The death of Dr de Sweemer last month posed big challenges to Butoke. However Dr Jean Lumbala, its other director, had been handpicked by Dr de Sweemer as her successor and had run Butoke with her for several years. He was in reality running things as the sole director in 2018 as Cecile’s health deteriorated. In January 2019 he formally took charge.
Butoke is supported by the Friends of Butoke Charity in the UK, a similar charity in the US and also by a network of donors in Canada. In early 2019 we all worked with Dr Jean to help him focus on future plans and to budget for the future. Quite apart from anyting else, Dr de Sweemer’s death represented a significant financial blow to Butoke because she contributed all of her sizeable pensions towards its running costs.
In December 2018 Dr Cecile de Sweemer, who founded Butoke in the early 2000s, died aged 82. She had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for many years. She led an astonishing life of service to the most marginalised members of every society she lived in. Here is a brief biography written by Dr David Gosling:
We have beautifully designed Christmas cards available to raise funds for Butoke.
Our new designer, Neil Johnson, has kindly produced the great new cards shown below. They come in packs of 10. We are selling the cards at £3 per pack (including envelopes) plus whatever kind of postage you would like.
As shown the cards have different greetings inside. If you don’t express a preference, each pack of ten will have five of each design. If you want all one design or the other, please let us know!
Butoke desperately needs funds to feed and educate the orphans it cares for who have been evacuated to Kananga. It needs funds to buy food for internally displaced people whom it is trying to help. It needs funds to run its orphanage, clinic and school.
A man was walking along the beach after a storm and, much as is reported in today’s press, he saw many starfish. Away in the distance the man noticed boy walking along and every so often bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.
As the boy drew closer the man asked him what he was doing. The boy said “I am throwing starfish into the sea. They’ve been washed onto the beach and can’t return to the sea by themselves; if they stay here they’ll die.”
The man replied “There are thousands and thousands of starfish on this beach. You really won’t be able to make much of a difference.”
As the boy picked up another starfish and threw back into the sea, he smiled “I made a difference to this one!”
There are many versions of this tale, just as there are many people around the world who need help. Sometimes it seems overwhelming; you might wonder if it is worth helping at all.
We can tell you that it is worth helping. If you could make even a small donation to help others it makes a difference, and 100% of any donation given to the Friends of Butoke Charity goes to Butoke as the running costs of the Charity are covered by the trustees.