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Local I.T. businessman launches global charity

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TechAid: An international charity based in Wales.

TechAid: An international charity based in Wales.

TECHAID founder Gareth Scott spoke to us at the Herald this week about his international charity, which aims to help the poverty sector in Cambodia through ICT. TechAid is a non-profit organisation, which aims to distribute donated laptops to deprived schools in South East Asia. The current focus is on Cambodia, but TechAid hope to expand once a stronghold is established in Cambodia. The idea is to gather donated laptops from the UK and the USA and put them in public sector schools in South East Asia in order to fight against the poverty there. Cambodian children only get four hours of education a day in the public sector of study and they lack educational sources.

TechAid aims to bring laptops over in order to bring more information and knowledge to the schools of Cambodia. When Gareth went to Cambodia on holiday, without any idea that he would soon be setting up a charity, he was sat in a street one day, eating street food, when he noticed a child watching him from the other side of the road. There was a lot of poverty on the streets where he holidayed; there were orphans begging and children on the street. Gareth was worried by the fact that the poverty had not affected him straight away. So, he took it upon himself to look into the poverty problem in Cambodia, beginning with the schools.

It was clear that there was a lack of educational resources and his immediate thought, as an IT businessman, was to get laptops out there and set up an internet connection. This would give the schools in Cambodia unlimited education. Gareth talked about the fact that we take the internet for granted in the UK; we underestimate the power of the internet and do not use it to its full potential. The children in Cambodia want to learn and will be able to do so with the laptops that TechAid provide them.

TechAid want to use technology as a window and a resource for Cambodia. Many of the people in Cambodia have never even seen a laptop and by giving the schools the technology, they will be educated in so many things. Education is the tool to improve the poverty in South East Asia, according to Gareth. Education will teach children that helmets would stop the many people from dying through bike accidents, that prostitution is damaging, and that STDs can be prevented. This is just a small factor of what education can achieve.

A year ago, TechAid applied to be a registered charity, and were approved. They went over to Cambodia in November 2014 and have only just come back to the UK. Their time in Cambodia was a massive success; they were on the national news and were given full support from the Battambang Provence Governor. They got full permission to help the public primary schools, which teach 6 to 9 year olds in Battambang. Gareth is slowly shutting down his business in Thornton in order to completely focus on TechAid as a career path.

They aim to get funding from private donations, large corporations and voluntary work. Gareth commented that everyone has an old laptop in the cupboard that they could donate. Many companies have to pay to have laptops destroyed, whereas the only thing that needs to be destroyed when sending laptops to Cambodia through TechAid is the hard drive. The laptop will not be sent to Cambodia with the hard drive in as a guarantee that the data will not leave the country.

If you would like to help TechAid by donating a laptop, you could take the hard drive out yourself or they could do it for you. TechAid have connections all over the world despite being based in Wales, with graphic designers in Germany, project managers in London, photographers from the USA and translators from Norway, Germany, France and Cambodia. TechAid are going back to Cambodia in October 2015 and aim to have one hundred laptop donations by then. If you would like to help the charity, you can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.co.uk/techaidcharity or call on 01646 699 351 for more information. There website will be up and running in the next few weeks too.

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Pembrokeshire RNLI crew member completes seven marathons in seven days

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BYRON GREY, 21, an RNLI volunteer at Little and Broad Haven has run 186 miles across the Pembrokeshire coast, raising nearly £5,000, to be shared between the lifesaving charity and a local mental health charity.

The fitness fanatic joined the RNLI crew at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of mum Vivienne Grey, launch authority at the station and dad Andy, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Little and Broad Haven.

He was keen to challenge himself to run the extra mile during lockdown and decide to use his efforts to support two of his favourite charities.

Byron, an apprentice at Valero trained hard to complete the gruelling challenge running from Amroth to Poppit, which he completed on Easter Monday. He said:

‘Though lockdown I got into fitness, running especially and wanted to test what I am capable of. So I came up with the idea of running the Pembrokeshire coast path in seven days and decided to raise money for two charities close to my heart.’

To donate to Byron’s challenge please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/byrons-pembrokeshire-coast-path-challenge?member=7740034&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer

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Crymych Library now offering order and collect service

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PEMBROKESHIRE Libraries has extended its popular Order and Collect service to Crymych Library.

