You may have noticed that this year we decided to create a digital Christmas greeting instead of sending out printed Christmas cards to our clients and suppliers. This decision meant we could donate the money saved on printing and postage costs to charity. For this reason we thought you might like a bit more information about our chosen charitable cause for 2016, ResponsABLE assistance.

ResponsABLE assistance was set up by Trevor Palmer from Newport and he describes how the company came in to existence:

“A little over 10 years ago I was sat in front of my TV watching the horrors of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which killed 230,000 people across 14 different countries. To their rescue came the biggest foreign aid charities, sending masses of support to the disaster areas as the world united for the cause, but they were missing one important thing. Most of their efforts were not accounting for the disabled people who were caught up in this tragedy. I could see that both the people who were disabled before the quake and those that had sustained injury as a result were neglected.

As a disabled full time wheelchair user I realised there needed to be an organisation working to aid and protect disabled people; an organisation focused on getting specialist equipment for people to survive and promote independent living. And so, ResponsABLE assistance was born.”

Trevor and his small but dedicated team have been responsible for some pretty inspiring efforts which have helped disabled people globally in recent years. Some notable events over the recent years include:

  • 2005 – Teaming up with Merlin and the NGPA to send medical and specialist equipment to people following the Kashmir Earthquake.
  • 2010 – Working again with Merlin to assist Haiti following their earthquake.
  • 2011 – Collaborating with the National Police Aid convoy to donate tailored equipment to Rwanda.
  • 2015 – Most recently, they worked with Save the Children to assist the people of Nepal following the earthquake.

As well as being an emergency response unit, ResponsABLE decided a few years ago to expand into long-term projects. This expansion led to current work in Kenya, where ResponsABLE now works closely with St Michael Kevote School,a school for disabled children.

ResponsABLE helped the children at St Michael Kevote after they fell into trouble when their cow died. The cow meant a lot to the school as they were not only provided with milk to drink but also milk to sell. The income made from the milk sales funds the boarding children, who are physically unable to get to and from the school. Upon hearing this, ResponsABLE assistance bought the school a new cow soon after, so the income was sustainable for the school again.

ResponsABLE assistance not only helped the school by investing in a new cow but their assistance brought an exposure which caught the attention of local bank Nawiri Sacco Society. Having heard about how ResponsABLE helped everyone at St Michael Kevote’s school, Nawiri Sacco Society matched ResponsABLE’s investment and bought another cow for the school too. This meant so much to St Michael Kevote as they now were able to provide plenty of milk for the children and have enough to sell to support the boarding children. To mark the occasion, there was a ceremony in Kevote, and locally the South Wales Argus ran coverage of the story.

This expansion into long-term projects and working with students has grown further and expanded into the schools of the UK. ResponsABLE have now created a partnership between St Michael Kevote and Crownbridge School, a local special day school in South Wales, which educates children and young people with severe learning difficulties. A recent project between them included the children swapping disposable cameras and documenting their school day. This project meant the children could see the similarities and differences of their daily lives and they developed a better understand of the needs of those in different situations to themselves. This culminated in a travelling exhibition of the photographs the children took, which was inspiring and humbling!

Working with the BA (Hons) Photojournalism students from the University of South Wales, ResponsABLE will be able to expose their projects further, as students will document the people and projects supported by the organisation. 2016 looks to be an exciting and progressive year for ResponsABLE assistance! Watch this space for details about the SBW teams fundraising efforts in 2016.

Trevor with USW photojounalism students