The Charities of Monaco Life: Chances for Children Fundraiser this evening

On Friday, November 10, Chances for Children is hosting a fundraiser ‘Music, Magic and More” at the Yacht Club.

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Gabrielle Crump, President

ML: How did you, a Monaco resident, get together with an orphan in Uganda to form Chances for Children (C4C)?
GC: My husband Russell and I were sitting around a friend’s swimming pool in Mallorca drinking champagne on August 2nd, 2014 when I saw a Facebook post by my friend’s mother. She was appealing for funds for an orphanage where her son was volunteering during his gap year in Uganda. The orphanage was short €2000 to make up the amount needed to help the children. We got married in 2014 and asked for donations as wedding presents instead of taking gifts. In February 2015, we went to Uganda for the first time and we’ve never looked back since!

ML: Have you and Russell, who is C4C’s Vice-President, always been hands on with charitable associations?
GC: It’s my first time. I have a background in sales and marketing, but was looking for a new challenge after quite a few years of selling property, yacht charter, merchandising … I ran my own business with my boyfriend for 7 years so I am used to bashing doors down and multitasking!

ML: What is the mission of the Monaco-registered Chances for Children association?
GC: C4C’s mission is to provide a safe, welcoming home to the most vulnerable orphans in Kampala, the largest city in Uganda. We try to provide them with the principles and education to develop into responsible, caring adults with successful careers and family lives the day they are ready fly with their own wings.

Chances for Children
ML: Can you describe the daily life of a Ugandan child before C4C steps in?
GC: Many of our children have lived on the streets, either in gangs or on their own. Their parents died having contracted HIV and then they were abandoned by aunts and uncles unable to care for them.

They would collect and sell scrap on the streets, or simply beg. They’d sleep in dire conditions, sticking in groups to survive. They’d pick in rubbish bins for food or queue up at soup kitchens when they were on offer, often having their food stolen from older tougher kids once they were served.

ML: Can you give us some key facts and figures about the association?
GC: The organisation was originally founded in 2011 by Martin Male, an AIDS orphan. We look after 56 orphaned children between the ages of 5 to 15, rescued from slums and hospitals, as well as from other organisations that were shut down due to lack of funding or poor conditions.

None of our children are HIV positive, they are all healthy although none of them had a birth certificate or passport when we rescued them.

In 2016, we raised €76,200. Every single euro raised goes straight to the children; we don’t take admin fees or pay our European team.

Chances for Children
ML: Tell us about the Sponsor a Child program.
GC: Each child has a sponsor – either €2.50/day for a full sponsorship or €1.25/day for a co-sponsorship – and this funding is used to pay for food and education, utilities, basic medical care and upkeep for each child.

In return, the sponsors receive regular updates, with letters from the children, a general behavioural report, school report and photos three times a year. The sponsors are encouraged to have as much contact as possible with their child – they can organise a video chat or even send over presents for their birthdays and Christmas, if they so choose.

ML: What are C4C’s main fundraising events?
GC: We run an annual fundraiser event – for example, Raise the Roof or Chill for Charity – to pay for the rent on the children’s accommodation and also to subsidise their school fees and supplies. These events are usually in Monaco or the surrounding areas and always a lot of fun. We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously!

ML: On November 10, C4C is hosting ‘Music, Magic and More” at the Yacht Club. Can you give some details?
GC: This fundraiser will help to pay next year’s rent for our 56 Ugandan children. Bring your friends to the most chic venue in Monaco for an evening of fun and fabulous magic with Neil Henry, DJ Max Avril from Nikki Beach St Tropez and electric violinist Katharina Putska. Plus, there will be a raffle and silent auction of paintings by Ugandan artist Emma Kavuma. Tickets are limited and available online. Dress Code: Colourful Chic. We greatly appreciate your support.

ML: What percentage of funds raised go to the children versus administrative costs?
GC: Every penny goes to supporting the children.

Chances for Children's first "home" and school in 2014-2015.
Chances for Children’s first “home” and school in 2014-2015.

ML: What are C4C’s plans for 2018?
GC: Our main focus in 2018 will be raising funds to build our own self-sustaining campus, so that we no longer have to rely on landlords as we keep having to move and its very expensive and stressful. For this we will need to raise around €300,000.

It will have a large farm attached to it, to provide enough to feed our own children but also enough to sell produce to provide income to the centre. We will also set up our own school with tech and sports facilities, and take in fee-paying children to make the operation entirely autonomous.

We hope this centre will be the first of many, a business model that can be replicated to provide a safe, welcoming home to children all over Africa from the most vulnerable backgrounds.

Chances for Children's first "home" and school in 2014-2015.
Chances for Children’s first “home” and school in 2014-2015.

ML: Does the association need members, volunteers or accept donations?
GC: We always welcome volunteers and donations. There many bills to cover to help the children so the funds we collect cover our basic expenses but outings, more variety in their diet, and new clothes are not covered. We’d love to receive more clothes and toy packages for the kids.

In terms of finding volunteers, I try to surround myself with people whose strengths are my weaknesses. For example, I’m terrible with accounts so I get a lot of help in that department. It’s always great to grow our network, and we love to meet new people.

It’s also fabulous when people organise events themselves, like friends who put together a bonfire night in aid of the charity or others who organised a cake sale.

I’d love to find restaurants that would agree to give the customers the option to help the charity by adding €1 onto their bill. That’s a project in progress.

Article first published November 2, 2017.


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