Christmas is a time for giving so I am giving my page to a young lady from Chorleywood who gave her time to help children in a village without the advantages of Chorleywood, where many are orphaned through the ravages of AIDS and brought up by grandparents or the community.
Despite this these are children who are desperate to do well and get an education, no moans about going to school, doing homework or helping around the house. Welcome to Khula in Zululand, South Africa, a typical village where the evening traffic is usually held up by hippos moving between water holes.
Education is the way to a better life and starts in crèches, with up to 20 children being looked after by one carer from the community assisted by volunteers like Katherine. Orphaned children learn quickly to look after themselves and many are holding a bottle themselves from 2 months and walking by 8 months.
The volunteers teach in the crèches and play with the children. Once older the children move onto school where attending in uniform is compulsory, not surprisingly uniforms are handed down from generation to generation.
Katherine spent 4 weeks in Khula and as well as teaching she helped create a garden where the community could grow vegetables, running the afterschool club and library from a converted shipping container and helping Grandma Go-Go who looked after 14 orphans in a house about the size of a double garage.
As well as funding her own trip she took with her a suitcase full of clothes and toys donated by friends and raised a further £1,100 which will be used to train 3 members of the community as nursery school teachers and to provide funding for a support group to educate in hygiene and nutrition.
Katherine volunteered via http://www.africanimpact.com/