Quilts for cheer and care in Kenya

Oamaru Altrusa Club members (from left) Helen Newlands, Cara Flint, Pam Balcombe, Sue Duthie,...
Oamaru Altrusa Club members (from left) Helen Newlands, Cara Flint, Pam Balcombe, Sue Duthie, Evelyn Munro, Voreen Julius, Jean Palmer and Jeanette Halcrow, display the quilts they made for special needs children in Kenya. Photo by Sally Rae.
A hostel for children with special needs in Kenya has captured the imagination of Altrusa members.

Six brightly-coloured quilts have been made by Oamaru Altrusans and will be sent to the Gilgil Township Special Unit, Kivuli Hostel, in the town of Gilgil, in the Rift Valley.

It took seven years fund-raising to build the hostel, which will provide 40 children with safe, clean, weekly accommodation.

The need for the hostel was established after three girls were attacked and raped while they were going to or coming from school - many of the children walked long distances to school.

It was the first hostel of its kind in a public school in Kenya, and received no government funding.

The Oamaru Altrusa Club's involvement began when Bevan Newlands, son of member Helen Newlands, and his fiancee, Bridget Lindsay, began teaching at Pembroke House Preparatory School in Gilgil.

A teacher at their school was the driving force behind the project, and the young couple became involved in their spare time.

Earlier in the year, the club donated $500, which went towards purchasing sheets, pillowcases and pillows.

On a recent visit to Kenya, Mrs Newlands and husband Donald visited the hostel, and were shown the facilities.

These, while very basic, were luxurious compared with the conditions many of the children lived in at home, Mrs Newlands said.

The project was presented to Altrusans from throughout New Zealand at their annual conference, in Christchurch, in May; and as a result, other clubs decided to support the hostel.

Mrs Newlands has recently received 50 home-made, and filled, sponge bags, from the Invercargill club.

A quilt has come from a Nelson member. And money has been donated by the Te Awamutu Altrusans. Mrs Newlands was thrilled by the response, she said.


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