Magbenteh school-feeding programme off to a successful start

Aurora Foundation recently signed an agreement with The Swiss – Sierra Leone Development Foundation (SSLDF)  to support a school-feeding programme in the Magbenteh Community Boarding School. The school is based in the Bombali district in Sierra Leone and the children are from the most deprived surrounding villages including those left orphaned by Ebola.

The school was founded in 2016 and it became evident right from the beginning that a school-feeding programme was needed. The children were coming to school on an empty stomach, which was not conducive to learning and therefore the level of education ingrained. In Sierra Leone, malnutrition is prevalent amongst children, with 30% of children under 5 years old facing chronic malnutrition in 2014 according to the World Food Programme.

On its second month, the school-feeding programme is already off to a successful start, and the SSLDF has already reported increased energy levels and focus in the classrooms.

A specific focus on the nutritional aspect has been emphasized in regard to the quality of ingredients used, ensuring that vitamins, fat, calcium and protein, are incorporated into the diet. For example, breakfast consists of porridge, pap with lime and sugar, eggs and bread. Whilst lunch contains chicken or fish with rice, cassava leaf, beans and groundnut soup. Each child has the responsibility of washing their bowl and cutlery prior and after eating, creating a sense of self-worth and accountability.

Final Reports from UNICEF as a five year projects closes down

The largest project Aurora has signed on to is the five year educational project in the West African country Sierra Leone, that Aurora supported in cooperation with UNICEF in Iceland and UNICEF in Sierra Leone. The project focused on building a child friendly educational environment, especially focusing on the girl child. In total Aurora donated about 1,7mUSD to this project which was essentially split into two projects. The final report can be found in the sidebar of each of the project pages here and here.

Allocation to the daughter funds and to Aurora Fund’s educational project inSierra Leone

The Aurora Fund’s fifth allocation took place on 15 February when ISK 85 million were allocated to Aurora’s Design Fund, Kraumur Music Fund and UNICEF.

The board of Aurora Fund decided, according to the policy of the fund, to adjust this allocation better to a difficult situation on the financial markets.  Great fluctuations on the markets have resulted in the rate of return being lower than in the first years of the fund. According to the objectives of Aurora Fund the allocations may not exceed the return of the fund.  It may therefore be expected to affect the allocations of the fund in the next few years.  However, despite a collapse in the economic market in 2008 as well as a difficult situation following the collapse, the fund is strong as before.

This fifth allocation of the fund was ISK 40 million to an educational project in Sierra Leone in cooperation with the education authorities in the country as well as UNICEF in Iceland and in Sierra Leone.  This is the fifth and the last allocation to this largest and most important project of the Fund from the beginning; to build a child friendly educational system and school facilities, focusing especially on the needs of girls. All in all, the fund has allocated about ISK 240 million to the project, including the ISK 36 million that the founders of the fund donated earlier.

Aurora Design Fund will receive ISK 25 million which is the first payment of ISL 75 million that the board of Aurora decided to allocate to the Design Fund to ensure its continuation for the next three years.   The Design Fund will continue to respect the policy to support exceptional designers who have a solid business plan and a clear future vision.

Kraumur Music Fund received ISK 20 million to give boost to the Icelandic music scene, mainly by supporting young musicians and assist them in promoting their art.</br>

Performing arts, the search and rescue team Ársæll and the exhibition ofLouise Bourgouis at the National Gallery of Iceland are new sponsor projects ofAurora Fund

Today, 16 February 2011 Aurora Fund allocates for the fourth time ISK 100 million to six projects within the field of humanities, education and culture in Iceland and in Sierra Leone.
Grants for performing arts:
In Iceland performing arts have been in a great uptrend recently and the creative energy has received international attention.  Aurora has decided to sponsor performing arts in Iceland, i.e. theatre, dance and song for about ISK10 million. In this way Aurora Fund wants to strengthen even further the performing arts by sponsoring exceptional and ambitious projects.  Aurora Fund has recruited Viðar Eggertsson director and Ingibjörg Þórisdóttir dramaturge and critic, to give professional advice in selecting projects and a great emphasis will be on projects that are artistic, bold and professional.
Applications may now be sent in and further information is on the Fund’s homepage.

