SOS Africa Charity Staff
SOS Africa UK Office
To contact SOS Africa's UK Office, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (+44) 01749 344197.
Co-founder/Director: Dr Matt Crowcombe
Matt has volunteered as SOS Africa's UK President since the charity's birth in 2003. He co-founded SOS Africa with Henry Matthews during his gap year to South Africa in 2002/03. At that time Matt was on a teaching assistant placement at the International School of South Africa, in Mafikeng. Henry showed Matt around the local township, and made him aware of the problems faced by the local community, and in particular the poor standard of education available to local township children. After much discussion, Matt and Henry agreed that they were in the ideal position to help these children and decided to establish SOS Africa. This dream was realised in January 2003, when Henry and Matt took Thabo Mokete, SOS Africa's first child to his first day at Mafikeng Primary School: "That experience remains one of the proudest moments of my life. From then on I knew that my life had a new purpose." Matt returned to England in April of that year and set up the UK office, which would focus on the raising of funds and awareness throughout the UK and around the world.
In August 2011 Matt became SOS Africa's first and only paid member of staff in the UK (funded by GiftAid and administrative grants), supervising the day to day running of the charity's UK office in Shepton Mallet. This includes co-ordinating the charity's fundraising and marketing initiatives, administration and accounts, and the designing and maintenance of the charity's website.
As well as working for SOS Africa, Matt is in the process of completing a PhD at Swansea University. His PhD focuses on transitional politics in Africa, which ties in well with his SOS Africa role.
Charity Shop Manager / Trustee: Ann Crowcombe
Ann has been working voluntarily for SOS Africa since it was founded in 2003. Throughout this time she has provided and continues to provide an invaluable service as the charity's UK secretary. In addition to provision of administrative support, Ann focuses much of her attention on the marketing of SOS Africa throughout the UK. Without her passion and determination SOS Africa would not be the success story that it is today. Ann has also recently become a Volunteer Charity Shop Manager at our newest SOS Africa Charity Shop in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Ann works alongside our other loyal shop volunteers; Shelli, Dave, Linda, Gill, Wendy, Sue and Paul.
Trustee: Emma Rose-Ellis
Since February 2009, Emma has voluntarily managed SOS Africa's first charity shop in Ilfracombe, North Devon. Thanks to her hard work and the work of her volunteers; Jack, Maureen, Judy and Aimee, the shop has thrived since its opening. She supervises the day-to-day running of the shop, ranging from the collecting and sorting of stock to the management of the shops accounts. Without Emma's efforts, the SOS Africa Shop and the vital funds which it continues to raise, would not have been possible.
On top of her commitments to SOS Africa, Emma is also an accounts technician.
Graphic Designer: Claudia Titley
As SOS Africa’s volunteer graphic designer and fundraiser, Claudia Titley is an integral part of our UK Team. She first became involved with the charity back in 2009 when she founded the ‘SOS Africa Portsmouth University Society,’ whilst starting her architectural degree at the University; the society funds the education and care of two of SOS Africa’s children.
In the summer of 2010, Claudia assisted with the charity’s 2010 World Cup Football Distribution Project. As the project’s photographer, Claudia took a series of photos which successfully captured the mood and overall impact of the project. Thanks to her efforts, the charity’s followers were able to view a photo dairy which tracked the progress of the project on the SOS Africa website. Most recently, Claudia has become more involved in the design aspect of the charity. Her design skills have proven invaluable when promoting the charity's most recent projects, including the Cardiff Half Marathon 2012 and SOS Africa's Cranmore Tower Abseil.
We are very grateful to Claudia for her selfless contributions and owe much of our recent success to her exploits.
Volunteer Fundraising Co-ordinators: Stephen Patterson, Martin Dix, Ash Meredith, John Duffy and Lottie Butler
Each year SOS Africa organises fundraising events throughout the UK to help pay for the education and care of the SOS Africa Children. These events would not be possible without the invaluable support provided by our loyal volunteers. Over the past few years Stephen Patterson, Martin Dix, Ash Meredith, John Duffy and Lottie Butler are just some of the many volunteers who kindly provided us with this support.
