Lifestyle

Building bright future for orphans

Bundaberg's Cathy Booth comforts a child at the Umoja Orphanage in Kenya.
Bundaberg's Cathy Booth comforts a child at the Umoja Orphanage in Kenya.

A BUNDABERG school teacher's vision of a sustainable orphanage in Kenya started to take a tangible form yesterday when the first building got under way.

The Umoja Orphanage comes after a two-year extensive planning phase and will be built on newly purchased land, which already has a water hole, electricity and more than 50 fruit trees including mangos and coconuts.

Umoja is Swahili for unity and togetherness.

Coral Cove's Cathy Booth, who bought land one hour south of the Kenyan port of Mombassa this year, said the first dwelling was being built this week for a caretaker to watch over her precious water hole and fruit trees while the rest of the buildings were being built.

The 54-year-old mother of three and grandmother, who teaches at Walkervale State School, said her passion for the orphanage was sparked when she holidayed in Kenya back in 2010.

"The poverty was horrific. I've lived in Papua New Guinea, but I've seen nothing like this. I could not walk away without doing something about it," Mrs Booth said.

"I came back and started raising money. Slowly the word got out."

Since that fateful sunny Kenyan day in October 2010, when the non-government organisation started, a Bundaberg board of directors has been established and money raised.

After extensive and careful research and several trips back to Kenya, plans were drawn up and the land was carefully chosen and bought.

"We purchased 17 acres of fertile land only 10 minutes drive from Diani Beach - a very popular European holiday spot," Mrs Booth said.

"So many European tourists go there. They love to visit orphanages.

"No one will see this without being touched. Often they return to their countries and raise money. They are an asset," Mrs Booth said.

Mrs Booth said the orphanage was being planned to house up to 60 children.

"It will have agricultural gardens and a school," Mrs Booth said.

"We want to set it up as a village.

"We are going to hire ladies, mostly widows including disabled mothers, so they can all support their children with the money they earn from the project.

Mrs Booth said the initiative was already changing lives.

"All the locals call me Mama," she said.

"We have a local project manager. He has been a wonderful asset."

Mrs Booth said she would return to Kenya twice a year for about three weeks each time.

"We are now desperate to raise $20,000 to buy a van to collect building materials and to eventually collect the orphans," she said.

 

HELP OUT

Phone 0409 476 444 or email info@umojahome.com if you would like to help build the first homes.

Topics:  bundaberg kenya umoja orphanage



Same Heart and Soul in a new location

EXPANDING: Marcel and Rachael Koning and Shelley and Evan Kirke with (back from left ) Tylor Davison, Beck Preston and Ed Good.

Heart and Soul moves into Skinner St

Blue Pool closed to swimmers

Angourie Blue pools are now closed

The Blue Pools are now off limits

Clarence Valley Petrol and Weather

Where will you fill up the car today?

Grab the weather forecast and where to get the cheapest petrol today

Local Partners

KFC, the car and the loo: Where snakes are ending up

THREE snakes locked in a passionate dual, fighting over a shared lady interest is what snake catcher Andrew Smedley was faced with on the weekend.

The secret plan that could have saved Holden revealed

This concept car wasn't just for show. Holden explored the possibility of building a smaller Torana and large SUV off the same "platform” as the Commodore.

All options considered ahead of closure.

Social media detox: Why I've cut Facebook from my phone

Facebook is addictive... but are we better off without it?

I am sleeping better and feel more energised of a morning.

Recall on leading electric car maker's new vehicle

The 2017 Tesla Model X.

Tesla has recalled some of its Model X variants.

Meet Google’s smarter smartphone

Google’s newest smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, will become available for pre-order in Australia on October 20. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage

ONE YEAR has passed since Google launched its first serious bid for your smartphone...

Rare breed of pooch in running for Queensland award

RARE BREED: Chamuco is one of 223 dogs who earned themselves a spot in the Dog and Puppy of the Year Awards.

Chamuco is an xoloitzcuintle (pronounced "show low eats qweent lee”)

Huawei declares death of the smartphone

The HUAWEI Mate 10 and HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro pack a 4000 mAh high-density battery

Chinese tech giant introduced its first AI mobile chipset, Kirin 970