Miracle Fruit Story

Transforming the lives of Tanzanian and Palestinian schoolchildren

Over 3,500 people will benefit from this year's Eddie Byers Fund awards - and a group of office workers are braving blisters to help even more next year

Our Goal

It’s hard to know which part of our goal is more daunting: the drive to raise £15,000 in a few weeks, or completing our three-mountain, 24 mile walk in just 12 hours to encourage the maximum number of donations.

We’re an averagely-fit bunch of office workers of varying ages who might hit the gym once or twice a week, cycle to work or do the odd weekend stroll in between keeping English UK running for our members in the English Language Teaching industry. Athletes we are not.

So why are we putting ourselves through this? And not for the first time?

We want to remember our former boss Eddie Byers, a man who enthused English UK and the ELT industry with his drive and energy before his life was cut short by a heart attack.

And having set up an education fund in his name, we want to carry on helping it to transform people’s lives.

All of that means raising money – and the best way to do that is with something dramatic and extreme.

Please help us reach our £15,000 fundraising target. Every penny helps (but pounds are even better!)

Our Miracle Fruit

By the end of our 24-mile walk up Yorkshire’s highest peaks on October 20, every footstep is going to be an effort. We’re fully expecting blisters, driving rain, howling winds and worse.

But knowing who we’re helping is going to drive us on – which is why we’re delighted to announce the winners of our second batch of Eddie Byers Fund awards.

In its first year, the Fund supported around 350 refugees and asylum seekers to learn English in the UK, helping them to integrate into the community, build lives here and seek work.

The latest set of awards will support up to 3,500 schoolchildren in Tanzania and Palestine, as well as UK asylum-seekers and refugees in Liverpool, Staffordshire and Ipswich. Every blister we get has the potential to transform the life of some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.

Who is the Eddie Byers Fund helping this year?

The EBF is open to UK-registered charities which can apply for funding of up to £2,500 for projects which will transform lives through learning English.

This year there are five awardees:

  • The Tanzania Development Trust, which will deliver a month-long beginners’ English course and a continuing language club for up to 800 children for starting secondary school in rural Tanzania. Completing secondary school is the only route out of extreme poverty for the children, but classes are taught in English, which means they are doomed to fail unless they learn some of the language at the start.
  • The Hands Up project, which will train 125 teachers of English in schools in Gaza and the West Bank to run drama clubs to improve the English of up to 2,500 Palestinian schoolchildren.
  • Asylum Link Merseyside, which will run a new Film and Conversation club and develop its outreach Walk and Talk programme.
  • ASHA in North Staffordshire, to train volunteers to teach English to beginners who cannot access any other courses, and also to train other volunteers to teach this group of learners.
  • Oasis in Ipswich, which gets a £500 grant for textbooks.

None of these projects would run without the support of the Eddie Byers Fund. None of these people would get that help to learn English, which will help them to access education or employment and so lift themselves from poverty and disadvantage.

Working at the heart of the ELT industry, we know about its power to transform lives. We see people travelling thousands of miles to learn or improve their English to complete high school, attend university, apply for a postgraduate course or improve their career prospects.

Our customers can afford to fund their own English learning, either with family or government support – unlike the Tanzanian teenagers, whose families live on a dollar a day or less, and are doomed to a future of extreme poverty unless they can by some miracle complete high school.

It feels right to extend what our industry does every day to those who cannot afford to pay for it, and we know that’s what many of our member centres who have donated to the EBF in the past believe, too.

Please help us extend the benefits of ELT to those who cannot afford to fund it themselves.

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Miracle Fruit

Native to West Africa, the miracle fruit got its name because it turns sour things sweet. Eureka! When eaten, the effect can last for about 30 minutes.

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