Shine is a small charity run by two Fairfield residents, Vineet and Sian Bhatnagar. Its aim is to help alleviate poverty in Africa by tackling one of the root causes – illiteracy. In practice this means setting up schools to provide free literacy education in the poorest areas. 

Shine has built its first literacy school in the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia, and currently offers 185 orphans and vulnerable children the chance to receive a free education there, along with a free daily meal. The two-year program targets children who have reached the age of eight or above without receiving any formal education. The charity also provides much-needed jobs in this very poor community. To find out more about Shine you can visit

This month, many incredibly kind Fairfield residents led by Toni Peebles have pledged to make up Christmas shoe boxes filled with presents for the pupils who attend Shine Zambia Reading Academy. As the number of boxes pledged quickly exceeded the number of children, Toni adapted the plan to also raise additional money to fund 185 ‘back to school’ bags filled with essential items for the new school year, which starts in January. 

If you haven’t already signed up for a shoe box and would like to help, you can make a donation towards the ‘back to school’ bags (costing £5 each) or the postage of the boxes at You can also follow the project via Facebook by asking to join the group ‘Make Christmas SHINE’.