A FAMILY of orphans are looking towards a brighter future thanks to the generosity and fundraising efforts of people across the High Peak.
During a gap year spent volunteering with Manzini Youth Care in Swaziland, Lydia Slack from Whaley Bridge was told about the plight of the youngsters who were living with their grandmother, who was unable to work.
Their father had died a year earlier and their mother a few weeks previously.
With their home deteriorating rapidly help was urgently needed as well as assistance in obtaining a sustainable income.
Lydia made an appeal through the Buxton Advertiser, in September 2010, and thanks to the efforts of family, friends and the local community, a total of £1,872 was raised.
“The money paid for the building materials and employed a builder to build the house, and a local basketball team in Swaziland helped me to dig the foundations,” explained Lydia, whose placement was organised through Project Trust, an educational charity.
“The house is providing shelter for eight orphans and their grandmother and although only small, consisting of two rooms, it is totally weatherproof and provides much better living conditions than those previously.”
A small amount of money was left over from the project and this has been used to fund one of the older children on a beekeeping course.
“I linked the family to a honey project where one child is trained to keep bees, they provide equipment, and when the bees start producing honey, the family can sell it back to the factory and gain a regular income,” explained Lydia.
The work in tending to the bees takes about two hours a week, so it doesn’t coincide with school hours.
The honey is then sold Fairtrade across Swaziland and South Africa.
Lydia, who has now returned home from Swaziland, still keeps in contact with friends in the country who go and visit the family.
“I had a fantastic experience in Swaziland and I’m so thankful to everybody who raised money and gave me the opportunity to have a once in a lifetime experience,” she said.
“Since my return I’ve worked with Project Trust trying to encourage other young people to take a gap year.”
Lydia is now in her first year at the Royal Agricultural College studying for a BSc (Hons) degree in Business Management.