The Search and Rescue team Ársæll:
The Search and Rescue team Ársæll is a department within the International rescue team of Slysavarnafélagið Landsbjörg and they assist in storms, earthquakes and flooding in inhabited areas everywhere in the country.  The team did a huge feat in a difficult situation in Haiti following the earthquake in January 2010 and they were among the first rescue teams to arrive on the site.  Much of their specialised equipment needs maintenance and replacement and therefore the Aurora Fund has decided to donate ISK 3 million to the team. The money will be used to buy equipment.

Further information:

Louise Bourgeois – Exhibition of her artwork in the National Gallery of Iceland:
Louise Bourgeois is one of the best known women artists of the contemporary world. She died in 2010 when she was 99 years old, still agile and working vigorously as an artist. She started her career as a painter but around the middle of the last century she started sculpting which developed into massive instalments. She is a pioneer in that field and considered by many to be the artist that bridged the gap between modern- and contemporary art.  Now, at her 100 year anniversary exhibitions of her work are more popular than ever and therefore this is a unique opportunity for the National Gallery of Iceland to get an exhibition of this size and the first one in Europe since the artist passed away. Foreign visitors are expected that will come solely for the exhibition. The Aurora Fund has decided to donate ISK 3 million to the National Gallery of Iceland to sponsor the exhibition of the works of Louise Bourgeois and publication of a book about the artist which will give Icelanders a chance to get to know this artist a little better.
Attached is further information as well as pictures, one of Louise in 2007 taken by Dimitris Yeros and the other one is of her work Spider from 1995.

Further information: 

Kraumur Music Fund:
Kraumur Music Fund was established in 2008 by Aurora Fund as an experimental project for three years. The Kraumur activities have been flourishing and the fund has engaged in miscellaneous cooperative work with people within the music industry. During these three years around 100 musicians, bands and various music projects have been allocated about ISK 60 million.  Kraumur has, among other things, sponsored concerts and tours in Iceland and abroad, assisted in overseas marketing and launched new musical awards under the name of the Kraumur List.  It is therefore clear that the fund’s presence is important in the music sector in Iceland and the fund has now received 232 applications for the next allocation. Therefore the board of Aurora decided to continue this good work and provide another ISK 60 million for Kraumur Music Fund for the next three years.

Further information:

Aurora Design Fund:
Aurora Design Fund was established two years ago and is now receiving ISK 25 million for the third time. The fund has supported and worked with a diverse group of designers and the objective of the fund is to support designers and assist them is promoting themselves, their ideas, products and projects in Iceland as well as internationally. Besides, the fund also shares knowledge in the field of design and architecture in cooperation with others in the field as needed. Aurora Design Fund has as an objective to support promising designers and strengthen design work on the grass root level. The fund emphasises the support of projects that are exceptional in some way, encourage creativity and imagination within Icelandic design.

Further information: 

UNICEF’s educational project in Sierra Leone in Africa:
Aurora allocates for the fourth time ISK 40 million to build up a child friendly educational system and school facilities, especially with girls’ needs in mind. This is a part of the Fund’s most extensive project since its foundation and a total of ISK 160 million has been allocated to the project.  The project is in cooperation with the local educational authorities and UNICEF in Iceland and in Sierra Leone.  As a result of this project there are already over one hundred teachers who have received retraining and about 60 schoolhouses have been built with the appropriate water supply, plumbing, furniture and teaching materials.  A great effort is put into the education of teachers and training in teaching methods where the child is in a priority position and the community is activated by establishing parents’ associations at the schools as well as clubs for mothers. The project has been very successful and the same approach may be used in other parts of Sierra Leone.

This is the fourth time that grants are allocated from the Aurora Fund since its establishment in January 2007 by the couple Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir and Ólafur Ólafsson who started the fund with a capital sum of ISK one billion.  During these years grants have been allocated from the fund to projects that can contribute to a better life in Iceland as well as the developing countries.  Aurora Fund is a non-profit organisation that has fulfilled its objectives to support few, but large projects where there is need for considerable amounts of money in order for them to be realised.
The board of the Fund also wants to see the projects having a profound influence in the community. An emphasis is on the contributions in Iceland strengthening innovation and new projects so as to boost the variety of economic activity in the country. Projects that Aurora sponsors in the developing countries are first and foremost within education and culture. An effort is made to follow through with projects and support awardees and partners as much as possible.

