HELP that makes a difference in the Kwale District in Kenya
Helping Hands: The volunteer program
Deutsche Post (the parent company of DHL Worldwide) and UNICEF have a partnership that rests on three pillars:
1) Group contributions
2) Fundraising by employees
3) A "voluntary" program
The partnership with UNICEF began in Kenya in 2006. In the Kwale District (south of Mombasa on Kenya's east coast) DHL supports UNICEF in raising awareness of potential health risks and promoting disease prevention, in making people aware that a mosquito’s bite can transmit malaria. Sleeping under a mosquito net can save children's lives here.
The funds collected by DHL employees, are used for training local health staff and purchasing equipment for local hospitals. In addition, DHL / UNICEF helped distribute mosquito nets and medicines to reduce infant mortality.
In November 2008 I was part of the DHL "voluntary" program in Kwale District in Kenya during the Kenyan MALEZI BORA campaign. During those weeks, 13 volunteers (like our colleagues in 2006 and 2007) had the opportunity to see for themselves. We were selected from a large group of candidates (almost 500 of the 500 000 employees worldwide DHL) and gained the chance to encounter and personally experience what UNICEF actually does for children over there. We helped professionals in the weighing of babies, in administering worming tablets and providing Vitamin A supplements. We also accompanied local health workers to remote areas where families were briefed on hygiene and sanitation. In villages where potable water is rare and mothers often give birth at home, it is important that people understand that hand washing can be vital.
After our return from Kenya, we were of the intention to act as ambassadors to collect funds and make our colleagues aware of the DHL / UNICEF partnership.
When visiting the school in the village MTEZA (near Mombasa on the east coast of Kenya), I was personally very saddened by the lack of clean water (in a school of more than 400 pupils). This event had so shocked me so that I wanted, after coming back, to do something extra for these children. I thought about drilling a well for that school so that pure water would be available, though I just couldn’t imagine collecting the $ 10,000 needed to be able to do it! So I asked the help of Felix Van Meerbergen, Dean of our city of Diest, on Sunday, May 3, the second anniversary of the recovery of our daughter Annick in the water of the Albert Canal in Lummen, to help us in organizing fundraising initiatives to achieve that goal.
Thus "ANNICK FOR KENYA" was born. The water that proved fatal to her, must improve the lives of children in Kenya …something for which Annick also wanted to work for after her studies.
I am convinced that the promised support of the Diest City Council, the Flemish Water Supply Company and many others, will make a success of this project.
Thanks in advance for your support!!
Eddy Van Uytsel