Orphans Aid celebrates 15 years

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Orphans Aid International founder and chief executive Sue van Schreven and Casa Kiwi project manager Luminita embark on a 10-hour hike in Transylvania, Romania last month in preparation for a trip to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Photo: Supplied

AN epic journey is being planned to celebrate an epic achievement.

Orphans Aid International, a charity started in Invercargill, is marking 15 years of helping vulnerable children around the world by embarking on an eight-day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

In September a team of Orphans Aid supporters will travel to Uganda to see the charity’s

Family Strengthening Project in Entebbe in action. They will then travel to Tanzania to take on the challenge of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Their goal is to celebrate 15 years of Orphans Aid International and to raise $50,000 to help children in need in Uganda.

“We are always looking for ways to show our supporters what we are achieving with our projects,” Orphans Aid International founder and chief executive Sue van Schreven said.

“We are really excited to be able to share with supporters what we are doing on the ground and give something back on the ground as well.”

Southlanders Kirsty Williams of Invercargill and Heather and Alisha Tripp of Gore as well as Mrs van Schreven and her family were among the 16 climbers confirmed for the trip.

Mrs van Schreven encouraged others to get involved by doing their own virtual climb as part of ‘What’s Your Kilimanjaro 2019?’ and raise funds for the charity.

A family in Uganda receiving assistance through Orphans Aid International’s Family Strengthening project. Photo: Supplied

“We really want to make the climb count and make some dollars along the way…so we can pour the funds into families in need in Uganda who were at risk of abandoning their children.”

Through the Family Strengthening project the Orphans Aid team works with families facing extreme hardship to prevent the families abandoning their children or placing them in orphanages.

Mrs van Schreven said the team helped families to start their own small businesses so they could provide for their families and keep them together.

“It’s about giving the parents some long-term strategies so they could continue to care for their children long-term.”

Mrs van Schreven started Orphans Aid International in Invercargill in 2004.

Fifteen years later, the charity was now working to rescue children suffering the impacts of poverty and abuse, particularly orphaned and abandoned children, around the world in places such as India, Russia, Romania and Uganda.

It was exciting to have started this charity in Invercargill and 15 years later we could celebrate it reaching the world, she said.

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