Arusha Orphans' Charitable Trust sponsors Jan (left) and
Ross Parry, and founder Pauline Hope, look over photos of
children from an orphanage the Wanaka-based charity has
supported for eight years. Photo by Lucy Ibbotosn.
From reading and reviewing books to rescuing hundreds of
homeless children, a group of Wanaka women has achieved a great
deal more than they set out to when they formed a book club 12
The Wanaka-based Arusha Orphans' Charitable Trust was founded
Pauline Hope - a member of the Paradise Book Club, who
was moved by the plight of young people living in the
northern Tanzanian city of Arusha while visiting the area
nearly a decade ago.
Mrs Hope's niece, Madeline Oosterhuis, a former Dunedin
woman, lives in Arusha and had established a home for native
pregnant teenage girls who had been tossed out of home and
were left roaming the streets.
''Madeline took them under her wing, bought a little house
and she feeds them and they can sleep there until they have
their babies,'' Mrs Hope said.
Next to the home was a struggling orphanage with about 80
''beautiful children'' housed in primitive conditions, which
Mrs Hope told her book club friends about when she returned
to New Zealand.
Buoyed by the encouragement of her fellow readers, and with
time on her hands to help others, she established a trust to
support the orphanage.
After the book club held an evening event to launch the
trust, sponsorship offers began flooding in.
Eight years on, the trust has set up a school at the
orphanage and clothed, educated and fed at least 300 children
who have passed through its doors.
Mrs Hope is one of four trustees. There are about 100
sponsors involved, who pay $60 annually to provide school
books and stationery, clothing and food for one child for a
year. Some make extra donations, an average of $10,000 being
sent to Arusha every year, which has also paid for Christmas
presents, a playground and sports equipment.
The trust recently started supporting a second school in the
''It's quite nice to be able to do something for somebody
else and ... the money goes straight to Madeline [who buys
supplies for the orphanage] - there's no middle man,'' Mrs
Mrs Oosterhuis regularly sends photos and updates on the
children, which Mrs Hope distributes in newsletters to
Jan and Ross Parry, who divide their time between Dunedin and
Wanaka, visited Arusha in 2011 with two other couples who
were already trust sponsors. While they were there, shoes
bought by the trust were being handed out to the children at
''To see those wee kids' faces light up,'' Mr Parry said.
After seeing firsthand the ''amazing poverty'' in Arusha and
the great work the trust was doing, the Parrys immediately
signed up to support the charity.
All 12 of the book club women originally involved in the
trust's formation are ongoing sponsors, and they have also
sponsored a bed at the Arusha hospital.
Mrs Hope is holding an information evening as part of the
trust's annual get-together on February 2, where she hopes to
attract more sponsors.