Appeal for clothes and shoes to help African children
- Credit: SHARON TIPP
Haverhill mum Sharon Tipp is appealing for clothing and shoes for her family-run charity that provides education and medical support for Kenyan children.
Sharon, a receptionist at Cambridge Regional College, has been running Kenya Help for nine years after she saved a toddler's life during a holiday in 2010.
"We were on a day trip going up a mountain when we saw a three year old boy lying at the side of the road. We were told he had malaria and was seriously ill," she said.
"Parents cannot afford to treat their children and there is a belief system surrounding evil spirits that makes people sick. So, sadly, often these children have no help or care.
"I was deeply upset. When we got back to the hotel, I tracked down the hotel doctor who gave me a syringe of medication. The next day we returned and injected the boy, who made a complete recovery within two days.
"That syringe cost just £6. I was shocked. I couldn't believe how cheap it was to save a life. From that moment on I made a deal with myself that I would help."
With the support of her husband Trevor, who works for HMRC, she set up Kenya Help and for nine years the Haverhill couple have travelled out every year with clothing and supplies.
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Sharon said: "Friends and family raised £12,000 in the first year, we were overwhelmed by such kindness.
"We went out to the villages to give food, medicines, supplies and still had £8,000 left, which we ploughed back into the charity to begin to provide education."
The charity has now paid for the education of 26 children including one who is in university.
Sharon hopes to grow this side of the charity even more in the coming years.
It is a family affair for Sharon and Trevor whose children Danielle, 39, Natahsa, 38, Harry, 30, Alex, 28, and 27-year-old Michelle, support their parents by running the website and social media pages as well as keeping on top of administration.
Sharon said: "Our big plea now is for clothing and shoes. I can collect or they can bring to me.
"I do this because it's rewarding, it's my passion. I love helping, I love knowing that in our own small way we are making a difference.
"Volunteers come out with us most years, paying for the trips themselves. They come because they want to help. It is hard to put into words how amazing it feels, but the positivity from helping others, is truly powerful stuff."
For more details or to contact Sharon about making a donation go to KenyaHelp Charity on Facebook or the Kenya Help website.