FOR THE KIDS: Sister Yvonne Channels will stage a charity art auction.
FOR THE KIDS: Sister Yvonne Channels will stage a charity art auction. BRUCE THOMAS

Helping kids in Kenya

SOME people talk loudly about the need for change. Others go quietly and do something about it.

Former Coffs Coast local, Sister Yvonne Channels of the Sisters of Mercy, is the second type of person.

After working in Lodwar, in the Turkana desert, North Western Kenya in Africa for nine years, she set up the Vulnerable Children's program there, providing food, shelter, educational and medical attention to the poorest most vulnerable children of that area.

The area is a desert and economically deprived. The people are undernourished. Climate is harsh. Rainfall minimal and temperatures are high.

Because of the recent discovery of rich deposits of crude oil in the area, many people are pushed off their nomadic land. The lack of health and educational opportunities is always an issue.

Rather than talking about the need for change, Sister Channels offers practical support with a program that provides education and shelter to the locals. The program continues but is always in need of funding.

"In Kenya, I joined the Sisters of Mercy there on loan from my own congregation. The initial task assigned me was to organise the renovation of and extension to the first bishop's house to serve as a guest house for other workers," Sister Channels said.

"While engaged in this activity, I became more alarmingly aware of the desperate plight of many of the people around me especially the children. The extent of the need disturbed me greatly.

Many were malnourished. AIDs and TB were prevalent and destroying the lives of many people and families. Malaria of course was a constant besides other serious preventable diseases.

Many people died in the ill-equipped hospital and deceased bodies were piled in the mortuary.

"With the support of the Bishop, the Australian High Commissioner in Nairobi and some friends here in Australia, it enabled me to set up a Vulnerable Children's Program to try and meet the most basic human needs of the most needy children and their families in Lodwar village. This made some difference and provided a spark of hope.

"I returned to visit Lodwar mid 2014 and was most delighted but also dismayed. I was delighted to see a lot of the good work was continuing. Dismayed to hear funds were dwindling so some had been curtailed.

"On my return to Australia, I knew I couldn't sleep in my comfortable bed unless I did something to help raise the much-needed funds for the program."

Some good friends of Sister Channels have rallied around and organised an Art Exhibition & Auction fundraiser for April 22. This will be your opportunity to help bring about change to those less fortunate.

It all happens at St Augustine's Hall from 7-9.30pm. Artwork has been donated by local and visiting artists.

Everyone is welcome to attend opening night, admission $10 and all funds raised to the Vulnerable Children's Program. The exhibition continues April 23&24 from 10am-4pm, gold coin donation.



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