Hailsham charity presents gift to Ugandan teen

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TABITHA Namataka used to spend 45 minutes walking to and from school each day – often in the darkness.

But the 16-year-old who lives in poverty-stricken Kabubbu, Uganda, has had the long and possibly unsafe trek reduced to just 15 minutes after she was given a new bicycle by The Quicken Trust and Primary Concern Africa (PCA), two charities based in Hailsham.

Tabitha is reported to have ‘shrieked with joy’ when she was presented with the gift made via a sponsorship boost by Southern Water, based in Worthing.

She said: “It will be so good. Now I can spend more time at school working on my studies because I will take less time to get home before it gets dark.”

PCA, an educational charity works through the Quicken Trust in Kabubbu, Uganda to help children get to Kabubbu Community Primary School and has supplied the school with 20 bicycles, as well as equipment for the biology department at Trust High School in the same village.

Southern Water is the first corporate sponsor of a bike for a student at one of Kabubbu’s two schools. Other corporate sponsors are expected to follow.

PCA and Quicken Trust first met at the ‘Bike Ride for Uganda 2010’ event in Hailsham in July last year.

Steve McAuliffe, PCA Director, said: “We have been looking for a charity to work with that meets our criteria of supporting children’s education in Africa and committing the maximum value of a gift to the point-of-need. Quicken Trust is the ideal partner for us. We are delighted to be working with them.”

Kevin Buck, who organises Southern Water’s charity sponsorship, said: “When Steve told us about his charity we were impressed with what he and Quicken Trust have been achieving and proud to be the first corporate sponsor. It’s clear from talking to him that something as simple as a bike can have a massive effect on people’s lives in Africa so we hope more companies will follow suit and get involved.’

Geoff Booker, founder of Quicken Trust, presented the bike in Southern Water corporate colours at the Kabubbu Community Bicycle Workshop to Tabitha on his visit in March. “It was such a wonderful moment when Tabitha received her bike. Children in Kabubbu highly value their education. To be able to provide a bike so that Tabitha can get to and from school more easily gives her more time for her studies. This will give her greater hope for her future. Helping these children is one of the delights of what we do.”

PCA and Quicken Trust would like to hear from any other companies that would like to help in this simple but effective way to provide greater hope to these children. Details from Steve McAuliffe at bikes@primaryconcernafrica.org or by phone: 07717801239