Be the voice of a child in Tanzania for Storrington woman’s campaign

Catherine-Anne Blaikie with some of the children SUS-140204-124111001
Catherine-Anne Blaikie with some of the children SUS-140204-124111001

I have recently returned from working in Tanzania, Africa meeting many inspirational individuals working on some incredible life changing projects.

In my six month sabbatical from The Princes Trust I travelled to Tanzania to work on a number of amazing projects using my business skills and knowledge to benefit local communities.

On my arrival I started work on a School Building Project experiencing real rural Tanzania life. More than 80% of the community is living under the poverty line and most of the families can only afford a single meal per day.

The aim of the project was to build a secondary school in the village to provide orphans and other children an opportunity to attend secondary school as the only educational facility available in the village is a primary school with 387 students.

Students who move onto secondary school have to walk 20km per day to attend their nearest secondary school, this equates to a two and a half hour walk every morning and evening which drastically reduces the viability of the children attending school. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor without running water and electricity was an experience in itself but certainly made me think about how much we take for granted in Western society.

I was also a senior member of the management team of a local NGO leading a Community Development Project established to complement Government efforts in the provision and development of education services in rural areas working with a number of college’s and universities.

Engaging with the local community leaders, presenting the importance of community libraries and educational Centre’s in providing good quality education to their children to empower them socially, economically, politically and academically.

I was able to develop a media strategy, which gained sponsors and media partners securing regional and national interviews with the Clouds Media Group on Clouds TV Weekend Show and Clouds Radio – Power Breakfast highlighting the aims, vision and objectives of the community project.

I spent the last couple of months in Dar es Salaam with a PR and communications firm where I was introduced to the plight of an independent orphanage ‘Iljango Orphanage Centre’ home to 49 orphans from the ages of 3- 15 years old facing eviction and a life on the streets as a result of their only UK sponsor dyeing in 2013.

They come from tragic backgrounds; many sick with malaria with the condition remaining untreated due to a lack of funds, medical resources and treated mosquito nets.

It is a known fact that many children continue to die in Africa as they do not sleep under insecticide- treated mosquito nets and are unable to access life saving treatment within 24 hours of onset of symptoms that is why it is vital that these orphans receive treated nets with access to vital medical treatment.

The children are also in desperate need of clothes, school uniform, shoes, etc. and currently only receive these items as and when the odd volunteer visits the Centre. As a result I started a media and fundraising campaign to save these children and raise £1,300 towards the annual rent. In support of the campaign I signed up to an extreme personal challenge to jump 15, 000 feet in a tandem skydive descending at speeds of 125 miles per hour despite being terrified of heights!

The event will be filmed and take place on Sunday 6th April at Salisbury Airfield. Wiltshire.

Time is running out to save these children and the rent deadline of 11th April fast approaching where they will be mercilessly abandoned to a life on the streets forced to face the daily threats of physical and sexual violence, rape, trafficking, abduction and death.

I would be grateful for the support of the local community/businesses as we are these children’s only hope for survival. As little as £5 will make a massive difference in ensuring the safety of these orphans so please pledge what you can by going to the following link -