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Roobarb retail
By bira
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Our charitable champions visit Uganda

MARCIA DALE AND Kevin Bellwood, bira’s Charitable Champions of 2018, spent 10 days this summer visiting South Sudanese orphans and former street children at a centre in Kampala, Uganda that they support.

Around 40 children, aged between five and 18 years, were taken from South Sudan to Kam-pala by Confident Children out of Conflict, a charity which Kevin chairs in the UK.

The owners of the Roobarb gift shops in Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury visited during the school holidays. “The children, predominately girls, are taught in Uganda as the education system in South Sudan, would probably fail them,” says Kevin. “They are incredibly intelligent and can’t wait to learn. All they yearn for is a good education. They have been through a huge amount and are vulnerable.

“Most of them want to be doctors, nurses, pilots and journalists. They would like to return to South Sudan once they have finished their schooling and help re-build their country. The first of these girls will go to university in Kampala this year to study to be a doctor.

“I lived in South Sudan and I have known these children since they were very young. I have seen them grow and mature in to very confident young people with the help of a good education. On the trip I presented a two-hour workshop to the girls on the potential dangers of social media. I am afraid Africa is no different to anywhere else in the world. Young people like to use social media, but these young people don’t have anyone to highlight the potential dangers”.

Marcia added: “It was the most satisfying time I have ever spent on holiday. These young people soak up learning and are desperate to be taught more, but they have so much homework to do. I came away totally worn out and needing another holiday”.

Roobarb won the Charitable Champion Award at this year’s bira awards for their work in supporting the charity initiatives in South Sudan and Kampala.

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