5 Isle of Wight volunteers head to Kenya to support Uzima In Our Hands

Uzima In Our Hands
Some of the children supported by the charity. Photo: Uzima In Our Hands

5 residents from the Isle of Wight residents are travelling to Uzima in Western Kenya next month to spend 2 weeks volunteering for the charity ‘Uzima In Our Hands’.

The volunteers will be helping to support the 295 children who attend the Uzima Day Care Centre every day. Children attending the centre are provided with a basic education and two meals. Many of the children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS and may also have Special Needs or HIV/AIDS themselves.

Founder charity trustee, Joy Mowle from Freshwater who grew up in East Africa and her colleague Clare Griffin from Cowes, Who both work at West Wight Sports & Community Centre will be joined on the trip by Norma Letham from Brading and mother and son, Jane and Peter Herman from Merstone.

Uzima in our Hands
The Uzima in Our Hands volunteers from the Isle of Wight. Photo: Facebook/Clare Griffin

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 raised his funds for the trip by running across the Island.

Almost their entire luggage allowance of 46kg each, will be items desperately needed by the children. The only personal possessions carried will be those they can pack into their hand luggage

Last year the charity were able to donate clothing to the children and many now proudly wear school uniforms donated by many families and schools from the island.

During the previous trip, it became clear there was a desperate need for underwear, and so the charity have been able to collect more than 300 pairs along with books, pens, medical supplies, small toys and sports equipment from generous donations.

While at Uzima, the 5 will help with a variety of tasks including treating the children for jiggers, which is a parasite which burrows into the feet and causes pain and deformity. The condition can be treated by simply wearing shoes, so the group will use money raised to buy footwear for the children while they are there.

They will also spend time helping with teaching and sports, running errands to buy essential supplies with the money brought over from the UK as well as photographing the children to help the charity’s sponsorship programme. Nurse, Jane Herman will be help attend to 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.

“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.”

– Clare Griffin

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.

“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.” – Joy Mowle

If you would like to support the charity, you can do so via their website.