Newcastle based international children’s charity COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas) has been given a boost thanks to a new partnership with a university alumni organisation.  COCO has been named as one of only four global charity partners of whatALUMNIsay, which showcases inspirational graduates who have gone on to make impacts in business and charity.  Newcastle University graduate Christopher Jaume volunteered with COCO during his time as a student and nominated the charity to be a whatALUMNIsay partner.  As a result, COCO will receive £250 a year from the organisation and will be promoted through whatALUMNIsay communications.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Jaume studied architecture at Newcastle University and has gone on to co-found the successful Cooper King Distillery in York with his partner and fellow graduate Abbie Neilson.  During their time at university, Christopher and Abbie volunteered with COCO and gained valuable work and life experience at one of the charity’s projects in Tanzania.  Christopher nominated COCO because of the work it undertakes in East Africa, investing in small, sustainable, community led initiatives that can make a big difference at a local level.  whatALUMNIsay is committed to supporting charities that make a real difference to people’s lives by enabling them to access the education that creates lifelong opportunities that would otherwise be denied to them.

Christopher comments: “During our time volunteering with COCO we climbed Kilimanjaro, lived with the Maasai, taught their children Swahili and worked on some outreach projects in some pretty remote villages.  I got to put my architectural skills to use, drawing up plans and elevations for the renovation of a vocational training school in a rural village, run by a local charity called Hoja and backed by COCO.  My drawings went on to be approved by the government of Tanzania! The renovations transformed the school, and it has since gone on to be one of the top performing schools in the district.  I witnessed first-hand the huge impact that a charity like COCO can make, which is why I nominated it to be a whatALUMNIsay global partner.”

Lucy Kendall, CEO of COCO, adds: “It’s a real honour for COCO to be named as one of only four whatALUMNIsay global charity partners and we are very grateful to Christopher for making the nomination.  This is a fantastic opportunity to profile our work among inspirational alumni around the world and to the institutions that have played a key role in their journey. Not only will the additional funds support our vital work overseas, but we also hope that the partnership will help us to attract more potential volunteers from the student and alumni communities.”

COCO was co-founded by Steve Cram and British Army Major Jim Panton in 2000. It works with communities in remote regions of the developing world that provide children with access to the education that is essential for a good start in life, investing in small, sustainable, community led initiatives that can make a big difference at a local level.  Key projects include the Schools for Life programme which has now enabled 2,940 young people to access sustainable education in a safe environment.  The charity has now supported 50 transformational projects in 16 countries in total, positively impacting the lives of over 200,000 people.

To find out more about the work of COCO visit www.coco.org.uk, find the charity on Facebook or follow @COCO_Charity on Twitter.

To find out more about whatALUMNIsay visit www.whatalumnisay.com