Aurora fund allocates 111, 5 million ISK to projects in Iceland and in Africa

The Board of the Aurora Fund has allocated ISK 111.5 million in support of six projects in the field of humanitarian aid, education and culture in Iceland as well as the African countries of Sierra Leone and Mozambique. Four of these projects have not been Fund beneficiaries before.
This is the second time the Aurora Fund allocates grants from its funds. Aurora was founded in January 2007 by Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir, landscape architect, and her husband, Ólafur Ólafsson, a member of the board of Samskip and Alfesca.

The foundation was initially capitalised by ISK one billion and its annual contributions will derive from interest and other profits from the initial funding, in addition to any money that may be donated. The primary aim of the foundation is to enhance and strengthen cultural and humanitarian activities in Iceland and in the developing countries. It should be mentioned that most of the Fund’s assets were protected during the economic collapse, and its Board will continue to work in the spirit it was intended.

The Icelandic Red Cross will receive ISK 20 million in support of three projects:

Aurora Board Reasoning:
The Icelandic Red Cross is highly respected for its extensive humanitarian aid –  both locally and abroad – where professionalism and selflessness are always at the forefront. The Aurora Foundation decided to assist those who suffer as a result of the economic crisis in Iceland, and collaboration with the Icelandic Red Cross seemed the best way to approach such a goal. The three projects, that Aurora is supporting this year, all serve different groups in need of assistance.

The Newly founded Aurora Design Fund is a three year experimental project, receiving ISK 25 million per year to support designers getting their work noticed and to assist in product development, primary production, and marketing, both locally and internationally. The Foundation will also communicate knowledge in the field of design and support collaboration between designers and the general economy. A Fund such as this one has never before existed in Iceland.
The Aurora Design Fund will soon open the website where further information can be reached.

Aurora Board Reasoning:
There is a clear need for a design fund in Iceland, to support promising designer as well as to empower the design grassroots and be a platform for ideas and creative thought in the field. The board of Aurora hopes that the new fund will encourage the growth of Icelandic design and that it will become one of the foundations for renaissance in business.
Hugi Guðmundsson, composer, will receive ISK 3 million for the webpage in support of an international cultural project, meant to empower classical music and reach new audiences through the internet.

Aurora Board Reasoning: is the result of a pioneering spirit of the sort that Aurora Foundations wishes to encourage and strengthen. It is a unique project, especially in that it helps to introduce classical music to young people. Hugi Guðmundsson has a clear vision for the future and even though the project is still relatively small, it has all the means to become a driving force and a large influence in the world of classical music.
UNICEF in Iceland receives ISK 3, 5 million to support an award winning child-to-child radio programme organised by UNICEF with children and young people in Mozambique. The radio programme focuses on peer tutoring, empowering oneself, and the participation of children. The National Radio of Iceland, Rás 1, is now working on a similar radio show for children in Iceland, also in collaboration with UNICEF, honouring the 20 year anniversary of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Aurora Board Reasoning:
The project in Mozambique is a fascinating example of peer tutoring where children and teenagers use radio to conduct a discussion on their own premises regarding problems they face. UNICEF and the National Radio’s plan on starting a radio programme in Iceland built on the Mozambique project is very interesting, but the goal is to create a connection between the young people in these two countries and thereby uniting their two different worlds of experience.

UNICEF’s educational program in Sierra Leone will receive ISK 40 million continued support to create a child-friendly educational system and to build schools, keeping the needs of girls especially in mind. The project began last year, promising Aurora’s continued support for a total of ISK 120 million, to be paid out in three parts between 2008-2010.
The project in Sierra Leone is Aurora Foundation’s biggest project to date, and has already trained over a hundred teachers. Nine schools are currently being constructed in the Kono district, with proper water and drainage systems, furniture and teaching utilities.

Kraumur, Aurora’s music fund will receive ISK 20 million to support aspiring musicians in their art and the marketing thereof. Kraumur was founded last year,  at the behest of the Aurora Foundation, with a promise of ISK 50 million to be divided in three payments from 2008-2010. The Aurora fund decided to add another 5 million to the expected 15 million contribution this year, since Kraumur has proven itself to be sorely needed, and its presence of enormous value.
Kraumur’s operations are extensive and flourishing, and the fund has contributed widely. It has supported concerts and tours both in Iceland and abroad, assisted in marketing and created a new award, the Kraumur Award, among other things. Further information can be found on Kraumur’s lively webpage: