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Volunteering with Act4Africa

By Zohra Meghji, Act4Africa Volunteer

UK Volunteer Zohra Meghji tells us why she chooses to volunteer with Act4Africa in the UK and some of the things she and her family have enjoyed doing.

It’s been just over a year since I started volunteering at Act4Africa. Everyday at the office is different, I help with everything from Accounts, Admin, website editing to organising fundraisers. The Act4Africa team is amazing, everyone puts 100% into their job and I feel so privileged to be part of it.

I was born in Tanga, Tanzania, where the education system and medical facilities are still being developed. In my community, girls are normally married and pregnant when they celebrate their sweet 16th. I remember turning 21 and being told I have been left on the shelf, that I would not get proposals from decent guys because I was too old. Life in the city has progressed; however, rural places in East Africa are still the same due to lack of facilities and poverty.

I was lucky in that I have an amazing family who not only supported me financially but were really encouraging when it came to getting a higher education. I cannot thank them enough for giving me this opportunity to have control over my future. However, very few get the opportunities I have had.

When I see my daughters, I see how privileged they are, they have every toy they ask for. It used to make me sad that my children didn’t understand how lucky they were, that they didn’t value the stuff they had. I have seen kids as young as my 7 year old selling peanuts on the street, these children used to scrunch up carrier bags and tie them up to make a football because they didn’t have money to buy one.

Through Act4Africa, I came across Alistair Bryce-Clegg  (ABCDoes), an Early Years Consultant who has organised making doll dresses for the kids at Kathy’s Centre. Sahar (my 7 year old) made 2 dolls dresses and a skirt during the 2018 summer holidays; it has been great sharing this experience with my daughter and we have had a look at the photos of Kathy’s Kindergarten on the Act4Africa website to see exactly where the dolls and clothes will go. Suhana, my 4 year old and I have put together a book bag with hand puppets as our February half term project. Alistair’s latest project is to encourage volunteers to make crochet dolls for him to squash into his suitcase for his next trip to Kathy’s Centre in July. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for more details @abcdoes.  To enable us to provide much needed educational resources and play equipment to Kathy’s Kindergarten, please donate.

Act4Africa, is a very small charity which makes it easier to build a relationship with the teachers and girls in Uganda. Sarah is in constant contact with the staff in Uganda, she knows what is going on with the children at the kindergarten, how the girls (supported through the Grow A Girl program) are doing at school and if staff have been ill or if there are any issues. It makes me feel so good to see how we are making such a big difference to these little people who are going to shape the future of Africa.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact admin@act4africa.org