College raises over $5,000 for remote African clinic

The College gifted the funds raised to the Kayima Clinic which is in the far north-east of Sierra Leone at a special Mid-winter Christmas Dinner held at the College on Sunday, 15 July 2018.

The Master of St Margaret’s, Dr Charles Tustin, said that “It was just wonderful to see Members getting behind this worthy cause by enthusiastically taking up the Kayima 1 X 9 Challenge.” The outreach is part of the College's international community service work for 2018.

The Challenge was launched nine weeks ago on 13 May and involved Members saving $1 per week for 9 weeks and then donating the money to the Kayima Clinic through a give-a-little page the College set up specially for this project.

The wider College community - parents, caregivers, friends, College Fellows and Staff - were also invited to participate in this international venture, a first for St Margaret's. The fact that over $5,000 was raised shows that the project appealed to many as a most worthy cause.

Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries and is situated in West Africa (on the bulge of Africa, between Liberia and Guinea; the capital city is Freetown on the coast). Seventy percent of the country’s 6.5 million people live below the national poverty line of US$2 per day, and 26% are living in extreme poverty.

The country is recovering from two major disasters, a 12-year civil war (1991-2002) and a deadly Ebola epidemic (2014-2016). Infant and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world and life expectancy is only 52 years. Health care among remote communities in Sierra Leone is in a very poor state.

Most families in the village of Kayima, a remote community of about 2,000 people, are engaged in farming, growing rice (the staple food) and various fruit and vegetable crops to feed the household. The small clinic there has only very basic resources, with two nurses and very few medicines and medical supplies.

Despite this, the clinic is the only health facility for about 100,000 people in Kayima and surrounding villages, which in some cases are several hours walk from the clinic. Improving health care in such communities must be given top priority, but in such a poor country, remote communities are often badly neglected.

The funds raised by the St Margaret's community will be of immense value to the Kayima Clinic. A cheque to the grand value of $5,041.90 was presented to Tony Binns, a Fellow of the College and a professor of geography at the University of Otago at the special Mid-winter Christmas Dinner held on Sunday.  “As Christmas is a time of giving, it seemed appropriate to gift the funds at the Dinner”, said Dr Tustin.

Prof Binns has a longstanding and very special relationship with the Kayima community dating back to 1974 when he was conducting field research in the area as part of his PhD. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary chieftainship in recognition of his services to the people of Kayima. Prof Binns is very thankful for our fundraising efforts on behalf of the Clinic.

Dr Tustin says that “giving, sharing and making a difference to those in need is an important part of a young person’s development and it was fantastic to see the College’s students making use of this opportunity to help others who are less well off than themselves.”

The College expresses its sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who so generously donated to the Kayima Clinic (pictured below).

Note: if anyone would still like to make a donation, it's not too late. Our special Kayima give-a-little page will remain open on the web until 31 July 2018 ((https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/kayima-clinic-outreach).

Posted: Monday July 16, 2018