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      Temwa

      Temwa

      Our most recent donation as a member of 1% for the Planet was to the charity Temwa.

      Temwa works in one of the world’s poorest countries, in the Nkhata Bay North district of Malawi. Founded in 2003 by Jo Hook and Sophie Elson who are both from Bristol, the charity’s roots are closer to home, and their office is just across the city from our studio. When running a backpackers’ lodge in Usisya, a remote village in Malawi, their friend Lotti Nkhwazi died as a result of AIDS. Lotti had been supporting his sister, brother, and sister-in-law and 15 children who were all drastically impacted by his death. After their experience in Malawi, Jo and Sophie returned to the UK in 2000 to spend the next 3 years fundraising and researching how they could help Malawians like Lotti. They called the charity Temwa, which means the love within a community.

      Their community-led approach develops self-sufficiency providing long term sustainable solutions to the problems locals face. Temwa has developed a ten year strategy in partnership with staff, trustees, community members, and local chiefs and government, and at the end of this strategy comes their exit plan. After setting up structures, training and opportunities with these communities, the locals should no longer need Temwa, but will continue to benefit from the initiatives they began.

      ‘Our mission is to develop self-sufficient communities by supporting projects in education, health, agriculture and forestry, and microfinance.’ Examples of their work include training villagers in the importance of good nutrition and sustainable farming, and promoting young children’s literacy skills and funding students through secondary school.

      As our products are mostly paper based, and we aim to minimise our impact on the environment, we are particularly interested in tree planting and combating climate change. Deforestation in Malawi has caused a rise in extreme weather such as droughts and floods. One of Temwa’s projects is carbon balancing. This enables locals to plant trees and enforce forestry management to tackle deforestation and climate change. Tree planting improves soil quality for farming and helps provide resilience to climate shocks, which in turn prevents malnutrition.

      To learn more about Temwa, and find out how you can balance your carbon through their tree planting initiative, please visit their website here.

      Surfers Against Sewage

      Surfers Against Sewage

      We’ve made another donation as part of our membership of 1% for the Planet, this time to the charity Surfers Against Sewage.

      Starting out as a small community of Cornish surfers, this grassroots movement’s initial aim was to improve water quality in a sea polluted with raw sewage. This turned into a nationwide campaign resulting in the UK benefitting from some of the cleanest beaches in Europe.

      Whilst pursuing their fight for safe waters and continually monitoring sewage spills on beaches around the UK, the charity has also taken on one of the biggest challenges facing our generation: plastic. They say ‘plastic is the new sewage as it is now the biggest threat to our beaches, our precious marine eco-system and our happiness’. Surfers Against Sewage approaches this by working with communities to prevent single-use plastic, promote recycling and organise thousands of beach cleans.

      Plastic is a problem increasingly on our minds here at James Ellis. We’ve been trying to cut back on single-use plastic by adopting alternative packaging and altering our designs. Last September we launched our new Paper Shakies range, reinventing our classic Shakies card to be 100% recyclable and plastic-free.

      To find out more about Surfers Against Sewage, and get involved with their crucial work, please visit their website here.

      Avon Needs Trees

       

       

      As part of our commitment to 1% for the Planet, we have made a donation to Avon Needs Trees, a charity set up to buy and reforest land in the Bristol-Avon catchment area.  Our donation will help fund the purchase of 34 beautiful acres at Hazeland between Chippenham and Calne. Hazeland is a fragment of the ancient forest of Pewsham and crucially the land is close to Spye Park on the Bowood Estate. Spye Park is an important site for breeding woodland birds such as the buzzard, redstart, nightingale and tree pipet. Buying Hazeland gives Avon Needs Trees the opportunity to offer new and improved habitat to these endangered birds – as well as to several species of protected bat and woodland butterfly.

      Planting more trees in the River Avon high catchment area, of which Hazeland is a part, not only helps protect nearby towns from flooding but will also help stop excess water entering rivers, thus protecting towns and cities further downstream.