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Wildman Fund Event 2024

Earlier this week, we were delighted to host our annual Wildman Fund Update event with our charity partners, Etch employees and Community members.

Every year, this inspiring session gives us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible work carried out by our friends at The Beatrice Project, NC Kibera, and Jeevan Asha, finding out how the last 12 months have been for them, and to celebrate how they’re reaching some of the most vulnerable communities globally. This year we also welcomed a new charity to the Wildman Fund; Musana, who took the opportunity to share their story, vision and hopes for the future. 

Sally Bundock, BBC News Presenter and Wildman Fund Patron, kindly returned this year to host the event and even challenged participants to share their best tips and tricks for dealing with challenging circumstances in their roles. More on this later. 

What is the Wildman Fund?

For anyone new to the Etch family, the Wildman Fund is Etch’s charitable initiative named in memory of Paul Wildman, the brother of Etch co-founder Shelly Frame. Paul's untimely passing serves as a reminder to us all that life is short, but we can all make a big difference in a short amount of time - for both others and ourselves. Etch supports our charities financially and also provides our expertise to effect change. You can read all about the initiative here

The Beatrice Project

The Beatrice Project was the first to tell us about their year. Founder Sue Hutchinson was joined by Joy Kamalu, who heads up the work for The Beatrice Project in Zimbabwe. Sue introduced the charity to those new to Etch - a partnership between The Beatrice Project and Joy’s charity Ntombi Nto Girl Child Network, aiming to help girls to stay in school unhindered by their periods. 

Joy shared her own history with Ntombi Nto, noting that many girls in the rural areas where she worked were unable to pass their exams as they were missing as many as 70 days of school every year due to their menstrual cycle. Sharing the success of the project, Joy told us that 95% of the girls under the Beatrice Project were now able to stay in school and pass their exams, across 15 schools. Not only are more schools looking to join the project, but they have also been able to equip 10 sewing rooms that the girls can use to make their own reusable menstrual products, in a more financially and environmentally sustainable fashion. 

Reflecting on the last year, Joy shared that 2 new sewing sites were opened in Gweru to support girls who would otherwise have to travel as much as 25 kilometers to school. The project also gave out 150 menstrual cups, and saw 25 girls go through skills training, to graduate in December.

With regard to the new year, Sue and Joy agreed that they want to carry out doing more of the same, while consolidating their work and expanding, to reach more schools and more girls, with initiatives based on education as well as sanitary health.


Next, we got to hear from our new charity Musana, who joined the Wildman Fund initiative earlier this year. Paul Smith, Musana’s UK Director, introduced Musana as a community development organisation that is breaking the cycle of poverty and dependency on Western aid in Uganda, and in the future, more of the sub-Saharan region of Africa. He explained that Musana’s work started in one place initially - setting up the infrastructure for a nursery, a primary school, a vocational secondary school, an empowerment centre predominantly for women, a hospital and local enterprises that all generate about 2 million USD in local income. 

The community around this infrastructure is self-sufficient, using the generated income to further develop local amenities and supporting those who are most vulnerable. Musana has taken the success of the first site in Iganga into two more communities - Kaliro and Kamuli, with the plans to support 10 more communities over the next 10 years.

Paul is excited about working with Etch on Musana’s digital presence in order to spread the charity’s message and mission in the UK, where it was just launched earlier this year. He also remarked on some exciting things happening in the future for Musana such as a documentary - recently shown at the Toronto film festival, and aiming to release on a global platform like Netflix in the future. 

Jeevan Asha

Carol Sylas called in from Mumbai, where Jeevan Asha work in slum communities across health and education. The Charity runs 11 different project under these umbrellas, including learning centres for pre-schoolers and tuition and bridging classes for children going to primary schools.

The last year has been amazing for Jeevan Asha, with Carol excited to share that last year the charity reached more than 3, 100 beneficiaries through the core initiatives, medical camps and awareness sessions, and impacted 836 individuals. The attendance at the learning center was also a point of celebration, at 78% - with Carol remarking that children at the center are full of joy – with a sparkle in their eye. Jeevan Asha has also been helping families with children with special needs, individuals living with HIV/Aids and geriatric patients, homeless children in some of the most rural areas of India and women who have been rescued from human trafficking.

Shelly Frame, our Managing Director was able to visit Jeevan Asha recently, and told us about the eye-opening journey, with extreme conditions in the places where the charity works. Remarking on their work, Shelly said how amazing it was to see the young children and parents being helped through the charity’s work.

This year, Carol is hopeful of helping more people the opportunity to improve their lives, though classes for school dropouts, adult literacy courses for parents and skill development to improve job-seeking and individuals’ dignity. 

NC Kibera

From NC Kibera we were joined by Dave and Neil, who told us about their work in one of the world’s largest slums. The charity focuses on community-based projects that aim to empower locals in Kibera to be independent with their decision-making to providing advice and support. These projects include a community health program focused on menstrual products, a football academy, a 12-step program for drug rehabilitation and a washroom and toilet project.

Dave shared the challenges of the last year, with the slums being built on river banks and suffering from flooding. With many homes being swept away in the floods, the local washroom and toilet facilities, as well as NC Kibera’s other support has been especially crucial. They have also been fortunate to receive donations from generous individuals and support from volunteers who give up their time and expertise to spread word of the charity’s mission. He also shared an amusing anecdote about getting 800 menstrual cups through customs to take to their community in Kibera – an unexpected complication of their last trip!

Planning for the future, NC Kibera’s focus is going to be on their mental health project, which is currently being developed. As well as this, they hope to further expand the football academy and work more on the Hub, a physical space in Kibera that provides a safe place for the locals and a presence for the charity.

Life Hack Wisdom

Lastly, Sally asked our charity partners for their life hacks for when the going gets tough, and they are facing challenges.

From The Beatrice Project, Sue’s life hack was to go back to why the charity was started and remind herself of the 40-year-plus journey she has been on. Joy’s hack was looking through photos of the children she works with to see the progress they had made since working with the charity.  

Paul’s hack from Musana, was to surround himself with people who would spur him on and use their advice and expertise to help him – just like his PT at the gym! 

Carol’s go-to is reflect on the lives that Jeevan Asha is improving and seeing the worthwhile progress made throughout the long history of the charity.  

NC Kibera’s Dave’s advice was to find humour even at the lowest point, and find hope through the very human connection of laughter. 

Etch's part to play

Also contributing to our Wildman Fund update this year were our Etch Account Directors and Project Managers who have helped nurture the long, wonderful relationship we have with each of the charities. Etch work hard to find the right stories to tell and the means of sharing them as widely as possible. Through our work we have focused on supporting the charities with communication strategies, advertising, content marketing and general comms advisory, which ultimately helps more people to be inspired by the great work that the Wildman Fund is doing.

Closing thoughts

To round off the session, Shelly remarked on the impactful, inspiring and incredible stories we had heard – all from the actions of ordinary people who saw the world a little differently and wanted to do something about it.

Thank you to all of our remarkable charity partners for sharing their journeys and allowing us to join you for them. Thank you also to Sally for the wonderful hosting and to everyone who joined us for the session.