The Difference One Person Can Make

By Simone Pollock

Ten years ago, my cousin Kirsty went to Kenya to do charitable work. She’s still there, improving lives, giving deprived children a chance at a future. She found love over there, and is now married with children of her own. It made me think about how I could help as well.

As a family, we became more involved in the Vision Africa program which helps provide the necessities of education to children who haven’t access to them. In Kenya, primary school education is free but secondary school costs more than most families can afford, and a university education is beyond the wildest dreams of so many.

Even the primary schools are few and far between which means the children of slum areas, such as Ngando, where the Village of Hope project is situated, simply can’t reach something as simple as a school.

The easy access and transport that we take for granted are simply not available, so children end up in what are called ‘informal schools’ which aren’t safe, aren’t run by qualified teachers, and have no access to the textbooks and materials that they need to learn.

This is where the Village of Hope comes in. It sprang up from the Kandara Children’s Home, and is an afterschool facility for those children to get the trained teachers and textbooks they need to stand a chance of getting sponsored to a secondary school, and getting the education that will help lift them from poverty.

Many years ago, my family and I sponsored a child called Alex Mbura, a child who was so determined to better himself that it touched all of our hearts. Alex did well in primary school, and we made sure he had the opportunity to get a place in a secondary school, and he did well there too.

Alex surpassed everyone’s expectations, except maybe his own, with his hard work, diligence, and his sheer determination to do the best he could. He got a place in university studying nursing, and became the first student from the home to graduate from tertiary education.

In December of last year, we got to go across to Kenya and see Alex, now 24, graduate from university, and go on to nurse in a hospital in Nairobi. To see him grow, and learn, and be such a success was an inspiration to all of us, and there wasn’t a second thought in my mind when RTG asked about what charity we could support.

If you ever doubt what difference one person, one company, can make, just think of Alex Mbura.