06 Aug Local Entrepreneur Travels 5700 Miles to Help Raise Money for Charity
Local entrepreneur travels 5700 miles to help raise money for charity.
Helen Kersey, Managing Director of Ely based recruitment agency Neaves & Neat, recently ventured south to Madagascar as she strived to help friend and fellow entrepreneur Karen Dodd with her charity ‘Friends of Chema and Kizzi’.
Madagascar is the fourth largest country in the world, sitting 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. It’s renowned for its majestic land of rainforests and lemurs, but faces many environmental problems, including deforestation and habitat destruction, and is also one of the poorest countries in the world. The average adult survives on just $1.90 per day and the average life expectancy is just 65.
‘Friends of Chema and Kizzi’ is a family run charity that was set up by Karen Dodd and her 2 children, William, aged 22 and Catherine, aged 16. They focus on making a difference to people’s lives by empowering the rural poor and investing in local leaders, women, sustainable agriculture, protecting wildlife and education. They offer those that have nothing, a step up, so they can begin to provide for themselves and offer help with housing, nutrition, finances and work. The purpose of this particular trip was to help set up a project supporting a village on the outskirts of Antananarivo. The aim of the project is to build a small school and empower women to create local enterprise by learning to sew and make soaps.
“These people are desperate, with little or no means of income or Government support,” says Helen. “The unmade road to the village was incredible, laden with potholes; it floods each time it rains, preventing access until the water subsides. We saw numerous tuk-tuks getting stranded and stuck in the torrents of water.”
Helen, who is a keen artist herself, delivered an art lesson and also donated art supplies to the children. Each child got their own set of colouring pencils, paintbrushes and a drawing book. “I didn’t know what to expect” said Helen. “I thought there would be at least a school building but instead they had constructed a temporary shelter out of plastic and bamboo, purely for our arrival. It was very humbling. Most of these children are orphans and those that aren’t, have just their mother to depend on”.
‘Friends of Chema and Kizzi’ have done a lot of work in Sierra Leone over recent years. As well as starting projects in Madagascar, they also aim to be working in Kenya and Uganda by the end of 2019.
Want to find out more about how you could help?
Or learn more about the charity organisations Neaves & Neat work with here.