Blackburn College students play Santa for African orphans

Blackburn Citizen: Blackburn College students play Santa for African orphans Blackburn College students play Santa for African orphans

NEGLECTED South African orphans, some of whom have been abused and many suffering from HIV, will get the first Christmas presents of their lives thanks to students at Blackburn College.

The Abaphumelei Home of Safety in Khayelitsha looks after homeless children from deprived backgrounds, ageing from two weeks to 18-years-old.

The charity was founded by Evelyn Makasi in 2004 who initially took the youngsters into her own home and has since expanded into the house next door.

After students from University Centre Blackburn College visited the charity during a recent trip, 34 shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts have been collected throughout the college campus to be sent over for the children.

In the new year, 10 computers are also set to be sent out to the home, with college students set to help educate the youngsters using Skype.

Social sciences lecturer Ashley Whalley said one of his students, Laura-Jane Hindle, took the group to the charity and they were stunned into action.

He said: “We immediately decided the children deserved the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions and develop themselves to their full potential.

“The children share space in a building about the size of a one-bedroom bungalow with a small extension.

“We knew that with the help of Blackburn College students and staff we could make a difference.

“We understand that this is likely to be the first Christmas that some of the children have been the recipients of presents.”

Mr Whalley has appealed for anyone who can help transport the shoeboxes to South Africa.

He said: “It will cost about £600 for me to pay for a plane to take them over, which is pretty much all the cash we have raised.

“So I was hoping there may be someone out there who can help us.”

Miss Hindle, from Blackburn, said she had worked in the orphanage throughout the summer.

She said: “The orphanage is situated in one of the most deprived townships in South Africa and desperately struggles to fund its ever-growing family of children on a day to day basis.

“I was fortunate enough to spend time with the children and the amazing people dedicating their lives to making sure these children get the very basic level of care that the deserve.”

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