Published on Wednesday 31 August 2011 22:00
THE DISS-based charity To Kenya with Love (TKWL) this year celebrates 20 years of making a difference in the lives of desperately poor African children by giving them shelter and schooling.
It is marking its milestone anniversary with a new fundraising push to add eight permanent classrooms to the school it built in the Kisumu wasteland area of Kenya.
Part of its fundraising campaign includes a 24-hour marathon ‘24 Sport 4 Kenya’ event at the DC3 (Diss Christian Community Church) Sports Hall in Vinces Road, Diss, on September 9 and 10.
TKWL was started as a mission project for DC3 in 1991 by the late Simon Newberry from Diss, later becoming a fully registered charity.
Mr Newberry, who with his wife, Janet, had run a mother and toddler group at DC3, visited the desperately poor urban area of Kisumu, one of the most deprived in Kenya, and was moved to help the local children, many of whom had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and other diseases and had little hope of a healthy life and education.Battling ill health himself, he continued to work with the TKWL team and early on established a nursery school in the tough slum area, at the same time initiating a ‘sponsor a child’ support scheme. It provides school uniform and shoes for pupils, as well as health care, family support and food. In return, sponsors received regular school progress reports with photos and letters from the sponsored children.
Mr Newberry died in 2004, but his widow Janet, who still lives in Diss, continues to be a trustee of the charity and regularly visits Kisumu to oversee the care of the children.
On a recent trip, she saw the first new school building completed and named the Simon Newberry Nursery School.
Chairman of the charity, Graham Blake said: “The school grounds incorporate play areas with trees and bushes providing a calm and peaceful shelter only yards away from one of the biggest slum areas of Kisumu – a genuine oasis in the midst of despair.”
He said the building and work could not go on without the generosity of local people around Diss and Harleston.
DC3 and local schools such as Harleston Primary, Archbishop Sancroft in Harleston and Kadesh Education, also support with fundraising activities and regular monthly donations, while local businesses have also helped with donations and gifts for raffle prizes.
In all, more than 450 children have been helped with 250 currently being actively supported.
The sponsorship and support base has also spread to other areas of the UK and a recent `Food for Life` initiative at DC3 raised £2,000 with £1000 going to the TKWL food project at the school in Kisumu.
Mr Blake said the next phase of the project is to build eight permanent classrooms at the school at a cost of £60,000.
“This, combined with the rising cost of what little food is available, means the need to make a difference and to continue to generate vital funding is as great as ever,” he said.
For more information visit www.tkwl.org.uk
n 24 Sport 4 Kenya runs from 4pm on September 9 to 4pm on September 10 and will see local sports clubs joining DC3 for 24 hours of sponsored sports and training sessions, with a suggested minimum donation or £3 per hour for the one or two hour-long activities.
There will be lots for children and adults to do, from football coaching, Kwik Cricket, volleyball, basketball, netball, badminton, pilates, zumba, martial arts, kick boxing and table tennis, to Wii sports, pool, darts and board games and cards.
Diss and District Athletics Club will also run children’s indoor athletics and archery sessions and will be taking part in a 6am ‘dawn run’.
For more details and sponsor forms see www.tkwl.org.uk/sports24.php or contact Graham at the DC3 office on 01379 644223.