Now my broken bones are mended and I am disappearing back to China, here is a salutary tale to remind you all of one of the main aims of the Long Horse Ride.
In their first promotional DVD, the ‘face’ of my husband Iestyn’s charity Schoolchildren for Children (ScfC )was Bashir, a little 6 year old Kenyan boy living in Korogocho, a Nairobi slum which is one of the worst in Africa. His single mother was dying of AIDS, but Bashir received free school meals, warm uniform and free medical care thanks to funding provided to his school St Prisca by ScfC. For a video clip of Bashir see http://www.schoolchildrenforchildren.org/assembly.cfm .
The food shown on the video was scavenged from the rubbish dump.
In the couple of years following the making of the DVD Bashir’s mother died and he moved on to a higher primary school, a year earlier than expected as he had been making such good educational progress. A couple of months ago Iestyn flew out to Kenya to visit the ScfC projects and to check on the making of a new DVD. He had decided to follow up Bashir’s progress in the new DVD, but it was not until Bashir was tracked down at Iestyn’s insistence that it was realised how drastically the child’s life had changed since leaving the ScfC supported school . When he was found, this little 9 year old boy had not eaten for three days. He had only a thin shirt and shorts and a pair of flip flops to his name to keep him warm through the Kenyan winter. He had a badly infected burnt foot from accidently stepping on the fire – he could not afford the necessary medical treatment. This bright and previously achieving little boy was in the process of dropping out of school. Apart from anything else, it was not very motivating to attend when his classmates ate school lunch in front of him and he went hungry as he could not afford the £1.50 a month to pay for it. And as Bashir said himself “At home things are not really OK.”
It was a stark reminder of what happens when support is not available or maintained for children such as Bashir.
You may be glad to know that ScfC has taken steps to ensure that Bashir and his young siblings are taken care of for the foreseeable future, but it must be remembered that he is only one of very many thousands of children in similar predicaments.
This is why I am urging you to support the charitable aims of the ride by donating to Schoolchildren for Children via my Justgiving page at http://justgiving.com/meganlonghorseride . Remember – ALL money donated goes directly to the projects, as administration costs etc are covered by separate sponsorship. If you only donate £5 it really will be of specific benefit - for example, feeding a schoolchild such as Bashir for over three months!
And a massive thank you to all those who have already given generously – the story above demonstrates the potentially hopeless situations your donations help to prevent.