Published on Bnet, by Jane MKatthews, June 1, 1999.
Like a thousand other broadcasts before, the TV news ended with a short item on children suffering in another part of the world …
… She bought an airline ticket to Addis Ababa. She arrived on Christmas morning, alone, not expected by anyone, armed only with bags of clothes, pounds 230 in her pocket, and the conviction that individuals can make a difference.
It is that same belief in the power of direct action, together with an inability to see obstacles, which, five years on, are responsible for the setting up of safe houses for street-children in three Ethiopian centres, funded by a new UK charity. While broadcasters, politicians and aid agencies continue to talk of `compassion fatigue’, Kate Fereday bowls into Inner Wheel meetings and emerges with money to buy shoes for the orphans …
… There were no aid agencies working in to help street- children in Debark. One of their representatives would have had to write a proposal for funding and wait for a response, whereas I was able to whip out my money belt and set things going right away.” Kate adds: “I do believe one of the reasons people get involved with us is because they can see there are no overheads, no wastage. We don’t plan to have any highly paid management or 4-wheel drives.”
At the moment the Kindu Trust employs 17 full and part-time Ethiopian staff at its three houses, as well as supporting local traders by buying clothes and sandals from them. Kate works entirely as a volunteer, but hopes in time that the Trust will fund a co- ordinator’s post.
Her aim for the Trust’s future is that when social services are ready to introduce fostering, the houses can operate as `staging posts’, helping many more children to become integrated into the community. “Those few minutes at the end of the news changed my life, and the lives of many others,” reflects Kate. “In a way I have created my perfect job. I feel totally fulfilled” … (Full text).
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