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Kumi...... A Faraway Place !

Here we introduce you to Lynn Fletcher as she tells us how she became involved with Kumi Community Foundation.

  1. My parents met and married in Nairobi, Kenya and so Africa has always been a real place to me, though admittedly a faraway place! I always wanted to visit Africa, but as I grew up and learned about the many ways in which life can be so hard for people there, I knew that I would prefer to visit as some kind of helper and not as a tourist. Many years were to pass before that opportunity came. A very dear friend of mine, Marjorie, was secretary of a wonderful charity called Interplast UK. This charity provides life-changing plastic surgery, free of charge to those in need in developing countries. Marjorie shared with her friends and church all about her visits to different countries with the founder, Mr Charles Viva, and his teams of volunteers and we, in turn, did our best to support the work through raising funds and sending gifts, particularly for the children. Sadly , Marjorie died suddenly in 2014 and when Mr Viva asked me to take on the role of secretary, I didn’t hesitate. I served in that role for 5 years and had the privilege of visiting Kumi twice in that time, carrying out the role of visit co-ordinator and, in particular, spending time with children doing crafts and playing games. During both visits, we worked closely with Elspeth and her team, who identified possible patients for surgery, ensured that they were able to travel to the hospital and supported them in many other ways. It was wonderful to be in Kumi with Elspeth. I was able to see at first hand how she “helps people to help themselves” by providing aids to mobility, supporting students with disabilities into education, income generating projects and much more. Working so closely with the team ’on the ground’ (Ruth and Harriet) means that Kumi Community Foundation are able provides what is really needed. As I got to know Elspeth and the breadth of her work, I once suggested that she would benefit from becoming a registered charity. Clearly, Elspeth didn’t forget that comment and asked if I would help to achieve this. Of course, I was delighted to be asked and am once again in the role of secretary and working with a fabulous group of fellow Trustees. My role is mainly administration and communication (if you email you will get me!) and I do my best to raise funds – my knitting needles are red hot so if you want a cosy cushion, a warm hat or baby clothes you know where to get them!

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