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




Cause giving women back their dignity

HOW TO HELP: Drop sanitary items in to the purple bin at Voyage Fitness. Pictured: Lisa Brown and Jaron Cumerford.

A CONCERNED Warwick woman is working to help homeless women.

Warwick researchers show tech potential flies high

FLYING HIGH: Ken Laws demonstrating the applications of drones for monitoring grains production at the School Plant Science Competition.

Drones used for crop research at Hermitage

Search resumes for missing Boonah woman

Suzanne Coghill is missing, last seen at a property on Hardcastle Rd

Family desperate to find 60-year-old property owner

Latest deals and offers

Britney Spears 'almost drowned' in Hawaii

Britney Spears has revealed she 'almost drowned' while on holiday

Doco reveals real story behind Black Hawk Down

Former Black Hawk pilot Mike Durant shares his story, which helped to inspire the movie Black Hawk Down, in the TV series No Man Left Behind.

FORMER pilot recounts ordeal which inspired a Hollywood movie.

What's on the big screen this week

Toby Kebbell and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur.

AN OLD classic returns to the big screen with a new young star.

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.