Norwich family’s plea to save community centre in Africa
PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:44 20 August 2020
A Norwich family who had a “life-changing” experience in Africa are fundraising for a community lodge there which is struggling due to the impact of coronavirus.
Last November, Phil Betts, from Thorpe Marriott, visited Tikondane Community Centre in Zambia and stayed at the nearby Tiko Lodge with his family.
The community centre has a 19 step plan to alleviate poverty in the area, which includes nutritional education and teaching modern farming practises.
Mr Betts, 40, said: “It was an inspiration to see how many initiatives were established by this grass roots non-profit organisation and making a significant difference.
“We had numerous opportunities to join in with local activities and interact with the people who depend on the centre. It gave us an in-depth insight into the real-life challenges people face every day and how important this community is to the local people.
“It wasn’t just a holiday, it was a life changing experience.”
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But income for the centre is dependent on donations and tourism which have both plummeted since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Mr Betts, an IT project manager at Aviva, said: “Little did we or anyone know that just a few months later the pandemic would strike. Everyone across the globe can relate to the impact this has had on daily life. A lot of the simple things we take for granted have disappeared overnight.
“Since arriving home, we have kept in touch with the director of the centre, retired nurse Elke Kroeger-Radcliffe. Covid-19 has had a catastrophic impact on the Tikondane centre as the financial lifeline from donations and tourism is rapidly running out and volunteers who were previously on site had to return home.
“From the information we are hearing, funds are now running low and could start to run out as early as October.”
As a result, the Betts family has launched a Crowdfunder page and aims to raise £1,000 to support the centre.
He said: “Any amount, small or large would be greatly appreciated. Just as important, whether you donate or not, simply make friends, family and work colleagues aware of this cause would make a massive difference.”
To donate visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/keep-the-heart-beating
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