Returning from war torn Sarajevo fifteen years ago, retired UN commander Mark Cook and his wife Caroline became determined to do something about the terrible conditions they had witnessed in a bombed-out orphanage. The charity’s first project was to see to the children’s immediate needs and rebuild the orphanage but they soon realised that the best place for a child to grow up is within a family.
From this vision and energy sprang a charity that now works across Central and Eastern Europe and Africa. They move children out of institutions and into caring families while supporting families at risk of breakdown due to the pressures of poverty, disease and conflict.
“Things moved very quickly,” explains Jo Mundy at the charity, Hope and Homes for Children. “We now raise approx £5million per year, and employ around 150 local people overseas.”
Fast growth brings its own challenges, and the charity knew it had to keep on top of things internally if its work was not to suffer. “We put together a three-year strategic IT plan,” Jo says. “Lots of our equipment is getting old, and our IT was putting the charity at risk. tt-exchange played an important role in implementing the plan.”
“I was trawling the Internet, looking for grants or potential donors,” she elaborates. “I found tt-exchange and realised that with their help we could move forwards far earlier than planned. We were suddenly in a much better position. Our network support team have been amazed at what we’ve been able to get.”
The donated products encompassed a complete Office and Windows/Exchange Server upgrade along with Symantec server backup software.
“We purchased a new virtualised server and, together with the tt-exchange products, this is enabling us to change our working practices. Staff will gradually be able log on wherever they are and access everything on our server,” says Jo. “Our home-workers can now connect up to the network – it will make a huge difference to them. It will allow us to be a much more flexible employer. We’re based in South Wiltshire, but often recruit people who live a long way away. Being able to work at home with full network access is a big advantage.”
tt-exchange has enabled Hope and Homes for Children to make far greater progress against its IT development plan that was initially envisaged at the beginning of this year. With an enhanced infrastructure, it is already saving money on maintenance and equipment replacement costs. “IT underpins all of our office work,” comments Jo. “If staff are hampered by inefficient IT then that makes no sense at all.”
“For charities our size and age, tt-exchange is brilliant,” she concludes. “I just wish there were more organisations like tt-exchange, where charities could tap into the resources they need to keep up to date. With tt-exchange we’ve done what we needed to do, and we’re in a much better position now to go forward.”
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Alongside Africa's experiences with tt-exchange and Skype credit vouchers.