Irish volunteers supporting orphans in Africa

Irish volunteers supporting orphans in Africa


Denis Buckley describes some of the work of Humanitarian Volunteers in Kenya


Have you ever considered volunteering for a short period in Africa? The support of volunteers from Ireland has now become crucial to the survival of many small projects.

The collapse of the Celtic Tiger and the global credit crunch has had an unexpected effect on the street children and orphans of Africa. An inability to access assistance and funding is crippling the efforts of orphanages and rehabilitation centres to feed some of Africa’s most vulnerable children. Humanitarian Volunteers is actively canvassing for ordinary Irish women and men to contribute just two weeks of their life to work on a project in Africa and give a child a chance in life.

Irish volunteers recently taught the secrets of good strawberry growing to people at an orphanage outside Nairobi, helping create what is hoped will be a sustainable enterprise for the orphanage. It’s hoped the income from the strawberry sales can help put food on the tables at the orphanage.

The volunteers travelled to Kenya with Humanitarian Volunteers and worked at St Paul’s Children’s Care Centre.

Eileen, a staff member at Tesco, always had an interest in gardening. She saw that strawberries were in high demand but in short supply in Kenya, and suggested this would be a good money earner.

Another volunteer Margaret got in touch with expert Irish strawberry producers to learn the secrets of the technology perfected in Ireland for growing strawberries.

Emmet, who had a qualification in architecture, helped design strawberry-growing troughs, which were built by locals, with local materials. Plants were then sourced in Kenya and propagated in the troughs.

The trio then sponsored the setting up of the strawberry project which is hoped will make the children’s home self-sustainable through ongoing income.

Volunteers also assist with sports and games, arts and crafts, school studies, teaching English, farm work, decorating or assisting generally in the operation of the centres. Their presence gives hope to those abandoned by their families and society.

If you would like more information, contact Denis at Humanitarian Volunteers on 086-8520271.