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How one man is helping the Beatrice Project…

How one man is helping the Beatrice Project…

David Payne is an old friend of Zimbabwe, having taught there, with Sue, in the 1980s. He has found a productive way of supporting our work in these difficult days of Covid – 19, so we asked him a few questions:

What is it you are making?

I’m making 2 products at the moment. The first is a stand for a mobile phone, so it can stay still while you are Zooming or watching a film, or for things like working on a document whilst discussing it with someone. The other is a very different stand, for holding an iPad, tablet or even a recipe book. One of the original reasons for making them was in order to be able to do Zoom calls for tutoring so that the student and I are able to keep the camera steady while looking at a piece of work. Of course, both student and teacher would need a stand to be able to do that well.

That sounds like a brilliant idea. How did you come up with it?

I discovered I like making things, particularly out of wood, and especially things that would solve a problem for someone. I was aware, too, that at this time many people are struggling with their mental health and to do something like this, which is practical and can help others, could be quite beneficial. I’ve ‘tweaked’ my first design a bit, but it’s stayed roughly the same. I can make the stands fairly cheaply by using recycled wood so that a significant amount of the cost can go to charity. That feels good!

Do you see the stands becoming increasingly useful in this pandemic?

Yes, I do. Lots more people are doing video calls with work, church, family etc and I’ve seen a few shaky cameras when in conferences with others!  My Facebook page is called Care4yourphone, using the idea that most of us use our phones a lot but keep them in our pockets. Using a stand, they can be more accessible, for example, you can keep it on your desk when working from home or have it charging by your bedside at night.  

So why support the Beatrice Project?

Many years ago, I worked for nearly a year with Sue Hutchinson at the school attached to a children’s home in Zimbabwe: one of our students was called Joy Khumalo. Between them, Joy in Zimbabwe and Sue and the team back in England, are now making a real difference in the lives and futures of hundreds of young women in Zimbabwe and I wanted to do something to help them. I’ve been able to donate £70 so far from the profits of making stands and am aiming for £500 by the end of the year. I must say, selling the things has been a lot harder than making them but it has been an experience and I’m hoping that, as Christmas approaches, people might think about buying them as gifts. So far, I’ve sold most of them to friends. It has been lovely to see how generous people are, particularly the colleagues I’ve been working with online. Several of them bought stands, gave donations and made suggestions about how to improve them.

And finally, what are your hopes for the project you’ve taken on?

What I would like to do is encourage others to take part, either with me or on their own, and make stands either using my design or their own designs. It’s fun. Everyone does charity runs, swims etc but I’d like to see whether there are people out there who would like to join me in making things for the Beatrice Project. It’s really difficult for charities to raise funds at this time, so my project is just a way of helping them to support the work in Zimbabwe.

Thank you so much, David. We really appreciate what you are doing and wish you every success.

To find out more, or to order, here are the details:

Is there something YOU could do to help the Beatrice Project?  Follow this link to make contact with us.