"Determined to make a difference"

EMMA'S REPORT

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Kenyan Flag

On the 14th July 2012 fifteen girls from Clonmel went to Nairobi
with the HUG (Helping You Grow Association)
to work in the slums of Nairobi.

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Group in Rathgormack on training with HUG

 Emma Lacey wrote about the experience the group had…..

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Kibera slum


Even though we were all encouraged to read about
the Kibera slums in Nairobi
nothing prepared us for the impact it had on us all,
a group of fifteen secondary school pupils from
the Loreto and Presentation Secondary Schools in Clonmel.

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The sea of tin huts



It was incredible to witness
how close the modern city of Nairobi is to the poverty,
squalor and disease that fill  the slums of Kibera,
a sea of tin huts crowded on top of one another.

 

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The warmth of the children




The scale of the slums, the amount of people living
in such horrific conditions is frightening to witness
but we were all determined
to make a difference to the lives of the
children who have to survive every day in that environment.

We befriended the children who responded
with so much warmth, friendship and fun to us
during our two week stay in Nairobi.



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Some of the group with Carmel Flynn rscj 



The group of girls 
- Roisin Brophy, Leah Hyland,
Leanne Murphy, Emer Lyons,
Clare Nolan, Máire Buckley,
Aoife Roberts, Niamh McNally,
Erin Conran, Ciara McKeown,
Ciara Corbett, Nocola Pleskach,
Gillian Hickey, Méábh Kennedy and Mary Doyle decided last October to travel to Kenya
after meeting Sister Carmel Flynn of the HUG Helping U Grow Association.

After a massive fund-raising effort which was so generously supported
by the people of Clonmel, the money to allow us travel was raised.

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Important Maintenance Work


All of us were given a very warm

welcome wherever we went. 
We spent the two weeks mainly
carrying out important maintenance work.
We carried out a number of painting jobs on
gates,
classrooms and desks and
helped clean and clear some rooms
.

We also entertained and
taught
the children in two primary schools. 

We spent one week with children at
the Shalom Academy in the Masai slums
and the second week at the
Laini Saba Primary School in the Kibera slums.

The children loved playing with us,
enjoyed getting to know us all and
were very appreciative of anything we did for them.

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They loved listening to us singing Irish songs and
watching us performing dances and
we spent a lot of time with the children
helping them to improve their English and doing Arts and Crafts with them.

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Arts and Crafts turned into Noah's Ark in the Yard with Mary and Maire
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Erin with abandoned baby





We also helped children in
St Paul’s Care Home

to which
a fifteen day year old
baby wrapped in newspaper

had been brought by the police.
The child had been abandoned.

One does not know the reason for this.
St. Paul’s, to which Shalom is attached,
cares for children who have been abused in their homes
and/or abandoned.


 

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Michelle with two orphans

 

 


We also visited an orphanage
called Nyumbani
where we met children
who are suffering from AIDS.

It was an incredibly moving and
uplifting place to visit.

We went to Mass in the orphanage and
despite their illness
the children put on

a magical performance of music,
song and dance for us.






Whenever we left the schools to go out into the slums,
we had to make sure to take a different route every day as
Kibera slum is a dangerous place in which to walk.
In the slums local adults from the schools were with us as escorts.
The open sewers, the smells and the conditions we saw were a shock to all of us.

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The safe haven of Laini Saba Primary School

 

 

The atmosphere in the schools was much more relaxed. 
It was a safe haven for the children and
a place where we could mix with them without fear.
They were wonderful, happy and inspirational children
despite the terrible conditions in which they live.

 

 

The two weeks we spent in Nairobi were a truly wonderful life changing experience. 
As a group we are indebted to our leaders
Sister Carmel, Michelle McCartan, Barbara Gartland,
Rita Sweet and Clare McManus .
We owe so much to the people of Clonmel who supported our fund-raising events.

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Asante from Kenya - Thank you from Clonmel


Thanks to everybody who supported our numerous table quizzes,
church gate collections,
funding in Parish Primary schools,
bag-packing in local supermarkets,
traditional music sessions, walks, and
the many companies all over South Tipperary and West Waterford
that gave donations despite the recession. 
Many thanks to our families and friends, our teachers and schools for their invaluable support.

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Children in Kibera


We went with the ambition
of making a small change in the lives of young children
who live in the most awful conditions.
But we arrived home last Saturday
with all of our own lives changed as
a result of the friendship and love those children gave to us.



Thank you to Emma for her report and to Carmel for the pictures.