A new UK charity to help young people in Africa will be officially launched by a Cumbrian aid worker in April.
The Noah Initiative (UK), which is the brainchild of 25-year-old Elliot Berry from Troutbeck Bridge, will work with fatherless children and young men in the slum of Kambi Teso in Eldoret in western Kenya.
Inspired by his experience of working as a counsellor and ‘house parent’ in the Open Arms International village in Eldoret, Mr Berry decided to set up his own charity to work with local schools and guardians to secure a better education for fatherless, abused or neglected boys.
The official launch of the charity in the UK will be marked by a fundraising event on Saturday 11 April 2015 at Low Wood Bay Resort, Hotel and Marina. This is a ticketed event aimed at raising funds and awareness for the ‘forgotten youth’ of Kenya
Elliot Berry says, “In the communities I work with, there is an epidemic of fatherlessness homes, and this has a terrible impact on the lives of children, young men and wider society.
“The Noah Initiative aims to provide vulnerable youths in slum areas with the financial, social and emotional support that is so clearly lacking when they don’t have a father figure.
“We will be running a range of scholarships and mentoring programmes to give these boys an education, equipping them with the tools, skills and knowledge they need for a brighter future.
“We want the young men enrolled in The Noah Initiative programme to grow up as leaders of their community, perhaps leaders of Kenya, but, most importantly, we want them to become good fathers themselves.”
Among the boys the programme is already helping is 17-year-old Peter Okoth from the Kambi Teso Slum. His mother died in 2014 and his father recently died. He has been living with his uncle whilst completing his primary education, and he is desperate to avoid falling in with the wrong crowd, as other members of his family have done. He now calls Elliot, Dad.
Another young man the Noah Initiative is assisting is Edwin Ali Maina, an orphan whose parents died when he was still a young boy. His future looked better when he won a football scholarship to a new school, but he suffered a minor illness and his place was withdrawn.
Mr Berry adds: “Our target is to secure the futures of at least 20 young boys by the end of this year, hopefully more if our fundraising efforts go well and the generosity of local people is as strong as ever. We would be incredibly grateful any support we can get.”
To book tickets for the fundraising event on 11th April, email [email protected] or visit Elliot’s facebook page, “Ell in Africa’.
Mr Berry moved to Kenya after visiting a children’s home in Eldoret that was built with £45,000 raised by staff and directors of Windermere-based English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues. He will continue his work ‘in the field’, with the core activity of the new NGO also focusing on Eldoret, particularly the slum areas where there are high levels of deprivation.
His time in Kenya and commitment to the cause has secured his own bright future as he just married his colleague Metrine Nandalo, the Outreach manager from Open Arms International.