Arising out of these discussions they decided to form a group that would facilitate young people connected to the SMA who wanted to become more involved in mission.
Among their aims and objectives was to make a positive contribution to the lives of the people of Africa. Taking the name “Friends of Africa” the group is now a registered charity based at Dromantine. Many of the members have been long term or short term volunteers in Africa. In establishing positive and direct links between Ireland and Africa they endeavour to tackle the problems faced by youth in both places. A group of portfolio holders are appointed every year at the AGM and the Management committee is completed by the election of a Chairperson, Vice – Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary. The FOA Chaplain is currently Fr Kevin Mulhern SMA. Together they form the Core Group which meets regularly and gives direction to the work being undertaken.
The Core Group and members are involved in raising awareness of African issues, organizing social events and fundraising. They work with school groups, giving retreats and preparing those schools who work with the charity for experiential trips to Africa.
They also assist with the FOA Volunteer Training Programme for those young people who volunteer to go to Africa. They have helped to establish centres for street children and developed initiatives in learning through sport.
FOA members are also involved as Leaders and Managers of the Summer Camps held annually at Dromantine in July and August for the children of FVC members.
The main aims of FOA are:
- To be a voice for the people of Africa in our home countries
- To fundraise for designated projects in Africa
- To send volunteers to work on specific projects in Africa
- To make friends and support each other both at home and overseas.
Check out FOA website http://friendsofafrica.org.uk/
FOA on Twitter https://twitter.com/_FOA_
FOA on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/348290026626/