LATE teacher and Altrincham charity founder Kathy Smedley’s dream to help Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable lead better lives has come true.
Children from St Margaret Ward Catholic Primary School in Sale have donated hundreds of toys and education resources to a new pre-school in Uganda, set up by Altrincham charity Act4Africa.
Thanks to various volunteers travelling to Uganda to help paint and decorate the pre-school, many of these toys have now arrived in Uganda ready for the opening in September 2017.
“We have been overwhelmed by the Sale children’s generosity,” said Martin Smedley, chief executive of Act4Africa.
“The children in Mayuge, Uganda have nothing and these donations will really help us get Kathy’s Centre pre-school off the ground.”
Act4Africa was set up in 2000 by Altrincham couple Martin and Kathy Smedley.
The centre was the dream of Kathy, who, for 14 tireless years worked to bring education and health support to the poor and vulnerable, not only in Uganda but Tanzania and Malawi also. Tragically, Kathy passed away in 2014, but with this Act4Africa became even more determined to see her wish fulfilled.
Kathy’s Centre will provide a pre-school, youth club, and community education centre with HIV and STI testing and counselling facilities. The surrounding land will be developed as a goat farm to enable Act4Africa to train the community in best practice for animal husbandry and basic veterinary skills.
Kathy’s Centre Pre-school will offer several free places to Mayuge's most disadvantaged children, including AIDS orphans and children of teenage mothers, ostracized by their communities. Their mothers, and other women attending the community centre, will receive information and training sessions on savings and enterprise, agricultural skills, gender equality and sexual and reproductive health rights.
Martin said: “Kathy’s Centre combines all the things that mattered most to my late wife, Kathy, under one roof. I cannot think of better way to celebrate her life. It has been a long journey to get to this point and I am very grateful to Act4Africa’s dedicated supporters in helping us reach this milestone.”
At the time of her death, Kathy was also a teacher at St Margaret Ward School in Sale and set up their nursery class.
Jason Hughes, head teacher at St Margaret Ward, said: “We are proud to be supporting Act4Africa in their new venture. Children and staff at the school remember Mrs Smedley and her dedication to the nursery at St Margaret Ward. We are delighted to help fulfil her dream of a flagship early years school in Uganda.”