Motherwell beauty therapist Emma Wilson paid out at least £1,000 of her own money to fund a volunteer aid trip to Kenya - but rec kons it was cheap at the price.
The 22-year-old was “massively” inspired by a visit to Motherwell South Church by a Christian group who’d brought with them three young orphan girls.
They gave a disarmingly honest insight into the grinding poverty of daily life among the proud but disadvantaged Masai people, and Emma says she made up her mind to help any way she could.
But instead of joining a mainstream aid group she determined to visit the orphans’ community on her own initiative, and set off on what was to become “a lifechanging experience”.
That was two years ago, and she stayed in the village of Kimuka and its larger neighbour Ngong, helping to create an orphanage for children living on the margins of existence.
And later this month she’ll set off for a new five week stint in the heart of tribal communities who lack the most basic of modern resources.
“We’ve already raised money from a fundraising effort from my friend David Taylor, who sportingly had his chest waxed,” she said, “and along with a raffle, and a lot of help from friends and family, we now have a good sum to begin a new phase of work.”
An earlier effort raised cash from a cheese and wine evening at Motherwell South Church.
Emma added: “To get an idea of the problems people face you’ve the situation where people have electricity installed but can’t afford to use it.
“Two years ago I befriended one little orphan girl, Lavender, who was being bullied at school because of her poverty.
“It’s great that things are better for her now, and that people have helped make that difference, but through that one girl it’s possible to see how much there is still to do.”
Money collected for aid is spent directly in ways which directly benefit people, and funds do not go via any agency or government.
Emma said: “We will be kind of acting like ‘secret millionaires’, with slightly less money, but sadly because of the desperate poverty, and corruption with the government in Kenya, it’s much safer for us to keep the money and use it as required.”
She will be closely involved with two key Kenyan charities. And Emma hopes the generous people of Motherwell and local firms will support her.
To help Emma e-mail her on firstname.lastname@example.org.