UK Government

Department For International Development: Minister Visits Chingford Charity To Celebrate Volunteering Programme In Africa

Press Release   •   Dec 18, 2009 10:50 GMT

Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development, today visited African Foundation Stone, (AFS), an innovative Chingford-based charity which runs a successful international volunteering programme.

British professionals of African and Caribbean descent take as little as two weeks out of their lives to transfer their valuable skills to small non-governmental organisations in Africa.

The organisation is encouraging more people to become part of this global partnership for development and today’s event will provide an insight into what the black community in London can do to help improve the lives of disadvantaged people both in the UK and Africa.

Africa Foundation Stone (AFS) was created in 2000. Its international volunteering programme has enabled scores of talented professionals to travel to the Cameroon for between two and as long as six weeks to support local NGOs and help develop their management skills, fundraising abilities, and lobbying skills. Many volunteers return time and again.

Closer to home, the charity has initiated many projects in East London to support the local community and help those on the verge of social exclusion.  It has formed a local football team for young people (Blackstone FC) and  runs a youth programme called Vizion. AFS is also a recognised Edexcel centre, with an 80 per cent  pass rate for GSCE and A- levels.

Gareth Thomas, Minister for International Development, said: “The fantastic work of the Africa Foundation Stone means professionals trained in Britain have the opportunity to use their skills to help people in the developing world.

“The global economic crisis is hitting the poorest people hardest, and 900 million people around the world will go to bed hungry tonight, which makes aid more important than ever.

“Projects like this will help improve the lives of future generations in Africa, as well as ensuring nations grown and prosper.”

“Valentin Yombo-Djema, the CEO of African Foundation Stone, said:

“Since my childhood, I have had a dream for my continent.  My dream was to see Africans supporting Africa.  AFS’s challenge is to engage diaspora professionals living in the UK and Europe to use their skills in volunteering to tackle social and economic disadvantage in Africa.”

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

1. DFID is the Government Department that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty.

2.      For more information on Africa Foundation Stone please go to


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