Seaford is helping to make a difference to a Rwandan orphanage via an unusual means: spare sports kit. Hundreds of redundant polo shirts have been flown out to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, by Marc and Helen Haywood.
Marc and Helen, from Buxton, Derbyshire, found out about the spare kit through the Rwandan Orphanages Project, who put them in contact with Lesley Sparrow, who works in the Finance Department. Lesley said: ‘I’ve been trying to get the sports kit out to Rwanda for about a year now, so it’s fantastic to find someone who is going out there who can take some of the kit with them.’
Marc and Helen took the polo shirts to Kigali, to an orphanage that looks after 165 children and young people. Helen said: ‘People don’t realise how cold it is in Africa in the winter and so children need clothes desperately. All the houses have concrete floors and it’s freezing. We will personally deliver these clothes to the orphanage. It’s great doing it this way; you know that the aid is getting to where it is most needed, and it won’t get lost going from A to B.’
‘Marc and I got married seven years ago and we didn’t have wedding presents, we asked for donations instead. We donated to The Nest Orphanage in Nairobi, and now we’d like to help the orphanage in Kigali. You just have to get involved, and every little helps.’
Jenny Clover, who works at the orphanage in Kigali, said: ‘Marc and Helen did an amazing job bringing out Seaford’s very generous donation of sports kit. We couldn’t believe it when we opened the bag and saw all the t-shirts, and our headteacher and children were absolutely thrilled. The boys are so excited to put on their new uniforms on Monday, although keeping them clean will be a different issue! We are so grateful for this donation, thank you very much Seaford.’
Marc and Helen spent a week in Kigali, and they hope to fly out more items of kit including vests and jackets to Nairobi in November, and to arrange for more of the kit to go to Kigali. Helen added: ‘We’re also always on the lookout for second-hand baby shoes and blankets to take out. It’s really hard for the babies and young children learning to walk on cold concrete floors, so if anybody has some spare baby shoes or baby blankets, please donate them.’
Sîan Green, John Green’s wife, has also taken out the spare sports kit to an orphanage in Bangladesh. She explained that it gets very cold at night in Bangladesh, and the orphanage was very grateful for the donation of warm tracksuit trousers. Sîan flies to India and Africa with her work, and often takes donations with her. She said: ‘Once you have visited an orphanage something inside you makes you want to keep helping. It’s very humbling to see how your donations make such a big difference to the lives of others.’
You can donate baby shoes and baby blankets by emailing Marc Haywood (firstname.lastname@example.org).