THE BEIT TRUST - 1906-2017

 
 

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Education

In addition to sponsoring postgraduates, The Beit Trust provides grants to secondary and tertiary education. Because of the vast expansion taking place at all education levels in the three countries, any Beit Trust involvement with secondary schools is ordinarily restricted to help with construction projects. In Zimbabwe, however, not all schools can use infrastructure grants under present circumstances, so a number of interim alternatives have been introduced to support education in other ways.

At several South African universities The Beit Trust has established a temporary fund for the emergency relief selected Malawian, Zambian and Zimbabwean students, who are assessed to be facing severe financial hardship.

(Above) A group from Witwatersrand show how they appreciate the help provided by the Beit Trust.

The Beit Trust also grants considerable sums towards the provision of books in the three countries. Help is channelled mainly through Book Aid International, which sends around 180,000 books to the countries each year.   In collaboration with Biblionef, an educational charity based in Cape Town, the Trust also provides, upon request, book packs of about 750 books to many schools in the three countries.

The University of Zimbabwe Library, which received a grant of £50 000 from The Beit Trust, used the funds to establish a Collaborative Learning Centre, Postgraduate Computer Laboratory and refurbishment of the Seminar Room in the Main Library. The facilities were officially opened by UZ Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura at a colourful ceremony attended by Beit Trust Representative, Mr Tim Johnson.

Health

The policy of the Trust is to support health, educational and welfare projects which fit into the pattern of the country concerned. Grants are mainly given for infrastructure building, and other similar purposes. These include grants to institutions dealing with the aged as well as the physically and mentally handicapped. This picture shows two nurses' houses at Borradaile Hospital, Marondera, Zimbabwe.

A conventional Beit Trust grant for a new building, or to reconstruct an existing building at a mission school, hospital or clinic, seldom exceeds £50,000. On occasion, however, larger grants are given in special circumstances. The universities in all the beneficial countries have benefited in this way, and the Malawi National Library and Beit Cure Children’s Hospitals in Malawi and Zambia (see pictures under "Organisation") were also built with major Beit Trust grants.

Beit Bursaries are also awarded to assist British medical students with the cost of spending a period of eight weeks working in hospitals in the beneficial area. Started in 2007, the scheme's success has led to a similar but bigger scheme assisting selected young doctors and surgeons to undertake secondments of at least six months at hospitals in Malawi and Zambia.

(Right) Medical students at one of the hospitals to benefit, St Francis Mission Hospital, Katete, Zambia.

The Trust also funds the Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET) to provide "The Tropical Doctor", a popular medical pamphlet, to every hospital in the beneficial area.

Welfare

Access to clean water for drinking, and water for irrigation are fundamental needs in rural areas.  The Trust continues to fund the installation of pumps to provide clean drinking water, which can also be used to sustain crops during the dry season.

Provision for orphans and destitute old people is often funded. This is currently particularly important in Zimbabwe.

 

Wildlife and the Environment

For some years, the Trust has supported educational and extension projects related to environmental issues. In 1990, conscious that the number of black rhinos in the wild was diminishing rapidly, the Trust made a large grant to help conserve the species. Two large conservancies were set up in Southern Zimbabwe. The Trust provided substantial fencing to encompass the two conservancies, as well as aircraft, vehicles and radios. The black rhino population in the conservancies is increasing and the project has been seminal in ensuring the survival of this endangered species in Zimbabwe. The next stage in the rhino programme is the reintroduction of rhinos to selected game parks in Malawi and Zambia, as poaching has sharply increased in Zimbabwe. Here we see field surgery being undertaken to free an anaesthetized rhino of a wire snare embedded in one of its legs. Without such treatment, the rhino would slowly lose its foot and death would follow.

Centenary Projects

To commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of The Beit Trust in 1906, the Trustees resolved to award a major grant for an infrastructure project in each of the three beneficial countries, together with a book to commemorate the last 50 years, as a follow-up to the original 1956 book “The Will and the Way”.

Malawi

Anticipating the centenary the first project, the Beit-CURE International Children’s Hospital in Blantyre, (right) was actually completed in September 2002.   The hospital is managed by Cure International, an American charity, which is paying the running costs of the hospital as their contribution to the project.  The hospital has two operating theatres and can accommodate 70 handicapped children. 

 

Zambia

A second Beit-CURE children’s surgical hospital, at Lusaka, Zambia was opened by Zambia’s then First Lady, Mrs Maureen Mwanawasa in December 2006 and is already recognised as a leader in several surgical procedures needed by children. Unlike the Malawi hospital, which is constructed as one major building, the extensive hospital facilities of the Zambian hospital are built in a fan arrangement around the Administration and Education block, and continues to grow on land donated by the Government of Zambia.

 

Zimbabwe

The Trustees have decided that, in view of the present uncertainties within Zimbabwe, it would be unwise to commit funds for the construction of a major project at this time.

The Beit Trust Centenary Book

In 1957, to celebrate the first 50 years of the Trust, a book entitled "The Will and the Way" had been published. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, a new book was commisioned, this time entitled "For the Benefit of the People" tracing the history of The Beit Trust from its inception, and outlining its work in present-day Africa. Copies of the book may be purchased from the Beit offices in Woking (enquiries@beittrust.org.uk) or from the Harare office (beitrust@africaonline.co.zw)

Procedure for Grant Applications

General enquiries should be directed, in the first instance, to The Beit Trust Secretary in the UK (details as shown on the "Home" page). Applications for infrastructure grants should be directed to the Beit Trust Representative, whose office is in Harare, and should reach him by the end of either January or July.

The Beit Trust Representative is helped in his work of processing applications and supervising grants by distinguished local personalities known as Correspondents. These Correspondents, of whom there are at least two for each country, give this assistance on a voluntary basis. Twice a year, shortly before the Trustees’ meeting, they meet to discuss the applications for grants and to make their recommendations to the Trustees. Favourable consideration is given to organisations which demonstrate a degree of self help, long-term sustainability, and an ability to properly administer the funds provided.

An application for a Beit Trust grant must include a brief description of the institution concerned, and a reliable estimate of the cost of the project. It should also state precisely how much money is being sought from the Beit Trustees, and for what purpose. Simple sketches of envisaged structures should accompany the cost estimates.

Applicants should bear in mind, however, that The Beit Trust is not large. Trustees are invariably confronted with applications for funds greatly in excess of what can be given. The Beit Trustees very rarely support other grant-making charities. Assistance with education is very seldom given below secondary school level. Applications must prove sustainability, public benefit, cost-effectiveness, and a serious commitment to education, health, welfare and/or the environment within the beneficial area.

 

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