Appeal for volunteers to build Kenyan children’s refuge

Hurling legend Henry Shefflin has appealed for volunteers to help build a refuge for the ‘forgotten’ children of Kenya.

The 11-time All Star and 10-time All-Ireland senior medal-winner, who has retired from inter-county hurling, urged tradesmen and women, and anyone who would like to help, to sign up to travel with the Clare-based Ray of Sunshine Foundation to Mombasa early next year to work on the project.

Dozens of bricklayers, carpenters, and other workers have already pledged to travel.

But Shefflin, who agreed to act as ambassador for the charity following the death of TV presenter Derek Davis who worked with the group for many years, said more people are needed.

“The charity is looking for volunteers, skilled and unskilled, to join up in the coming weeks and to be part of a team that will change the lives of children as young as three,” he said.

The Ray of Sunshine Foundation works with vulnerable children in Kenya, some of whom have been victims of abuse and others trafficked in the sex trade from as young as age three. Most have been abandoned and left with deep physical, emotional and mental scars.

The Irish charity and its volunteers have been working in Kenya for almost a decade, building schools and health facilities.

Next January, the charity plans to travel with an army of volunteers to build a rescue centre in Mtwapa, Mombasa, to provide a safe haven for the children.

Dr Rory O’Keeffe, who was a GP in Ennis, Co Clare, for 47 years, and who has relocated to Kenya following his recent retirement, has agreed to be the charity’s team doctor.

Charity director Olive Halpin said: “Anyone who has taken part in our projects to date will tell you that while they are changing the lives of the people they are offering hope to, they are also changed in themselves. They have the experience of a lifetime.”

“We want tradespeople certainly — the project could not take off without them — but we also want people who can carry water, push a wheelbarrow, paint a wall and most of all people who want to show these children there is a real love in the world.”

See www.rayofsunshine.ie to help, or donate €4 by texting ROS to 50300.


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