SOS Africa's South Africa Offices
Co-founder / Trustee: Henry Matthews
As one of SOS Africa’s co-founders, Henry was jointly responsible for the setting up of the charity in January 2003. Since that day Henry has supervised the charity's South African branch. It is not hard to see why Henry is a father of three because of the love and care he gives each child the charity sponsors. For the past nine years, not only has he assisted with the administration at the South African office, but he has also supervised the day to day running of the charity, helping out with transport, tutoring, marketing etc. Henry voluntarily provides an invaluable service to SOS Africa, which would not have come to be if it had not been for his determination to help the underprivileged children of Mafikeng: "It's not just about giving money, it's about sharing the experience and the journey which each child goes through at such an important stage in each of their lives."
As well as his role with SOS Africa, Henry is also Head of Sport at the International School of South Africa, and is also President of Mafikeng Rotary Club.
Administrator: Jenny Matthews
Jenny Matthews is the Operations Manager of the charity's South African office. Her main tasks involve taking care of administrative issues, supporting and caring for the charity's children, marketing and public relations in South Africa and reporting back on the charity's progress to the UK office. Without her support, the continual expansion of SOS Africa's South African office would not have been possible. In addition, from January 2012 Jenny also took charge of SOS Africa's new Aftercare Centre.
The SOS Africa Children adore Jenny who devotes all of her time and attention to them as if they were her own children. An example of this was seen last year when Olebogeng, one of the charity's older children called Jenny on Mother's Day to thank her for all she does for him. The outstanding progress made by each of the SOS Africa children on a daily basis is largely thanks to her dedication.
Aftercare Assistant: Eliza Motswana
Eliza joined the SOS Africa staff in January 2012 to assist with the running of SOS Africa's new Aftercare Centre, having worked for the Mafikeng School Centre before it closed at the end of last year. As a Setswana speaker (the first language of the SOS Africa children), Eliza is able to communicate with the younger children before they learn English. She is also very passionate about working with children: "I was warmly welcomed by a loving family. Working for SOS is like a medicine to me, because I love working with children. There is so much love and caring in this family."
We are very lucky to have Eliza and are very greatful for the love and care she shows the SOS Africa children.
Read Eliza's Article: "SOS Africa helped me realise my dream."
Trustee: Johanna Pienaar
Johanna has volunteered for SOS Africa as a mentor to its Preparatory School children, since its inauguration in 2003. As a teacher at Mafikeng Preparatory School, the school where the majority of our children begin their educations, Johanna is in the best position to see that they settle into to their new lifestyles. Thanks to her expert supervision, we are kept updated with the progress of our new children. This is essential as the transition from township life to a preparatory school education is a significant one, and children often require extra support to help them through this process. The children of SOS Africa owe much to Johanna, whose love and support helps them through the difficult times: "Education of the whole child is my passion. It is a privilege to be involved with learners from the previously disadvantaged community and to make a difference in their lives through SOS Africa."
As previously mentioned, Johanna is Head of Department at the Mafikeng Preparatory School. She is also a part-time music school teacher.
Volunteer Photographer: Helena Krige
One of the greatest challenges for any charitable organisation is successfully communicating the projects it co-ordinates to its many sponsors and support bases around the World; SOS Africa initially struggled to achieve this. However, in recent months, this task has been made all the more easy by our new volunteer photographer Helena Krige. The beautiful photos she has taken whilst spending time with the SOS Africa children have successfully captured the very essence of our organisation. We would like to say a big thank you to Helena for her dedication to the charity and the SOS Africa children look forward to her return soon!
"I really enjoyed being part of SOS! It's so encouraging hearing of things like this where kids get a chance at education when all the odds are against them. What struck me about the kids is the way they look out for one another; the older ones keep an eye on the little ones and it's so evident how they learn from each other. And they have so much fun at the Matthews'! I'm so grateful for the opportunity of seeing this thing grow. I have great faith for where God will take it."