Nineteen volunteers from the Ahoghill based charity, Friends of VisPa, have just returned from a 10-day mission to Africa.
Set up to support the work of the education focused Christian mission - Vision and Passion Centres (VisPa), which are based in Western Kenya and run by local staff there, the Friends’ group provides financial, material and spiritual assistance, through child sponsorship, school building, clean water access and Christian literature.
Its members have been involved with VisPa since 2006, being part of the outreach and, on their latest mission, 19 volunteers aged from 15-50 plus travelled to Kisumu where VisPa’s orphanage, nursery, primary and secondary schools are located.
And, they found themselves very well received.
Over 200 young people aged 10-18 attended their week-long Bible Camp through which they enjoyed the opportunity to take part in various projects involving drama, music, singing, sports plus arts and crafts.
Alison Craig, who was part of the team, said: “We always knew that the drama and music would be popular with
the children as these were things that they had asked for but we were amazed at how much joy they found in doing these activities.
“They just relished the opportunity to perform and their confidence grew so much in the short time that we were there.”
Amid 40 degree heat, some of the men on the team spent most of their time at the primary school and orphanage replacing the tin panels on classroom walls and levelling off floors in preparation for the children starting back at school this week.
They were also able to assist with the completion of a new boys’ dormitory at the orphanage.
Alison said: “This was particularly special as all of these men took part in the 100k sponsored hike in May which helped to find this project.
“This new dormitory is vital as a recent intake of children into the orphanage meant that there was no more room in the sleeping quarters and many of the boys were sleeping in the dining room!”
Alison pointed out that the school is now taking action to become more self-sustainable through different projects including a new girl’s dormitory at the high school which could be a good source of income from pupils who can afford to pay boarding fees.
As they return, the team have issued an appeal to local people to pray for the children and staff at VisPa, to pray for rain given that the extremely dry ground is preventing the planting of crops and grazing for livestock and also for the growth of Friends of VisPa.
The VisPa school and orphanage are progressing all of the time and the VisPa Directors in Kenya, Hellen and George Ochieng, never turn away children in need.
A registered charity, VisPa is funded largely through donations while seeking to become more self-sufficient.
However, resources don’t always stretch as far as they need to and the help and support of others is always welcome. If you would like to find out more about about VisPa or Friends of VisPa just contact Colin Hayburn (Director of Friends of VisPa) contact@vispa-Kenya.org or log on to www.vispa-Kenya.org