Located at Ysgol y Preseli, the library becomes the latest in the county to operate the service, which is already available at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

On weekdays, orders can be placed online via the Order and Collect form at pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-reopening, by e-mailing george.edwards@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and copying in bibs@pembrokeshire.gov.uk, or over the phone by calling 01437 776126.

On Saturdays, orders can be placed by e-mailing crymychlibrary@pembrokeshire.gov.uk, or over the phone by calling the library on 01239 832092.

Library members can select up to a maximum of six items, and can either ask for a pre-selected collection such as romance or thrillers, or select specific titles from the online catalogue that are located at Crymych Library.

To access the online catalogue, log on to pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture, and select ‘Find Library Books’.

When placing an order, members can also specify their preferred format, such as Spoken Word, Large Print or items in the Welsh Language.

On submitting an order, members will be allocated a timeslot on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm to collect their items.

Library members should be aware of the following guidelines when using the Order and Collect service:

·         The service is for collection only – you will only be allowed to collect your chosen items and will be required to wear a face covering.

·         Queue only if you have an appointment to use the service.

·         Aim to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated timeslot.

·         If you wish to order books but are unable to collect the items yourself, a friend or family member can do so by prior arrangement.

·         You will need to provide your own bag/box when collecting your items.

·         2 metre social distancing must be observed during the collection process.

·         Do not use the Order and Collect service if you or a member of your family is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said “I am delighted that we are now in a position to add Crymych to our list of libraries who are offering the Order and Collect service.

“We continue to work hard behind the scenes towards our ultimate goal of reopening all libraries across the county, when it is safe to do so, and we will announce further developments in due course.”

Library members can also continue to enjoy free access to thousands of e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines and e-comics from home via the 24/7 e-Library.

To access the 24/7 e-Library, log on pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture, and select ‘24/7 e-Library’.

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Ambitious community project to capture untold stories from across Pembrokeshire

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MILFORD HAVEN’S Torch Theatre is launching ‘The Pembrokeshire Story’, an exciting new community project that aims to connect people across generations in celebrating the Pembrokeshire spirit.

We all love a good story, but they are especially good if they throw light on the place that we are from. The Pembrokeshire Story is trying to bring local artists and our community together by mapping the county through everyday stories told by the people who live here. A story might be something as simple as how life has changed over the years or it might be a special event that you would want to remember. So often these stories remain as legends within our own families, but this is a chance to share them with the world. Everyone has a story to tell and this project will facilitate these stories to be recorded and remembered for generations to come.

The inspiration behind the project originated from the Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director, Peter Doran, who, whilst caring for his father who was suffering with Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic in 2020, encouraged his father to elaborate on stories which previously he had only touched on in passing.

Peter said: “My father told us of his time as an evacuee, having been sent from his home in Liverpool to the Welsh speaking village of Llamberis in North Wales. It was a fascinating tale and one that we might never have heard about had it not been for Covid-19. We’re all so busy, I feel we just don’t spend enough time with each other to allow these wonderful moments to happen, we’re all so busy it would seem.”

Peter’s father has thankfully gone on to make a full recovery from Covid-19 and is continuing to tell many more stories.

The Pembrokeshire Story is being led by Tenby based creative James Williams, who has assembled a team of freelance artists to capture extraordinary stories in different mediums from across the county. These stories are only part of the project and the Torch Theatre requires your help to capture your stories told across the generations.

James added: “Local artists have already been working to gather stories from over the county, and now we’d like to ask you to join in. We are putting out a call for videos made by young people where they interview their grandparents or older relatives about their experiences and stories of Pembrokeshire. These videos will be added to an online Living Archive which will be available for anyone to access.”

All the stories submitted will be added to the Living Archive on the Pembrokeshire Story website which will be launched in April. Videos can be made on a phone or recorded from a digital platform call (ideally filmed in landscape), they can be in English or in Welsh but must be no longer than 5 minutes.

If you would prefer not to film your submission, we would be happy to receive your story as an audio recording (mp3 format) or in writing, with an accompanying photograph.

For more information visit https://www.torchtheatre.co.uk/the-pembrokeshire-story/

If you would like to submit a story, please contact James Williams via this email address marketing@torchtheatre.co.uk

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