24 Sep FC Lakeside & St Anne’s FC in Bumala, Kenya
Following The Club’s efforts in helping to provide football kit and equipment to children in Bumala, Kenya, we received a lovely note from Annie who, along with here husband, is supporting amazing projects in the town, including St Anne’s FC…
*We are currently looking for boots, shin pads and kits so if you’d like to donate yours, please drop into our club house at our new Cold Pool Lane site. We are also looking to raise funds in order to help send the kit over to Kenya and will release more information on how to support the project very soon*
“Well, who would have thought that Covid would bring about a relationship between children in one of the poorest towns in Africa and a thriving Football Club in Cheltenham!
My name is Annie and both me and my husband, Derek, have been supporting a big, big big work in Bumala, Kenya, East Africa. I have travelled out there three times and the first thing that really struck me was the amount of street children there are around. This work started out so small but now, after just 7 years, a well has been hand dug, St Annes Early Development School built, Water Harvesting Systems put in place and 71 children receiving regular monthly sponsorship to allow them to attend school and receive two meals a day, one of which is a cup of porridge! Each Christmas, we also fund a party and buy new uniforms and shoes for each of the children and invite their parents/guardians along to join in the fun and food.
That was the plan – until 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit both U.K. and Kenya – and every country in between! Once the government closed the schools in Kenya, the project leader of St Annes School, Pastor Ben Omondi, became very concerned and aware that the children were at the highest risk of running off to the streets and being drawn into child slavery and prostitution. He asked God to help in this most desperate situation and came up with a plan – to get the boys together and start a football club! It would be called St Annes F.C. and would help keep the children busy, fit and motivated – and, above all, safe! He shared this with me on WhatsApp.
Also, a Feeding Program was started whereby every two weeks, the needy families would arrive at St Annes School with their bags and masks to receive encouragement from the staff and staple food such as maize, beans, rice etc.
Also, once restrictions had lifted a little, the children would come to school in small groups for a couple of hours once a week where they would be fed and monitored for health and welfare.
Teachers would also visit the children in their remote homes and leave them with some kind of homework. This hasn’t been an easy time for our children, but when homes don’t have electricity, internet, computers- and sometimes even a table and chairs, it becomes almost impossible!
My cousin, Molly Keene, is a great supporter of Lakeside FC as are her family, Chris, Jane, Josh, Ben and Emily. Once they heard about the new football team in Bumala, they rallied the troops and started asking Tom, Dick, Harry and their families and friends and kit started arriving at their home all hours of the day!
Molly brought the amazing pile of boots, shorts, shirts, socks, shin pads etc, etc down to us in Devon and we prepared a detailed list (essential for customs) of 101 items of football kit for these much needed kids.
The GOOD NEWS is that Pastor Ben, the trainers and the children are now enjoying wearing the wonderful kits and able to kick the ball soooo hard with proper boots on!
Derek and I joined many of you at Lakeside to see yet another amazing pile of donated kit. We still have to get this out to the children but I know that, although it will take a lot of organising, it will happen in God’s own sweet time.
We are so very grateful to you all at Lakeside FC and would very much like you to join us in this incredible journey of making a difference to the life of these children and the community.
If you would like to follow our progress, please visit www.olivebearers.org.uk and click on the link to receive updates.”