Ever feel helpless watching far-away tragedies unfold on your TV screen? Now you can play an active part, through a Chippy charity supporting the education of orphaned and destitute African youngsters.
Education in Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho, where the Rafiki Thabo Foundation works its magic, is the holy grail. Without it, unsupported young people have no way out of their isolation and poverty, often ending up in prostitution, crime or life on the street.
Based in Kingham, this registered charity is kicking goals in three major areas – funding the education of promising students; supporting a school meals programme in Uganda; and assisting start-up community projects such as the construction of a secondary school in a remote area of Lesotho.
Rafiki Thabo is now appealing to Chippy residents for help in their work with children struggling against the odds, such as Miracle, whose father was murdered; Isaac who lost both his parents and was facing life as a street kid; and Dora, who had lost parents, home, job and hope before being rescued by Rafiki Thabo and provided with a life-saving education.
Come on, Play Your Part!
Inspired by these real people and real success stories, Foundation member and Kingham mum Janet Hayes is seeking volunteers in the following areas:
- Spare hands to help out at local events.
- Advice on social media usage, a review of the Rafiki website and design work on publicity materials.
- Companies to sponsor the RT school meals program. If you have a cafe, how about a Rafiki sandwich, of which 35p is donated to Rafiki? Amazingly, this would cover the cost of a school meal in Uganda. If you have a pub or restaurant, could you consider adding an optional 35p to every bill?
- ‘Gifts in kind’ always welcome – the Foundation is really hanging out for a printer at the moment! Any donations of prizes for raffles would also be wonderful.
- A collection tin in your local shop, café, restaurant, business or pub.
- Local schools able to work hand-in-hand with Rafiki Thabo, developing connections, support programs, awareness and knowledge.
- And of course financial donations are always very welcome.
Chairman and local garden designer, Jon Uglow, founded Rafiki Thabo after spending six months living and working in Kenya when he was 18. He saw at first hand both the transformative power of education, and the often dreadful consequences when it was denied.
Janet will be addressing the Experience Chipping Norton team in April, in a bid to channel the energy and generosity of Chippy residents towards support of Rafiki Thabo.
When I graduate, I am hoping to start up a project to help orphans and street kids – because I am an orphan and would probably have become a street kid if Rafiki hadn’t stepped in.
Isaac has recently graduated with a BA in Business Administration from Kabale University, Uganda. Before Rafiki turned up, he was trapped in grief and confusion, having lost both his parents. Rafiki sponsorship enabled Isaac to go to school and then university; he regards the Foundation as his “parents”.
Rafiki has had a great impact on my life. It has brought light into my brain. I volunteer at a local school in my spare time. I plan to use the skills I have gained at university to help others.
I come from a very humble family background and have 3 siblings. When I was still young, my parents separated and everything crumbled: that was the beginning of our many problems. . .
Having struggled with hunger and sickness, also looking after her brothers’ children, Dora finally lost her job. With her parents dead, she was facing destitution. In 2014, Rafiki Thabo started supporting Dora, enabling her to achieve her dream of studying towards her BA in Community Development at St Paul’s University, Kenya.
Now I am sure that I’ll finally achieve my dream of becoming a capacity builder and change many people’s lives in my community.
Young Miracle’s life was brutally changed when her father was murdered five years ago. Not only did she have to cope with the emotional trauma, but also the reality of having to abandon her education completely. Taken in by relatives with no spare money for school fees, she faced a bleak future.
Thanks to Rafiki Thabo, Miracle’s school fees are now paid in full each term, enabling her to continue her education in a familiar and supportive environment. She has just finished at Kigezi High School in Uganda and is hoping to start university in 2015.
A miracle, really!