Gudrun Margret Palsdottir has stepped down as chairman of ABC Iceland and has resigned from her work for ABC children‘s aid. Gudrun Margret informed the staff of ABC about her decision after the board meeting last Tuesday evening.  Alternative board member Pall Elfar Palsson has been elected as the new chairman of ABC Iceland.

Gudrun Margret, one of the founders of ABC children‘s aid, says that with her resignation she is taking responsibility for the situation that has arisen in Kenya and expects her decision will maintain the credibility of the work the organization performs and firmly establish it for the unforseeable future.

A statement from Gudrun Margret:

Early this spring I announced to the ABC Iceland board my decision to resign as chairman and my plans of resuming studies. Last Tuesday Pall Elfar Palsson was formally chosen chairman and assumed the position. I also announced to the board my decision to resign as an employee of ABC children‘s aid, for the time being at least.  Although my reasons are partly due to interest in resuming studies the main reason for my departure is the current situation that has arisen in Kenya where the general manager has abused the trust that she was granted.

As chairman of ABC children‘s aid I should have heeded the concerns many had directed towards me regarding the general manager‘s work performance and stepped in earlier. Instead I put my faith in the general manager‘s explanations and defended her. In light of recent events I see this was a great mistake and I apologize for that. Since the general manager‘s dismissal, an official government agency in Kenya has instigated an investigation into financial affairs and other matters regarding ABC‘s operations in Kenya and consequently has closed the school in Kariobangi due to health concerns. Despite us successfully relocating the school, and therefore ensuring the continuation of school work, this has caused difficulty and has been harmful as financial support for the children has decreased. This has been upsetting for me and the work as a whole because it adversely affects the children.

Ever since I founded ABC children‘s aid along with other good people some 27 years ago I have been a full time employee for the organization, there of 23 years as a volunteer. My vision, and ABC‘s, has always been to provide poor children a way to educate themselves, help illiterate people to read and to help street children make a life for themselves by providing a home and education. Today I can rejoice over the fact that good work has been done in the name of ABC regarding poor children all over the world for many years. The work has to be preserved so that the children under ABC‘s wing will continue to have the support neccessary and more poor children can have the opportunity for a better life.

I‘m extremely grateful for the new chairman, the board, the general manager and all of the staff at ABC.  They are all very fine individuals who I trust completely. I am also very thankful for the cooperation with the Children‘s Mission where I will still be a board member taking part in planning the future and watching the vision be fulfilled. My wish is that ABC children‘s aid will have all the support it needs and people will not let my mistakes prevent them from becoming sponsors.

With sincere gratitude for all the support ABC has been granted through the years.

 

Guðrún Margrét Pálsdóttir

ABC children's aid in Iceland will pay for the treatment of a student who's suffered spinal chord injuries following an accident.

In the accompanying photograph are the girl who's injured along with her mother and Thrainn Skulason, our representative in Kenya, and Hellen, an employee of ABC. The girl's mother is a widow and does not have enough money to pay for the treatment so we're happy to be able to provide the financial support necessary.

 

The students of the ABC school in Nairobi, Kenya take part in Kenya Music Festivals.

In the first prelimiray, which was held in the beginning of June, our students did extreemly well. The categories were:
1. Choir; 1. place
2. Poems in English; 1.place
3. Poems in native language; 1. place
4. Poems in Kiswahili; 3. og 4. place
5. Poems, primary students; 4. place
6. Folk songs; 5.place

With this examplary success, the students who took first place continued to the next round and last week to the regionals in Kajiado.

The students took again first place in 3 categories; Choir, poems in English and Poems in native language. We have to admit that we are very excited for the National level that will be held in beginning of August,

School work has commenced at a new location in Kenya. The Star of Hope school is located in Mathare, Nairobi. The new surroundings will be quite familiar to some of the children as it's the place where the school was located before the move to Kariobangi in 2012.

As has been reported the school ground in Kariobangi has been shut down due to health reasons by the NGO's co-ordination board.

According to Astridur Juliusdottir, an employee of ABC Iceland currently stationed in Nairobi, the children are very happy with the new place and liken it to a welcome homecoming.

A meeting for our sponsors took place on june 29th, at Grand Hotel in Reykjavik, where the situation regarding matters in Kenya was explained. Attendance was over 90 people.

ABC Iceland's general manager, Fridur Birna Stefansdottir, and Einar Gautur Steingrimsson, the organization's lawyer, explained why the general manager in ABC Kenya was relieved of her duties and addressed the chain of events that have followed since. Chairman of the meeting was Pall Elvar Palsson.

During the meeting a Skype connection was established with our leaders in Kenya along with staff and students of the school. Also present there was Melody Taylor, executive director of Go Near Ministry which is a charity based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Go Near has been working closely with ABC in Kenya.

The staff and students assured sponsors that all the monetary assistance had been received and that they were happy with the changes being made.

Einar Gautur explained that the general manager of ABC Kenya was relieved of duties due to a breach of trust. The general manager assembled a board meeting last spring but didn't inform three members. Those who attended dismissed from the board those who didn't and brought in three new members and agreed upon changes in the charter. With this action the general manager seized control over ABC Kenya. ABC Kenya answered to ABC Iceland according to the orginal charter dating back to 2006. Einar Gautur said this action was illegal but still these changes went through.

Because of the situation that had arisen ABC Iceland decided to have no further contact with ABC Kenya and handle directly all matters involving the work in Kenya.

The general manger of ABC Iceland addressed a question from an audience member when she stated that the former general manager of ABC Kenya had certainly performed her job well for a long period of time but "for the last 18 months to two years things over there just haven't been all right".

The bottom line is that the interests of the children come first. An objective examination of the situation is needed and that was addressed by a few audience members and the chairman fully agreed. The work that has been performed in Kenya is invaluable and must continue.

 

 

 

 

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