Island charity Uzima In Our Hands has appointed Clare Griffin, manager of the West Wight Sports and Community Centre, as its first patron.
The charity supports the Uzima Orphan and Day Care Centre in western Kenya where 300 children aged between three and 18 are sheltered, taught and fed.
Clare was recently awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and is a keen supporter of the charity having visited there twice. Her role is to support the work of the Trustees and help the charity develop its work and fund-raising initiatives.
Clare said: “I am honoured to have been asked to become Uzima in Our Hands’ first patron.
“I’ve supported Uzima for several years and have made two visits there. Having seen the work that the charity does on the ground in Kenya I know just how important Uzima is to the lives of the children it supports.
“As the manager of another Island charity, I know only too well what challenges there are and I am in awe of the volunteers who give up their time to help the children despite being thousands of miles away. In the time I’ve been involved, I’ve seen real progress. In 2017, on my first visit, there was no kitchen other than a tin shack with a wood fuelled open fire in it, where the cook produced two meals a day for the 300 children. It was so full of smoke I couldn’t even stand in the doorway, but this amazing woman spent every day in there cooking for all the children. Her health was, not too unsurprisingly, very poor as a result.
“In 2019, on my second visit, a purpose built kitchen had been built and working conditions had significantly improved for her.
“On my first visit, we treated numerous children for jiggers, a parasite that burrows into bare feet and causes long term pain and deformities in children’s feet. Through regular checks by volunteers on each visit, and the purchase of shoes twice a year, this has now all but been eradicated amongst the children.
“My passion is sport, and on my second visit we took football kits. It was one of the most inspiring and moving moments when I saw the children transformed when changing from their raggedy clothes, and replacing them with the football kit. They suddenly looked like any other child anywhere in the world. If I ever needed proof that sport was a great leveller – this was it!
“These are just some small examples of the fantastic work Uzima does. I really hope I can help the Trustees build on that work and continue to improve the lives of Uzima’s children.”
Anyone who would like to be involved get in touch via the Uzima website: www.uzimainourhands.org.