Little bit of cash can go long way

FORMER McAuley Catholic College student Jacob McKenna is hoping for some Clarence Valley Christmas spirit to give needy kids in a village in Laos some much-needed educational resources.

The 23-year-old, who is on a study break from a Bachelor of commerce and politics degree at Griffith University, originally wanted Grafton Midday Rotary to dig deep for the $250 he needed for the villagers of Ba Na in northern Laos (see details in Essentials below).

But on advice from his mother, Clarence Valley councillor Margaret McKenna, he opted for making a wider appeal to the residents of his home town.

“It was getting close to Christmas and Rotary was closing down for the break, so I thought it would be easier to see if there were people out there who wanted to help out,” Mrs McKenna said.

Originally intending to visit Laos for three weeks, the plight of the villagers in Ba Na has inspired him to increase his stay to 14 weeks – a decision that means Jacob will have his first Christmas away from his home town and family.

Ba Na is certainly a long way from just about anywhere, as Jacob describes in his first email home.

“The village is able to be reached only by taking a two-hour boat trip to a village named Muang Ngoi Neua and then a 4km trail inland,” he wrote.

“Due to this isolated position, the school building and its resources are of an extremely poor quality. The building is not only in bad condition in regards to the elements and weather protection, but also as an issue of safety to the children it houses.”

Anyone who would like to help out should contact Mrs McKenna on 0419 421 066


Items to be purchased with $250

Building materials

10 sheets corrugated iron

5 boxes assorted nails

30-80m of rope\chain

5 lengths of hardwood

2 containers plastering putty

4 litres white paint

4 litres red paint

4 litres blue paint

3-8 assorted paint brushes

2L methylated spirits

Educational resources

20 packets chalk

100-300 exercise books

3 rolls of m2 plain paper

15 packets lead pencils

15 packets biros

Numerous Laos and English resource book for students and teachers, also coloured pencils and other stationery.

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