Ten months ago, my dear friend Darren Walsh - a Unicef Ambassador - introduced me to a small community that was badly in need of a school house.
Just getting to the village was a feat in itself. I travelled for two days, taking four flights and a four hour, bumpy car ride to the small village on the outskirts of Kisumu, Kenya.
Here, I was able to meet with the village elders and discuss the current schooling problems facing their community.
I spoke first-hand to some of the parents from the village. Some, who were also affected by AIDS, explained that the children walked for THREE HOURS EACH DAY just to get to the nearest school. Some of the children are as young as 3, the oldest 13, but all of them so eager to learn that they are up before dawn and ready to set off on their walk at 5am to arrive at school by 8am.
They hike in the sweltering heat of the summer and traipse through the mud and torrential rains of winter, often risking their own lives just for the chance of an education.
Little ones as young as 4 and 5 were making the daily trip to and from this remote school. A six-hour round trip - often without food - where the only sustenance comes from whatever fruits, berries or mushrooms they manage to find along the way.
We were taken down to the track that the children use to walk to and from school and came across a small group of 4, 5 & 6 year olds on their way home from school.
I find it hard to believe that in 2014, there are children so young who are making this gruelling and perilous trek on a daily basis.
In hazardous conditions.
For the chance to be educated.
The thought of my own 6year old nephew, Arthur, making this treacherous journey filled me with terror.
It was at this point that I vowed to help build a school in their village.
So I decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, along with Luca Fametti, Darren Walsh and Cyleste Maree, to help raise the much-needed funding for our little school.
The land has been donated by one of the village elders and we have two locally-trained teachers ready to begin.
I implore anyone that reads this to dig deep and give generously so that these dedicated children may be educated and have access to ongoing support in a safe and welcoming environment within their own community.
- Jan Young
- lawson family
- Veronica Amarelle
- Luca Fametti
- Marisa Fametti
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