Marie Kershaw, our Product Manager, wanted to share her experience of fundraising for the Parenta Trust and explain why her trip to Uganda was truly unforgettable.
Last year, as we were celebrating the start of our very first Parenta Trust Pre-school build in Uganda, I found out that in 2012 alone malaria was responsible for an estimated 627,000 deaths around the world. Sadly, 483,000 of those deaths were in African children under 5 years of age.
Knowing that mosquito nets can help prevent the spread of malaria, and at a cost of just £5 cost per net, I wanted to help. I held a quiz night at Lordswood Leisure Centre to raise money and it was a fantastic evening. I was truly touched by how many people came to support my cause. Together, we raised enough money for a mosquito net for every single child due to start at our new pre-school – all 120 of them!
I have just received the picture above of these being given out, and wanted to share this, as well as my amazing experience with you all.
I travelled to Uganda in May, with my colleagues from Parenta. I wanted to meet the local people, understand more about their culture and their lives, and finally help give a lick of paint and open our first new pre-school.
I have stared at this page for the last 10 minutes and still do not think I can do justice to all I saw and learnt on this trip. Almost all the children we met live in huts or completely unsuitable glorified sheds. Some children wear clothes which have so many holes, it is hard to tell if their arms and legs are in the right ones!
Only the children who are sponsored at school get a small amount of stew to eat for food during the day, whereas the rest get something which looks like wallpaper paste (this is actually wheat/oat paste). Those that are lucky enough are squeezed into little classrooms, and would have walked for miles to simply attend school.
We visited many pre-schools, slums and what they called “housing”; one where a family of 13 shared one room, and the village’s sanitary system ran around the house as a little moat. Unfortunately, this was not abnormal.
The word “poor” to describe how the people I met physically lived is an understatement, however, the most cherished fact I took away with me was they live with an abundance of love. I really feel you need to understand this – forget the sad faces you see on television – every single child I met was bursting with happiness. They were delighted to be sharing their day with possibly the first white person they had ever met, their “mzungu”. All of the children we met wanted a little of your attention, to communicate with you or to play games. I heard many harrowing stories whilst I was there, saw indescribable living conditions, and none of this should be ignored or forgotten. But it was the children’s sheer unadulterated joy at their new pre-school that brought me to tears.
The Parenta Trust have held many fund raising events this year, from banger rallies across Europe , Evening Balls, to triathlons covering the distance from Parenta offices to Paris, and cake sales. I haven’t given this trip a fraction of the merit it truly deserves, but I will be going back in February, and perhaps that shows how much I loved it out there! And the best thing? I will be helping once again to open our second pre-school whilst I am there. We are also over half way to having enough money to commission our third build!
I have put a few pictures below of the beautiful people I met on my trip for you to see. The mosquito nets we gave to the children will help save lives, and every single one of those children and their families are truly grateful.
If you would like to enquire about donating to the Trust or sponsoring a child, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can make a donation to the next pre-school through our Just Giving page!