Lee, James & Kieran’s Kenyan Adventure
This article has been reproduced here from the original by kind permission of Beard Construction.
Three Beard employees have recently returned from Kenya, the culmination of a 12-month long partnership with two charities on two different continents, the NASIO Trust and Youth Challenge Oxford (YoCO).
Lee McGavin, James Forster and Kieran Tiller have worked with vulnerable young people, aged 14-21, from the Berinsfield area of Oxford who are on an 18-month long programme run by YoCo called Exit 7. The programme is designed to provide them with the skills and resilience to overcome the seven key challenges facing young people today such as the pressures of social media, bullying and peer influence. Whilst on the programme the group raised funds for the trip with activities such as a car wash, talent show and a bingo night. The trip to Kenya provided a unique experience for the young people, both to realise how many more opportunities are open to them and to develop their life skills. It is also hoped that by providing them with opportunities to help others less fortunate than themselves, this will raise their self-esteem.
As well as working with the young people in Berinsfield, Lee, James and Kieran have also been raising funds to support the trip to Kenya. They have carried out activities such as a 180 mile cycle ride between our offices in Swindon, Guildford, Bristol and Oxford; and a wildlife sunrise walk where they walked 15km – which is the same distance walked to school every day by some of the Kenyan children they are travelling to support.
They also attended the team-building weekend at Youlbury Camp where the young people carried out activities such as orienteering, crate stacking, abseiling and tree top walking also developing their leadership and communication skills.
“I cannot begin to explain how the whole experience has opened my eyes to the challenges facing the young people, both here in the UK and in Kenya. I am proud to be part of such a worthwhile scheme that provides support on both continents. I believe that the experience will stay with everyone on the trip for the rest of their lives. I think that the most rewarding part was early on in the trip when we made home visits to some of the worst affected families, taking basic food supplies and helping with tasks around there home, such as ploughing their land and planting crops.” James
The fundraising has been supported by the Beard Charitable Foundation, whose aims of assisting charities and community projects within our trading area, and in particular those where employees have shown a keen personal interest and involvement in are met by this initiative.
Beard have provided some £4,500 of direct support to the cause, including supporting a firework event run by YoCO which is a major fundraiser for the charity.
On 4 April, Lee, James and Kieran travelled to Kenya with the group of young people with the aim of supporting poverty stricken communities in western Kenya by working to improve living conditions within the local areas, including getting involved with the construction of new accommodation for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Each of them took out a spare suitcase, filled with items for the Kenyan community which had been collected back in the UK.
As well as building the homes, Kieran, James and Lee were also able to experience other aspects of the daily lives of the Kenyan community, which gave them a real understanding of the challenges faced by the whole community.
The charity partnership is seen as a long-term one for Beard and it is hoped that others will follow in James, Lee and Kieran’s footsteps in the coming years.
This story is listed in: Volunteer Stories