Once again, we've had so many strong contenders for the Explore Charity of the Year and it's been a tough job to whittle them down. The Explore team have voted for two winning causes, each receiving £3,000: Phase Nepal, which provides healthcare to help communities in the most remote and deprived areas of Nepal; and Final Straw, based in the UK and fighting plastic pollution. Read on to find out more about the incredible work of these two charities.
The first charity to win £3,000 in Explore Charity of the Year 2019 is Phase Nepal. Based in the Bajura District in the far west of Nepal, the charity focuses its efforts on providing healthcare to communities with limited access to basic essentials, such as medicine and healthcare professionals. In the town of Kolti, the nearest medical centre is a two-to-three-day walk away - an impossible journey for the very old, young, or infirm.
Working towards a sustainable solution, Phase Nepal aims to educate the local people around the need for basic sanitation and their right to have access to primary healthcare in their town. They endeavour to have an established clinic in the town within ten years, with sufficient supplies and healthcare workers that is can sustain itself.
In the meantime, £3,000 will buy a year's worth of medicines and medical supplies and an auxiliary nurse midwife who will provide antenatal care and support with child health and nutrition. The Phase Nepal team will also supplement the skills of government health workers and respond to any medical emergencies.
Phase Nepal's work is crucial and we are delighted to be supporting them; upon hearing the news, Phase Nepal's Tom told us how the news had "made his week."
The second charity to be chosen for a £3,000 donation is Final Straw, based on England's south coast. Run entirely by volunteers, this charity began in Emsworth, Hampshire, just last year with the ambition of reducing plastic waste in the local community. Since its humble beginnings, when volunteers approached local businesses to reduce their plastic waste by either switching to paper, metal or bamboo straws, or saying no to them entirely, they now organise regular beach cleans and school assemblies to spread the message further.
Bianca and Lissie from Final Straw were delighted to have been chosen and told us how the £3,000 donation would be used: "This is so exciting, we are absolutely thrilled! Thank you so much. It will go towards continuing our work with schools and community groups as well as towards beach cleaning equipment. It will also enable us to continue working to encourage the boomerang bag scheme and hopefully be able to spread it further."
With 550 million plastic straws being thrown away every day in the UK and USA alone, Final Straw's work shows how small actions by individuals can help make a much bigger difference.
To find out more about the charities we support and initiatives we have funded over the past few years, visit our Sustainability pages.