FOUNDER AND LEGACY
Many of us see the imbalance of wealth and unequal access to opportunities in the world and feel how unfair it is – and that it just cannot be right. Some of us even give what we can to try and make a difference. A few incredible individuals are driven into full action by this feeling.
2002 Kenya Church visit
Having seen absolute poverty first-hand – Rachel was one of these incredible individuals. Fundamentally moved and changed forever by a trip with her church to Kenya in 2002, she was unable to not do anything, and Rachel being Rachel, this meant achieving something incredible that at times felt almost impossible.
Kenya’s overwhelming disparity
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless by the disparity between those that have and those that have not, but Rachel’s philosophy was – if everyone did a little, a few would not need to do a lot, and so, TABS International was born and the rest is well…history.
The loss of Rachel
We lost Rachel to Cancer at the end of April 2020, a loss that has been and still is such a heart-breaking blow to all those who knew and loved her, for you could not have known Rachel without loving her. She was an inspiration to all of us, full of love and care for those close to her and those whom she supported in her long career as a Social Worker and then as an Operations Manager for a homeless charity. Her non-judgemental approach to understanding others drew so many to her, and the hole she leaves is great, un-fillable.
Memory and legacy
It is not possible to do justice to the person Rachel was and how she touched people’s lives in these few words, but we at TABS are determined to keep her memory and legacy alive by continuing with her vision. Her daughter Ellen who has been a TABS trustee from the start has taken on her mother’s role of Chair – big shoes to fill – nevertheless, the TABS team are strong and faithful, and we will endeavour to do all we can to make a positive difference in this World.
In 2002 Rachel Sanders the founder of TABS International was fortunate to take advantage of an opportunity to travel to Kenya with a group of people from churches in East Devon. The purpose of the trip was to visit several projects supported by church members and meet the leaders of those projects. All the projects worked with children and families trying to alleviate the impact of poverty and deprivation by providing healthcare, feeding programmes and education.
Supporting families from poor backgrounds
Many of the families lived in slum areas and many children were orphans. It occurred to her that the work taking place in the projects was remarkably like her own work back in the UK with disadvantaged and homeless people. Like many young people in the UK Rachel’s two daughters had a GAP year before going to university. The impact on them was profound. It struck her that the homeless young people she worked with would never have that opportunity. Could we bring the two things together, working to alleviate the impact of extreme poverty and providing disadvantaged people with a life changing experience?
Intrepid explorers build a school canteen
And so, in January 2006 after much fundraising and with much support a small group of intrepid explorers made up of five volunteers, four young people and Bob the builder (yes, Bob the builder) travelled to a slum in Nairobi known as Kayole to build a school canteen in one of the projects we support. Since this trip we have not looked back and in 2007 TABS International was formally registered as a charity with the charity commission. We have visited Kenya many times since then, 3 of these trips being with a group of volunteers made up of disadvantaged people from all over the UK who worked in the project we support in Kiandutu, digging foundations, building school buildings, painting, and anything else that needed doing while we are there.
John’s work with TABS
In 2015 TABS Trustees invited John McCallum to join them as a Trustee. John was an active member of All Saints Church Bedworth, a church that had supported TABS’ work in Kenya for many years. John and his family supported Trustee Kath Farmer (also a member of All Saints Church) in many fundraising events. Over the years together they initiated a host of different ways to raise money with John always looking for the most amusing – eg, dunking the Rector Rev Richard Hare into a bath of cold slime! John wanted fundraising to be fun and he worked hard at that encouraging all ages to be involved.
John’s charity and community work
John worked for Coventry Diocese for a period as their Anti-Poverty Officer, helping parishes to raise a substantial amount of money. He then moved on to work for Near Neighbours in Leicester, promoting good inter-community relations, but continued sharing his gifts and talents with TABS International. John worked closely with former Chair Rachel Sanders to bolster good governance for the charity and write funding bids.
John’s sad passing
John sadly passed away on 29th June 2019 after a battle with cancer. His humour and wit is greatly missed by his family, his church and also his fellow TABS Trustees. John never had the opportunity to visit the project in Kenya and so the Trustees agreed to a memorial plaque being placed on the first brick building on the site.