Eccleshall’s Sylvia to volunteer in Sierra Leone

Happy smiling faces: Sylvia in Malawi on a previous project

Sylvia Keris from Eccleshall is raising funds to take part in a development aid project in Africa this autumn. She has been selected to join volunteers going with the charity Mission Direct to help with its continuing work in Sierra Leone.

This extremely poor West African country has in the past experienced a brutal civil war, and more recently a deadly outbreak of Ebola. The country is now at peace, but continues to feel the effects of the civil war on its infrastructure, suffering a shortage of schools and medical facilities.

Sylvia and team will be helping local workers build classrooms to enable more children to attend school, and help establish a clinic to provide urgently needed medical care. The team will also volunteer at the Nehemiah organisation, where former child soldiers, now grown up, run a home and educational facilities for street boys. They will also help at the Hastings Polio Association, which provides accommodation and teaches vocational skills to Polio sufferers, who would otherwise be abused or die on the streets.

Sylvia, who is President of Eccleshall Rotary, already volunteers with several community organisations involved with disabilities or special needs, including Walton Hall Academy, the County Hospital, First Responders and Guide Dogs. All Mission Direct volunteers have to raise nearly £2,000 for their team placement, so Sylvia is planning fundraising events over the coming months.

She is happy to give talks, for a donation, to organisations such as Rotary clubs, Inner Wheel, Lions, churches or other social groups. She is also selling raffle tickets for a draw to take place in July, priced at £1.

Some of the prizes kindly donated by local businesses include meals at Eccleshall’s London House Restaurant, The Kings Arms, Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre tickets, bubbly from the 3 Pillars off licence, Reiki relaxation treatments from Holistics Stafford, and ‘Stafford: A History’ reference book.

If your group would like a talk, or you want to buy raffle tickets, or can kindly support Sylvia’s fundraising for Sierra Leone with other events, you can contact her at sylvia keris@yahoo.co.uk or call 01785 851005.