Local Community News

ISLANDERS EN-ROUTE TO KENYA TO HELP LESS PRIVILEGED CHILDREN

5 Isle of Wight residents will be travelling to Uzima in Western Kenya in February to spend 2 weeks volunteering for the charity ‘Uzima In Our Hands’.

The Islanders will spend time at the Uzima Day Care Centre helping support the 295 children who attend each day. The children live in extreme poverty and most would die without being able to attend the day care centre where they receive 2 meals a day, as well as a basic education.

Founder charity trustee, Joy Mowle from Freshwater will accompany colleague Clare Griffin from Cowes, both of whom work at West Wight Sports & Community Centre. Norma Letham from Brading and mother and son duo, Jane and Peter Herman from Merstone will also travel to Kenya.

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The group will carry the maximum luggage allowance – 46kg each- all of which will be items desperately needed by the children. Personal possessions will be limited to what can be carried in hand luggage. Last year the charity were able to donate clothing to the children and many now proudly wear school uniforms donated by many Island families and schools. It became apparent that whilst the children were proud to dress smartly to attend school, there was a desperate need to provide underwear for the children. The group of Islanders have therefore successfully appealed to family and friends and will be taking more than 300 pairs of boys and girls pants to give to the children. In addition to this they will take books, pens, medical supplies, small toys and sports equipment.

Whilst at Uzima the group of 5 will assist with a variety of jobs including treating the children for jiggers, which is a parasite which burrows into the feet and causes pain and deformity. It’s prevented simply by wearing shoes and the group will use money raised to buy shoes for the children while they are there. They will also spend time photographing the children so that the charity can run a sponsorship programme, helping with teaching and sports, and running errands to buy essential supplies with the money brought over from UK. Nurse, Jane Herman will be assisting with the medical needs of the children.

Following on from the appeal for underwear, the group realised that the older girls and women staff and volunteers had no access to sanitary items. Clare Griffin said:

“We discovered that the older girls and women had to either stay at home or use rags during their menstruation. I couldn’t imagine putting my life on hold once a month so I set up a fundraising page to buy enough re-usable sanitary pads for all the girls and women at Uzima. The packs are made in Uganda by an ethical company and will be delivered to nearby Kisumu by courier where we will collect and take them to Uzima.

“Family and friends have been so generous that we’ve exceeded what we need to buy the pads and will have enough to buy 2 sewing machines so that they can make their own as well as mend and make their own clothes. The fundraising page is still open and if people wish to help they can go to http://www.everyclick.com/sanitarytowelsforchristmas”.

All members of the group will fund their own travel costs and 100% of money raised can be guaranteed to get directly to the children. 17-year-old Peter Herman who will be travelling with mum, Jane has already raised funds for the trip by running across the Island.

The Centre was set up by Kenyan, Evans Barasa who saw the need to help children in the area and devoted his life savings to set up the Day Care Centre. West Wight resident, Joy Mowle who grew up in East Africa said:

“I met Evans on a previous trip to Kenya and was so inspired and touched by his work that I decided to set up a charity here to help him with his work. We now send around £1000 every month to Uzima and all the money is generously donated by the many charity supporters, most of whom are Islanders.”

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