Can you help John Barrett raise money to support an Ethiopian family?

I caught up with John Barrett, former Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, the other day. He told me about his recent trip to Ethiopia. He first visited the country as an MP 15 years ago and has had a particular interest in international development ever since.

He talked about how he and his wife Carol have been supporting a family in recent years. As a result of a conversation on their trip, he is now trying to raise £2000 to get them a fridge, a water purifier, a cooker and a washing machine.

He explains why on his Just Giving page:

Ten years ago I met Gimacho Ermias, a tailor, and his daughter Sarah in Ethiopia ,in the small town of Hosanna. Seeing how little they had of everyday things we take for granted, Carol and I have helped them out in a small way for the last 10 years and will continue to do so. Last month we visited them in their home town to see how they were.

He is still working as a tailor, earning a few pounds a day, and his wife, who suffers from asthma, has a full time job 25 miles away to make ends meet, so she can only return to be with her family at weekends. When I asked them what would change their lives, the answer came quickly. “Something to filter our drinking water, a fridge to keep food fresh, a cooker to replace their single electric ring and to make bread, and a washing machine.

I have decided to set up this page in the run up to Christmas to see what can be done to help them out. If you can help in any way, they would really appreciate it.

Why do we need to raise so much? These items, in Ethiopia, cost two to three times what we would pay for them here. I have contacted various places to see if we can get them at a more reasonable cost and if so we will be able to do more with any money we raise.

Two grand seemed like quite a lot for these items. John told me that this was because of massive import duties charged by the Ethiopian Government:

These items, in Ethiopia, because of import duties and tariffs cost two to three times what we would pay for them here. I have contacted various places, including the Minister at the Department for International Development, and the World Mission, to see if we can get them at a more reasonable cost and if so we will be able to do more with any money we raise.
So if you would like to help John and Carol on the way to their target, you can do so here.
As an aside, John is getting an award from Care UK this month for people who go “above and beyond for their community.’ A couple of weeks ago, he organised a concert which raised over £1300 for a local youth centre.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • John Barrett 2nd Nov '18 - 10:00am

    Caron – Thanks for spreading the word.

    The campaigning issue I am trying to move forward with, concerns the use of the money raised by recipient governments from charitable and other donations, which not only make it more difficult to get help to some of the poorest people in the world, it probably completely stops some aid from getting into the country.

    I was told that a Land Rover which had been donated to a conservation charity in Kenya was not allowed out of the port and into the country until the donors paid $10,000 duty, which then had to be raised by the charity. This money could have been put to much better use. If that $10,000 is then used for military expenditure, or some other questionable use, it would no doubt put off many potential donors for similar projects.

    I am a great supported of overseas aid, but only when it is wisely spent. In over a decade spent visiting a wide range of projects in the developing world, I have seen good and bad examples of UK aid overseas. I also appreciate that those recipient countries have to raise revenue where they can, but there must be a way which avoids holding up generous donations, until charities and others are willing to pay out large sums to get their aid through to those who need it.

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