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Brenda O’Neill – Sydney Australia

 

My name is Brenda.  I live in Sydney Australia.  I have 2 sons Zac age 5 and Nicholas age 4.  Nickie was born with OC1 A type Albinism.  Prior to his birth I knew nothing about Albinism.  I began to do some research on Albinism, I WANTED TO KNOW INFORMATION ABOUT DAILY CARE OF RAISING A CHILD WITH THIS CONDITION.  In doing so, I learnt about the plight of people in African countries who were born with Albinism.  I stumbled upon Mary’s organization KACSU.  I began communicating via email with Mary and learnt more about this unique and worthy cause.  Despite living thousands of miles apart, I knew I wanted to assist in any way possible.  I held several fund raisers in my local community.  I also collected and received donations of hats, sunglasses and lip balm which I ship to KACSU.  My fundraising allowed me to sponsor 4 children (2 primary school age and 2 secondary school age).

In July 2014 I was fortunate enough to fly to KENYA AND MEET Mary and observe all of her projects.  This was a life changing experience.  Each child I met in the hostel was extremely well cared for.  The 2 matrons who look after their daily needs genuinely loved the children, and had their best interests at heart. Their skin was beautifully clear, their belly’s were full and they all had their own comfortable beds to sleep in.  Each child had access to sunscreen, lip balm, hats and sunglasses.  The children had very few possessions, but the small amount of items they did own, were treasured and impeccably cared for.  Each child had their own locker beside their bed and I noticed that various items that I had sent to them in the previous years were stored there.  Despite Mary’s efforts, there are still many things that the children here could benefit from.  KACSU is relying totally on donations plus sponsorships.  There are still many children on the waiting list awaiting a place in KACSU.  Mary has several spare beds in the hostel but is unable to place a child without funding.  Such children are either not receiving an education or attending school in an unsuitable setting, unable to cater for their unique needs, both physical and emotional.

The main challenge faced with sending donated items is the high cost of shipment.  I generally post using surface mail.  This is a much less expensive method however, can take approximately 2-3 months to arrive.  To date all of my parcels have reached KACSU intact and complete.  All items sent are acknowledged and accounted for.  I receive online photos of the children receiving and using the items.  In the past 12 months the annual sponsorship fee per child has dropped significantly.  This is due to the success of the farm Mary has developed near the hostel.  It provides food and milk for the children.

During my visit to KACSU, I met all the children.  I also met the families of 2 of my sponsored children Pauline and Nicholas.  I was greeted and welcomed by their parents and extended family.  We had lunch together, a traditionally cooked roast chicken.  It was not until I left their home that Mary informed me that a family such as this would probably only eat a small amount of meat each month.  My sponsored children;s family also made a presentation to me and gave me 3 ‘live’ chickens and 3 pumpkins.  I was overcome by their gratitude and generosity.  Again this gift would have been an extremely major sacrifice to the family.  We left their homeplace with our chickens in the trunk and brought them back to KACSU.  We cooked 3 of them and the 39 children and 2 staff feasted on them.  This being a very rare treat.  The smiles and contented faces of the children was enough motivation for me to continue my work and support of KACSU.

If you are considering making a donation or sponsoring one of the children awaiting placement I can assure you that all funds and items are going directly to a very worthy cause.  Despite KACSU’s limited resources, it is an extremely well run and genuine program.  It provides a unique and much needed service to children living with Albinism in Kenya.  With your help and assistance, the program can develop, strengthen and enrich these beautiful yet vulnerable children.

 

If you require any further information,  I am happy to chat with you via email or telephone.

Yours sincerely

Brenda O’Neill

 

Boneill315[at]hotmail.com

Tel:   +61450517715

 

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