Helping the poorest of the poor

PUBLISHED: 13:10 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:48 15 June 2010

A KILMINGTON couple have helped get an orphanage in Africa off the ground with fundraising events and the occasional visit.

A KILMINGTON couple have helped get an orphanage in Africa off the ground with fundraising events and the occasional visit.Lionel and Iris Quick, of Well Mead, have been supporting the Yatima Group Trust Fund orphanage in Tanzania since 2004 and, to date, have raised over £12,000.Mrs Quick has recently returned from the non-governmental organisation, based in Dar-Es-Salaam, and has seen a vast improvement since her last trip two years ago."They have completed three dormitories, whereas before there was only one," she said. "There's a well now, with good, clean water. Before it was salty and they couldn't drink it."The couple had been inspired to help the children after their daughter, Julietta Obudo, spent six years in Tanzania teaching. On a visit out there, the couple passed by the orphanage and, on first seeing the children, most whom had lost their parents to AIDS or malaria, were moved to help their plight.Mrs Quick explained: "It was awful - heartbreaking to see them. The conditions the children were living in were terrible. It was hard going to see them. "They are poor anyway, but having lost their parents makes them even poorer. But little things can make a difference and I feel happier about seeing them in these improved conditions."I feel the help we have is tremendous - a lot of people have been very generous."However, despite all the work, there has been a downturn in events. The orphanage had set up a poultry farm, but lost it - and the money it had invested in it - due to an outbreak of bird 'flu.Staff are now hoping to build a pig farm, as well as making other improvements to the orphanage.Although conditions at the orphanage are markedly better than when the Quicks first visited, the couple feel there is still much to be done.Mrs Quick said: "The orphanage doesn't get any help from the Tanzanian government - the problem is too big across the country, and the orphanage still needs one more dormitory. Some children are still sharing beds. "I would like to see enough bed space for each child, see the garden flourish and for them being able to grow their own food."But perhaps most importantly, to prevent future orphans, Mrs Crick feels education is the key - particularly in making children more aware of AIDS.There will be a presentation evening about the orphanage, showing the improvements, at Kilmington Village Hall on June 21. Mrs Quick celebrates her 70th birthday on that day, and felt it an appropriate way to mark the occasion. For more information on the presentation or on the orphanage, call 01297 33026.

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