Proclaims local volunteer: Ken-ya Build It!
A Shelburne girl recently returned from a lifechanging adventure!
Tiffany McCabe spent three weeks in a rural village of Kenya, called Emori Joi.
She was part of a volunteer and leadership trip with the not-for-profit organization, Free the Children.
"I have a different outlook on life now," says Tiffany, who currently divides her time between attending the University of Waterloo and working for two local social agencies.
Free the Children is a Toronto-based organization established in 1995 by Craig Keilburger. The main objectives of the organization are to free children from poverty and exploitation, and to inspire the youth generation to make a difference in the world.
Free the Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.
During their volunteer trip, Tiffany traveled with a group of 24 university aged participants from across North America, with the goal to construct a school house.
"Not only did we achieve our goal, we completed many other projects and we have a future action plan," Tiffany said.
Overall, the group built two schools from the foundation, completed two school houses that were started prior to their arrival and worked on constructing a library. A typical day had the participants building for six hours assisted by a crew of 12 local construction men.
However, this trip included much more than just the goal of completing the school; it was designed to raise awareness of global social issues, use that awareness and continue to make changes from home.
Two professors from Boston joined the group for the trip and presented lectures each evening on topics such as, colonialism, AIDS, poverty, hunger and globalization.
Tiffany felt devastated by the lack of access to clean water within the community of Emori Joi. Community members walk between one to two hours to collect water from the Mara River several times a day. The necessity of this chore, limits girls from attending school.
"One day, we went on the water walk with some community members, it took us over an hour to reach the river. When we arrived I was blown away by the quality of water, which looked like chocolate milk.
"To think young girls must carry barrels of water on their back daily, instead of going to school," Tiffany said.
The experience had such an impact on their group that they have decided to continue their involvement with developing nations.
"Our group has created a campaign called Well Worth It, dedicated to raising awareness and funds to have well systems implemented in developing nations, through the assistance of Free the Children," Tiffany said.
After physically seeing the conditions, the group of motivated individuals had to take action. The cost of building a well within a community is $70,000.
A well would provide the community with safe, clean, drinking water. The benefits of clean drinking water are priceless; more children could go to school, overall, communities would be healthier.
The group's immediate goal is to raise $70,000 by December 31st, to have a well constructed in Emori Joi, Kenya.
If you would like further information or to learn how you, your organization or school can become involved, or donate to this cause please contact Tiffany at: tiffmccabe@ gmail.com
(Tax receipts are available from Free the Children for all donations).