Hutt News : September 20th 2011
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New ASX ble in Petrol and Diesel NEW ZEALAND'S BEST NEW CAR WARRANTY AND CUSTOMER CARE Availa *Includes FREE Leather Package Helping give children basics of life Chance for life: Children who lost their home in inter-tribal violence in Kenya are gaining security and education at a So They Can school founded by Eastbourne woman Cassandra Treadwell. Tuck in: Nourishing bodies as well as minds -- the secure compound Cassandra Treadwell helped established in Nakuru, Kenya, includes an orphanage. By SOPHIA DUCKOR-JONES HELP OUT To donate to So They Can projects or sponsor a child, please visit sotheycan.org for more information. Aid prompted by student exchange A student exchange to Argentina in 1989 has inspired an East- bourne woman to set up a charity dedicated to helping educate underprivileged children around the world. Cassandra Treadwell, the foun- der of So They Can, an organis- ation focusing on supporting the community in a hands-on way, says she was deeply moved by the extent of the poverty she first saw in Argentina as a 16-year-old. It was a very different lifestyle to what she had back in New Zea- land and on her return home she sponsored a child, marking the beginning of her involvement in charitable work. Ms Treadwell grew up locally, graduating with an LLB BA from Canterbury University and gaining a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics at King s College, London University. Five years ago she and her family moved to Syd- ney where she worked in Royal North Shore Hospital as a Fellow in Medical Law and Ethics, predominantly focusing on end of life decision making. But it was after a trip to Africa in 2009 she realised there was an immediate need for help. Her main project to date has been set- ting up a school in Nakuru, in the Rift Valley in Kenya. With vigor- ous fundraising, the school now has 10 classrooms, a kitchen, administration block, a 12-metre security fence around the two hec- tare property, accommodation for fulltime government police secur- ity staff, a playground and orch- ard. The children come from camps of internally displaced refugees after violence during the elections of 2007. At the time more than 100,000 Kenyans lost their homes as a result of inter-tribal violence at a pipeline camp at Nakuru, north of Nairobi. Currently the school has 360 students. We will build three classrooms a year, creating room for an extra 120 students. In 2017 we will have a full primary school of 1080 students at the school, Ms Tread- well says. The organisation has received donations from hosting auction evenings, one of which was held in Wellington in July, raising $90,000. It costs $20,000 to build a class- room for 40 students. The school runs in two parts. In the morning and early afternoon the students are taught the national curriculum and also have horticultural lessons, Ms Tread- well says. In the late afternoons the classrooms are used for the So They Can Business School, for mature students who have not had an education. The aim is to micro finance these students into their own business. The pupils are clothed and fed at the school, a luxury unavailable at the camps. So They Can has also built an orphanage. The Holding Hands Children s Home has rescued chil- dren from the rubbish dumps in Nakuru; one dump site alone is home to 1000 families and chil- dren. Like the school, the orphanage is being expanded on a phase by phase basis , with one dormitory for 20 orphans built every year, she says. This will enable a further 20 of the neediest of orphans in the district to have a home and attend the Aberdare Ranges Primary School. The orphanage is currently home to 40 four-to-six year-old orphans. Ms Treadwell says they built the orphanage because it enabled the neediest of children to have access to life changing edu- cation. She s now living back in Wel- lington with her family, but is determined to keep So They Can growing from New Zealand. I love bringing up my children in New Zealand. We love the geography, the beauty, and the realism. I am lucky because I have the best of both worlds -- being able to go to Sydney and Kenya for work, but to bring my children up here, she says.
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